Konya sheep in fact, is one of the two subspecies of mouflon that inhabits Turkey. While eastern population is classified as Ovis gmelini gmelini, known to hunters also as Armenian sheep, and seasonably migrates between Iran and the eastern Anatolia; the other population, totally isolated pocket of sheep listed as Ovis gmelini anatolica occupies the central part of the country.
Once spread all over Central Turkey, Bozdag mountains had become the only existing site for these animals by the turn of the 20th century. With the approval of a new hunting law in 1937, the remaining number of these animals were declared as endangered species and were taken under protection. In 1966 the Ministry of Forestry declared 42.000 hectares of land as a wildlife protection area and any kind of hunting was prohibited in the area. Then in 1989, a land of 4000 hectares was allocated as a breeding station and fenced. Although the total number of sheep was 40 back in 1966, the field survey conducted in the fenced area in 2001 revealed the population number as 1408.
There had been no legal hunting in the area until The General Directorate of National Parks and Game-Wildlife (TGDNPGW) finally decided to issue 10 permits of which 7 went to foreign hunters in 2006-07 hunting season. The number of permits issued annually was reduced to 4 in the following years. Since the carrying capacity of the fenced area had already been reached, TGDNPGW started to launch a re-introduction project about ten years ago in order to put the sheep back into it’s original habitat. The animals responded very well to this reintroduction project especially in two of the localities and they started to multiply. This success encouraged TGDNPGW so they started allocating 1 permit - 2 in some years - about 5 years ago which are auctioned at high prices. This area is the only place where Konya sheep can be hunted free range.
SEASON & WEATHER
The season for this hunt starts from September onwards and goes on through the end of January. Best time is considered to be October and early November although hunt offers almost 100% success chance regardless of the period. Weather conditions during October - November period are ideal for hunting. In December and January some snow fall and cold weather conditions can be expected in the areas. But this does not usually interfere with the hunting for Konya sheep.
AREA & ALTITUDE
Bozdag mountains used to be the only place where these species could be hunted for a few year as it was the last refugee of these rare animals. With the success of reintroduction project the number of locations where Konya mouflon can be hunted increased. Currently there are 3 areas Konya sheep can be hunted.
One of these areas is the Bozdag mountains not so far from downtown Konya. Hunting here is done in 3500 hectare fenced area and the ground lies around at 1500 – 1800 meters. The area can easily be reached from the hotel located in city of Konya with a short car ride of about 45 minutes. The terrain is consist of rolling hills which allows us to use 4x4 trucks during the hunt. There has been also some limited free range hunting for the Konya mouflon in the vast surrounding steppe in the Bozdag mountains in the past two years.
Another free range hunting area for Konya sheep named Nallihan is located 140 kilometers west of Ankara which is the capitol of the nation. The area encompasses 18,000 hectar prime mouflon habitat which borders with a big dam on one side which gives a natural boundary to the wildlife reserve for the Konya sheep. The elevation in the area is around 700 meters. The Konya mouflon finds a very good living habitat in this area and multiplies.
ACCOMMODATIONS & HUNTING METHOD
We accommodate the hunters who will hunt Konya sheep in the Bozdag mountains in a five star hotel in downtown Konya. All the meals except lunch are eaten here. Hunter will find everything necessary to have a good rest and comfortable stay here in this hotel.
The lodging for the other free range hunting area is a bit on the modest side. It is 3 star motel with all the basic amenities. The hunting area can be reached with a 20-30 minute drive from hotel. Better hotel accommodations can be arranged only if the hunter agrees to ride 30 minutes more one way every day.
The terrain in both areas are gentle in general which makes hunting quite easy. As a general rule, hunting is done by driving around in 4 wheel drive vehicles and glassing until a ram that bears a desirable horn length is spotted. Then the last stalk to get within the shooting range is done on foot. The hunting for Konya sheep is possibly one of the easiest mountain hunting anywhere in the world. So hunts are usually done within the first two days