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BEZOAR IBEX IN TURKEY
As a big game animal, Bezoar ibex (Capra aegagrus aegagrus ) rank up there with the best and is one of the most sought after trophy animals in the hunting world. Although Turkey is a host to a big variety of game animals, the biggest attraction of Turkey for a big game hunter has always been the Bezoar ibex.
For more than a period of three decades, Turkey has hosted trophy hunters from all over the world, who were in pursuit of this elusive animal and today is considered to be the number 1 destination available for Bezoar ibex hunting. Availability of Bezoar ibex hunting in Turkey for foreigners started with one single area back in 1981. Capra Aegagrus which had been safekeeping at the Antalya-Duzlercami protection area since 1964 reached a sufficient population to allow hunting tourism to be opened. Over the following years a few areas were added but the major changes came in recent years as some of the finest parts of the country that have never been hunted before was made available to trophy hunting.
By Turkish game regulations a legal Bezoar ibex can only be 8 years old and up. Any ibex smaller than this age limit is considered to be illegal to hunt and is subject to a penalty fee. This is a fully mature adult male although Bezoar ibex can live up to 14-15 years of age. The oldest we collected was 13 years old.
Being spectacularly beautiful, with long sweeping scimitar shaped horns that grow up to 130 cm or even bigger in extreme cases, It is considered by many to be the best looking of all the ibex family. The current SCI world record for this species was collected by Caprinae Safaris client in 2007 which measured 147 cm along the keel and scored 133 SCI points.
50 inch (127cm) horn length with most ibex has always been considered to be the magic number – an exceptional trophy- by the international hunting fraternity. Although many of our Bezoar ibex clients collected trophies in this range over the years, ibex of this caliber is getting scarce and thus are hard to find these days. An ibex hunter’s realistic expectation for a good area should be 110-115 cm. While many good, prime areas can produce Bezoar ibex in the 110-125 cm range, the average size for most regular areas is around 100-105 cm.
How to arrive to area: After your arrival in Istanbul, main port of entry to the country, our representative will meet you for the rifle procedures and escort you to the domestic flights terminal where you will board on a flight which will take you to one of the two southern cities of Adana or Antalya. Both cities can be reached within 1 to 1 ½ hour flight. We normally make the hunting area decision about a month prior to the hunt date depending on the field reports we receive from our local guides. This helps us ensure a successful hunt. There are a good number of flights to these two cities from Istanbul and they operate around the clock. So there is no need to book the internal flights ahead of time as they can always be booked. Upon your arrival to one of these two cities, you will be met by your professional hunter/interpreter at the airport and be driven to the hunting are in a 4×4 truck. A trip of 2-4 hours can be expected to get to the hotel. Please notice that you will be accompanied by some of our staff throughout your stay in Turkey. You will never be left alone from the moment you step into the country until the last minute.
Hunting areas & Altitude & Method: Bezoar ibex has a wide distribution and is hunted in only some designated localities by the government in the southern part of Turkey along the Taurus mountain range which extends from west all the way to the east provinces of Anatolia namely Mersin, Adana, Niğde and Erzincan. The hunting grounds in the Taurus, covered with maquis and forests of pine and altitude varies between 700 – 2800 meters. Many areas can be reached from the airports within 2 to 4 hours with a smooth drive.
In all of the areas with Bezoar hunting, spotting & stalking type of hunt is the main method. Surely some of the areas are easier compared to many others. But one should always keep in mind that as a general rule, older billies live in rougher terrain where hunting requires good physical condition. Every hunting day starts with a hearty breakfast at an early hour of the morning followed by a 20-40 minutes ride to get to the hunting area. Most of the time, four wheel trucks are used to get to some vantage points to glass and spot a desired size ibex.
Season & weather & accommodation:
The season for this hunt runs from September through the end of March. Depending on the area, late November and December are the rutting season and these months, along with January & February are the best period for hunting. Snow is to be expected after mid-December on higher areas. Success rate is higher on these time frames but regardless of period we have been almost 95% success rate with rifle hunter in recent years. Our success rate with bow hunters is around 50%. We recommend our hunters to come any time but especially from late November through the end of December.
Although it is hard to make a general statement about weather conditions, the temperature should be around 8 – 15 C during the day time in November while it is cooler in December and onwards due to the snow fall on tops.
Depending on the area, we provide different type of accommodations, such as; small and nice local hotels, hunting cabins, village or guest houses. But it is possible to find some kind of hotel almost in every area. This may vary in quality but we always choose the best available in the area. There is only one area that enables us to use a five-star accommodation since the hunting locality is only 30-40 minutes away from the downtown Antalya. But this area is high in demand and the price is higher than most others.
Another area that offers a four star accommodation is only 1 ½ hour west of Antalya. The hotel we use here is a 40 minute drive away from the hunting area. This area also offer very good trophy quality and is one of the best areas in the whole country in terms of quality. Likewise this area is in high demand and the prices are quite high.
All other hotel accommodations in different areas are smaller local hotels and below links can give a rough idea of how they may be.
Day by day tentative itinerary: As a general rule 7 actual hunting days are required for the Bezoar hunt, although it can be practically completed in 3-4 days. However we always reserve 7 days to be on the safe side. But of course we will keep it shorter on request. With 2 more traveling days, it will add up to 9 day program.
Day 01. Arrival to Istanbul, fly to south; Antalya or Adana airports, transfer to the area (2 to 4 hours’ drive) same day.
Day 02-08. Hunt Bezoar Ibex.
Day 09. Drive back to airport and fly back to Istanbul and home.
The price & conditions: We have regular areas where we attain almost 100% success and the average trophy size is anywhere between 100 – 105cm. In these areas it is also possible to get bigger trophies but a realistic expectation should be around 110cm. Maximum length one can obtain is 115 cm and that requires a lot of luck and maybe hard work.
Our price for these areas is US$ 13,900 for any size ibex.
Some of the areas that we have are very special and therefore are called prime areas. These areas can produce some exceptional trophies at times but in general the average trophy size is around 110 -115 cm. Such animals can easily be collected in these prime areas. But it is not really unrealistic to expect and harvest bigger trophies in the 115 -125 cm range. Our clients in fact collect even bigger trophies in these areas but it is pure luck and in some cases hard hunting.
|The price for such areas is||US$ 19,900 for any size.|
|Observer fee:||US$ 1,750 for the trip.|
Additional animals can be added on to this hunt such as Anatolian chamois, Konya sheep and wild boar.
The price includes; custom handling, hunting organization up to mentioned days, one trophy fee of mentioned specie, hunting license, gun import permit, area fees, transfers from/to closest airport, full board accommodation in the hunting area, PH-interpreter and local guides.
The price excludes; international & domestic air fares, visa cost, trophy shipment, insurance, gratuities, hotel accommodation before/after the hunt, sightseeing, personal expenses, trophy fees. (We take the longer horn measurements into consideration for trophy fee calculations) The observer (non-hunter) fee is $1,750,-.
Booking and payment; A 50% deposit is required on booking and the other half should be paid 2 months before the hunt.
If you would like to cancel your hunt 9 months before the trip, your deposit is refunded with only $500 less and if cancellation occurs between 9 to 3 months before the trip, full deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs 3 months or less before the trip, full cost of the trip is forfeited.
In case of no success (except missed shots & wounding), 30% is refunded.
Movie: In principle all non-hunters pay the ordinary non-hunting services price of $1,750 per person. If an representative / cameraman of the mediation company Balkan Hunters Club shots does the movie shooting than his stay and accommodation services will be only $ 750 as we will provide the local hunt organizing company with a free advertising copy of the movie shot. This amount of $ 750 must be covered by the client.
Additionally the movie shooting cost is as usual $ 400/ day or altogether $2400 for the total days of hunting days.
BALKAN HUNTERS CLUB Ltd.