Tian Shan Argali (Kyrgyzstan)
TIAN SHAN ARGALI (Ovis ammon kerelini)
Also called Argali del Tian Shan, and Argali du Tian Shan, but most hunters consider all Argali Marco Polo Sheep.
The Tian Shan argali category is divided into two races: heinsii and karelini. The karelini was described from the Ala Tau range north of Lake Issyk Kul in northeastern Kirghizstan (Kyrgyzstan) and southeastern Kazakhstan, and eastward in the Tian Shan range in Xinjiang, China. It is similar to the Marco Polo, but it’s horns have a tighter curl and are generally thicker. The winter coat has light brown upper parts that lighten gradually to the diffuse, grayish-brown rump patch. The yellowish-white belly is separated from the flanks by a wide dark line. A dark dorsal line runs from shoulders to loins. The neck mane is white, shaded with grayish-brown.
The world record head was reported as picked up (1921) in the valley of the Yulduz. Its longest horn measured 70-3/4 x 15-1/2 inches (179.7 x 39.4 cm), which is much larger than any other karelini of record.
The Tian Shan mountain range, from southeastern Kazakhstan and eastern Kyrgyzstan eastward to about Urumqi in Xinjiang. Boundaries with the Marco Polo argali to the south and west are unclear. They are distributed across the northern flanks of the Tien Shan mountain range in northeast Kyrgyzstan and southeast Kazakhstan. You can spot the Argali easiest in winter time when the animals come down from the high mountains to search for food.
Hunting takes place in Kyrgyzstan. The hunter has to be in reasonably good physical condition, although usually horse riding is involved on this hunt. You will be hunting at high altitudes of 3,000 meters (10,000 ft.) and higher. It is common to combo your hunt with a Mid Asian ibex.
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