Marco Polo Sheep HuntingFirst off, thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. This newsletter’s a bit long winded, however, it’s jammed pack full of good information, so stick with me! I’ve been visiting some hunting areas in Turkey and Spain as we are expanding our business in these two countries due to the great outfitting partners and high success Ibex hunts available there. During my absence, answering phone calls with 9 to 11 hrs difference in time was not easy. Also, it was tax season, which is always a very busy and often stressful time of the year for everyone. I’ve learned that sending out newsletters and hunt info during the first three weeks of April is usually not the best timing….let’s hope that many of you are still looking to hunt Asia this year and into the future as I feel it’s one of the best destinations in the world for mountain and adventure hunting. Our office manager, Lynzy McCowan and I will be in the office and available almost all of May to answer emails and calls. We’ve changed our newsletter format and we hope you like it. Any comments you have about usability, readability, etc., please let us know so that we can make changes on future newsletters. Also, look for some useful travel tips we are including in our newsletters from here on out.


Safety and International Travel:One of the “concerns” I keep hearing from many hunters and potential clients are concerns for their safety while traveling to foreign countries, including Turkey, Russia and/or one of the “Stans”. I think that CNN, Fox News and MSNBC can be partially blamed for a person’s excess worry about safety and international travel, especially people from the USA. I’ve traveled on average, 1.5 to 2.5 months each year in foreign countries since 2002 and I’ve yet to have what I’d consider a serious threat for safety, not to mention zero terrorist type incidences. I’m not saying it can’t or won’t happen, but in general, it’s very unlikely. Most of us are more apt to fall asleep at the steering wheel or get in a crash due to ice or answering a cell phone, then going on an International hunt. A few days ago, I talked to a well-known Russian outfitter, and he said his spring brown bear hunts are only a fraction filled from what they were last year. Our main Turkish partner is having two hunters back out of their booked 2015 hunts, because of fear over travel (usually these cancellations are caused by spousal worries and unwarranted fears). A Pakistan outfitter I know is always having to answer questions about safety in his country and I know many of you won’t travel to this country, period, yet every hunter I know who has hunted there in recent times, loved it. This outfitter said that hunters have been going to Pakistan for over 65 years with zero terror or hostage incidences. Also, if you look at Turkey, it is hugely reliant on tourism. Having a Western hunter roughed up or injured and making national news would kill the tourism business in such countries. In my opinion the biggest danger of international travel are winter conditions on remote, rough, steep mountain roads. The second most dangerous is the high altitude and exposure of body parts to cold weather/winter conditions. This is why I feel that having proper equipment/clothing, including satellite phones, are critical for health and safety. Terrorism is the least of my concerns when traveling overseas. If people use good common sense I feel that hunting in Central Asia is a true adventure, yet quite safe. So, in summary, I would say that hunters should not postpone hunts due to news and potential threats. In general, our Central Asian partners have good reputations and are well connected with both local villages and Government Officials. It is in their very best interest to insure that all international hunters don’t have security threats. So, if you aren’t traveling to Central Asia, Africa or Russia, because of fears due to watching too much news – turn off the TV, put away the newspapers, unsubscribe from twitter and go to the gym, the rifle range and get in sheep shape!



Marco Polo/Ibex Combo Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan:In this newsletter, I want to focus on our big ticket items: Marco Polo/Ibex Combo hunts. May is the month that we need to apply for Marco Polo and Argali CITES import permits for our USA clients. Many people think the deadline is May 1st, but the USFWS doesn’t start accepting CITES applications until May 1st, then the Tajik and Kyrgyzstan Governments send hunter lists to USFWS in usually June or July. In order for a USA hunter to receive a CITES import permit for one of these countries, they have to have both applied for the permit and also been listed on the hunting client lists submitted to USFWS by each country’s hunting departments. Currently, we have openings in both Tajik and Kyrgyzstan for Ibex and Marco Polo as the seasons are 5-6 months long and there are many hunt dates and options. Also, if hunters book a 2016 hunt, I’ll lock in 2015 pricing with a reasonable deposit. Because I didn’t return from overseas until Christmas, I was slow in returning many calls and emails to clients this winter. Spending a lot of time in the field is invaluable in increasing my hunting area knowledge, as I have been on over 50 Marco Polo and Ibex kills since 2002; but it does sometimes make me delinquent in correspondence. If I’ve neglected to return any of your calls, it was not because I didn’t care, but I simply get a bit overwhelmed after being away for so many months. Now that Lynzy is in the office, many of you will get more prompt responses. If you don’t already have brochures/flyers from us, visit our and download our PDF brochures or we can email them to you. We lowered the price of the Kyrgyzstan M. Polo (Hume Argali) hunts and the Tajik hunts went up just slightly this year. The two live photos are from rams that we saw and didn’t shoot in Nov and Dec 2014. Three weeks ago, one of our tentative 2015 M. Polo hunters died in his home while taking a shower; he was only 56 years old. His hunting partners will likely wait until next year to hunt, so we have these dates open. He was healthy and quite fit, yet he died far too young. If you are thinking of going hunting but have not, don’t wait. Asian mountain hunts are not easy by nature, so hunt while you are physically able, and if needed, work a couple more years later in life to pay for these adventures; you won’t regret it. Most memorable mountain hunts are far from a “cake walk” and there are often many frustrating things that can happen, but overall the animals, the people and the adventure are worth the challenges we sometimes face. There is one thing that I’ve found to be pretty true on our Asian hunts: “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. Being able to shoot well is extremely important too. Later in this newsletter I’ll talk about some rifle shooting schools and cull hunting trips people can do to improve their shooting skills.


Travel Tip:Starting with this newsletter, I’ll include at least one travel or hunting tip, which was learned through the “school of hard knocks”.  This tip will deal with carry-on luggage.  Attached is a photo of the carry-on “system” I take on important hunting trips, so that if there are weather delays and baggage transfer errors that cause lost luggage, you’ll be ok.  You will still need to borrow a rifle, spotting scope, knife and walking sticks, but you can function (assuming it’s not a full-on backpack hunt), with your carry-on items.  In the last 6 years, personally, I was without checked luggage for 8 days and on another occasion, 4 days.  Granted, it doesn’t happen often, but it sure is nice to have the “basics” as a backup measure.  In this photo, all of the carry-on luggage is from Mystery Ranch:   The daypack is an older prototype, 3500 size, which will just fit lengthwise in the overhead compartment.  In it, I have what I “must have” for a hunt.  I ALWAYS wear my main hunting boots as it’s very difficult to purchase proper footwear in many foreign countries.  Inside the daypack, will be a complete change of hunting clothes, including gloves, warm hat, plus one or two changes of underwear and other misc. hunting items that I can’t do without.  Most US and Canadian airlines don’t limit carry-on weight, only it’s size.  Turkish Air and many European Airlines restrict you to an 8 kg (17.6 lbs) carry-on, which is a joke.  Usually my carry-on is 30 lbs and it has been as much as 38 lbs.  If they ask to weigh it, they can force you to check it, so if travelling with a hunting partner, have them take your carry-on while you check in – generally, you aren’t bothered at the gate about weight.  Also, make sure you aren’t last on the plane, because you want to ensure you get your luggage into the overhead.  Sometimes you can tell the airline at the check-in counter if you are being hassled about weight that it’s life/death equipment and if the checked luggage doesn’t arrive, it’s a 10-20 hr drive to the mountains and you don’t want to delay the group.  In the brown briefcase, I carry my laptop, business docs, books, and at least binoculars, camera, etc.   This bag weighs over 20 lbs (still more than the allowed amount), but I’ve only had it weighted one time.  In the small gray/black fanny pack, I have other electronics, extra batteries, cords and misc. items.  It usually weights. 4-7 lbs and it can be put inside the daypack if there are no weight restrictions or taken out to get the weight of your carry-on down.  Technically, most airlines allow one personal bag (the briefcase) and one carry-on (the backpack).  But I’ve never been asked about the little fanny pack as it doesn’t take up much space.  This system also helps me keep my checked luggage to two duffels (50 lbs each) or 1 duffel and 1 large gun case (50 lbs).  On my last trip, my carry-on, personal bag and small fanny pack weighed over 65 lbs, which is a lot of clothing, equipment and business material, should my checked bags get delayed.  In the next newsletter, I’ll talk about checked luggage and tricks in packing, labeling and weight management.


Cancellation and Last Minute Hunts:Please call or email us and we’ll provide these outfitters phone/emails to you. On all of these hunts, I’ve either hunted with them as a client/friend or they were clients of ours in Canada or Asia.

Alaska Dall Sheep: A great guide I know and whom I’ve personally hunted with before was recently awarded a big Federal area in AK for backpack Dall Sheep hunting; he has a couple hunts available this August and is also booking for 2016. Grizzly can be added for a very reasonable trophy fee ($5,000). This is a high success, progressive, fly-in backpack hunt for good quality Dall Sheep.


British Columbia Spring Black Bear with Hounds: A good friend and long-time outfitter/guide has a couple of black bear/hound hunts available in 2015. I’ve never personally hunted bears with dogs, just mountain lions, but everyone who has done it, says it’s the most exciting and action packed way to hunt bears. Also, because the shooting is close range, trophy judging is quite easy and there are no wounded bears. His only remaining opening is June 22-28, for two hunters (2×1). The price is $3,500 each and a second bear can be shot for an additional trophy fee. 30% of these bears are color phase. This is a fun and low stress hunt with a hardworking outfit I’ve known for years.


Canadian Polar Bear: Yesterday, one of our Ibex hunters emailed me and said he has to cancel his May Polar Bear hunt (begins in less than 2 weeks). It’s a very remote, trophy area. He paid nearly $40,000 USD and is offering the hunt for 1Ž2 price. This area produces big bear and this hunter always does thorough research before booking as he likes quality hunts with high trophy potential. This hunt is very short notice, but I was told the hunter can borrow a rifle in camp.Bongo in CAR: June, 2015. The outfitter who hunted with us in Canada a few years ago, wrote me after getting back from scouting his new Lord Derby area and told me that he has one cancellation in June 4-18th, 2015. It’s approximately 1Ž2 price. This area is a very remote, fly-in, with some of the biggest and best Bongo genetics in Africa. These are excellent dates and it’s a world-class hunt. He is more than 1Ž2 booked for 2016, and I’ll go and help him for a hunt or two next year. This is real hunting; big adventure for amazing animals. Also, he has 2 openings for Lord Derby Eland onMarch 10th, 2016. I’ve hunted Lord Derby and it is the largest Antelope in the world, with horns commonly over 50” in length.
Buffalo/Plains Game in Zimbabwe:This outfitter was just awarded a great area with 10 buffalo licenses. I hunted with this outfitter in 2011; he is excellent and the area has lots of game. My sister, Amy, is helping him with bookings since he is out hunting right now.


Ibex and Tur: We have hunts available in several countries starting in July (Mongolia), with some areas open until April 2016 (Spain). We’ve reduced the price of Ibex hunts in Tajik and Kyrgyzstan due to the strong USD and a large supply of Ibex licenses. I’ll also give a hunt report on my recent trips to Spain and Turkey. I was really impressed with some of these areas. There are some very “easy” areas, but also, some real “ball buster” hunts for people who want a challenging excursion. The prices on these difficult areas are also quite affordable, with big animals available if a hunter is willing to work hard and hold out. In the next newsletter I’ll review the Ibex areas we hunt in greater detail.


Shooting Courses and Cull Hunting:There are many shooting courses going on now in the USA and Canada through July and August. If you have a mountain hunt planned for this year or next and haven’t taken a professional shooting course, don’t put it off. Call us now for some recommendations. I’ll discuss courses in the next issue. Also, S. Africa and Namibia have some good higher volume hunts for small Antelope, which will give hunters more trigger time ensuring less missed shots on their expensive, once in a lifetime hunts. Visit our site: for updated info on these courses and hunts.

Canada:  Several of the outfitters I’ve worked with in Northern BC have single species and mixed bag hunts available. If anyone is interested in a Stone Sheep, Goat or Moose/Caribou hunt, ask and we’ll make some recommendations.

Thanks for sticking in there! I hope you’ve found our newsletter informative!

Good hunting,Bryan Martin

Asian & Canadian Mountain Outfitters
(250) 317-5525 (cell/wk)
(604) 648-9412 (fax)