Outfitter Critique: A Kyrgyzstan Ibex Hunt with Extrem Tours
By Jay Wrobliske, Hunting Report subscriber
After the 28-hour plane trip and 12-hour drive, we finally reached base camp at 10,080 feet. Base camp was warm and clean. After a much needed night's rest, we were up and checking zero on the rifles. After a bite to eat we loaded up our backpacks and headed out on horses to spike camp. The mountain views are breathtaking. My butt stayed glued to the saddle while watching these horses walk on such steep slopes.
After an eight-hour horseback ride and looking at several ibex along the way, we arrived at spike camp. Spike camp wasn't a whole lot to write home about - a cave in the side of a mountain located at 11,500 feet. The guides set up the tents and discussed the plans for the next morning. Lucky for us, we had a hunter in camp who spoke English and Russian.
The night was long for a couple of hunters who got sick either from the chicken from breakfast or from high altitude sickness. One hunter stayed in camp trying to re-coop, and the rest of us took off. About mid-morning our translator/hunter said the guides had spotted a nice ibex bedded down on a knoll quite a ways off. "Anyone up for a hike?" I volunteered. After an hour hiking we got within 200 yards of the ibex still bedded. I lay out prone and was about to take the shot when my guide started waving his hand franticly. There was a little confusion between the guide and me. The ibex was up and over the edge before I was able to get a shot.
After getting back to the group it was relayed to me the guide was afraid I was going to shoot the rock in front of me, and he wanted me to move over. The rock was not in my way but, oh well, it's the first day.
Later in the day the snow flurries started and continued off and on for the rest of the day. Visibility was down to about 200 yards max. We decided to head back to camp, hoping the weather would clear up by morning. We arrived back in camp, and the hunter in camp wasn't feeling any better and couldn't keep any water or food down. The night was long and cold, even longer for the sick ones. It snowed all night; the sick hunter was still feeling bad the following morning, so he decided to call it quits and head down to base camp in the driving snow. It snowed all day, finally clearing up around 5 pm. It was too late to hunt, but the guides went out to try to locate some ibex for the morning hunt.
Morning finally arrived, and the weather was great. We headed off to where the guides had located the ibex the evening before. All three hunters were positioned on different locations on the mountain side. After an hour or so, the ibex started heading in our direction. The other two hunters collected their trophies that morning. I was not so fortunate. We continued hunting while the other hunters took their trophies back to camp. After seeing several other ibex and not being able to get close enough for a shot we headed back to camp.
The following morning the other hunters packed up and headed back to base camp. One of the guides stayed with me, and we headed out to a different hunting area. My camp for the next two nights was on a hillside sleeping under the stars. I saw several ibex but nothing I wanted shoot.
Finally, on the 5th day we spotted a shooter feeding on the hillside. We were able to get within about 300 yards for the shot. The shot was good, and down he went. He was a great trophy, 43x40 inches. The shorter side had been broomed off. Unfortunately my camera battery had died so our photo session was short. We caped out the trophy and started the 11-hour ride back to base camp.
As we all have heard, the hardest thing about this hunt is the language barrier; but, we worked our way through it. The guides were great - they worked their tails off to accommodate all of us. The food was good, a lot of soups and breads. This was a true mountain hunt, no-frills attached. As long as you know this going in, you won't be disappointed.
I would definitely use the VIP service leaving Bishkek Airport - cost $110. They will clear all luggage, guns and animals for you. No hassles. No need for it flying in though, since Kyrgyzstan no longer requires a VISA for entry for US citizens.
Editor Note: Wrobliske's hunt took place in October 2012 and was conducted by Adilet Ulukmanov (firstname.lastname@example.org) and booked through Igor Kancev of Extrem Tours (email@example.com).