The Famed Marco Polo
Of all the sheep species, the Marco Polo is arguably one of the most popular to sportsman, especially among die hard sheep hunters. They can be found in the mountainous regions of Central Asia. Their most notable characteristic is their large spiraling horns. They were named for Marco Polo because he described them in one of his books.
They are scattered across the Pamir Mountain region along the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China. They can be found in elevations form 11,000 feet to almost 16,000, feet. They will typically stay in groups of a few dozen sheep during the winter and break up into smaller groups during the summer months. During the rut, adolescent rams steer clear, as only mature rams fight for the right to pick their ewes.
They gained popularity in the hunting world in the 1950’s, but were initially only allowed to be hunted by Afghan royalty. It wasn’t until the late 1960’s when the first American Hunters were allowed to hunt them. One of the most fascinating things about them is how big they can actually get. The world record Marco Polo was 71 7/8 inches on one side and 73 inches on the other with a whopping final score of 256″. The Godfather of Marco Polo Sheep hunting is a man by the name of Hossein “Soudy” Golabchi. He is the proud owner of 7 of the 10 largest Marco Polo ever harvested.
If your going to hunt them prepare for a long journey. You’re going to have a long plane ride, then a long jeep ride, then a long ride up to spike camp. followed by a long hike every day in pursuit of these amazing animals. This is an extremely physical hunt and requires the hunter to be in peak physical condition. The altitude alone is enough to humble even toughest guys. It is recommended that you use something which limits your oxygen while training up for this hunt as that will be one of your biggest hurtles. They can be hunted in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with the larger Marco Polo’s coming from the latter. Being prepared for long range shots exceeding 500 yards is a must. The most popular caliber for these sheep is a .30 caliber.
So if you’re looking for a challenge, and these mountain monarchs are on your list, then this is a great time to go after Marco Polo. And we just happen to have some of the best Marco Polo hunts in the world!
by Casey Jensen