For the Record

Stories of amazing hunting trophies past and present

International sheep hunter Gary Hansen hunted in Mongolia some eleven years ago for high Altai argali/ibex and Hangai argali and always dreamed of going back. In August 2007, he got the opportunity to return for Gobi argali (Ovis ammon darwini), and he brought along two good friends, Bryan Tyler and George Harms. The hunt was booked through Vladimir Melnikov of ProfiHunt, in conjunction with his friend and partner, Khurlee Ankhbayar (Ankhaa) of Mongolei Reisen Safaris.

The hunting area was near the small settlement of Erdene, in the East Gobi Province along the border with China. Guides Muugii and Bayaraa were young and energetic and familiar with the area. On the first morning, Bayaraa told Gary that during his scouting he had spotted a truly outstanding ram in the area. On the second to last day, the hunters got close to a ram that had good length and mass but Bayaraa indicated he was not as good as the one he had seen, so Hansen reluctantly passed. That night, driving back in the dark, the hunters got stuck on a sand dune and had to walk about three or four miles back to camp, getting to bed late that night. On the walk back, Hansen did a lot of thinking about the ram he had passed up.

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Mideastern red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), a heavy-antlered relative of American elk and European red deer, roam Asian Turkey, the Caucasus region of Russia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, northern Iran, and southwestern Turkmenistan. Globetrotting hunter Soudy Golabchi shattered the record for this magnificent animal while hunting in Turkey in September 2006.

Golabchi had heard about a particular area in Turkey that he wanted to hunt, and he specified this when he booked the hunt with outfitter Kaan Karakaya of Shikar Safaris. Upon arrival in Ankara, he met by the outfitter, who began driving him to the hunting area. When they continued past a sign for the area he had requested, Golabchi questioned the outfitter, who explained that he had spotted a huge stag in another area and wanted the hunter to look at it first. After he was assured that he would be taken to his original destination if he wasn’t satisfied, Golabchi agreed to the suggestion.

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High expectations were the order of the day as veteran hunter Jason Gisi arrived at the airport in Hermosillo, Mexico, in January 2005. He was hunting for a trophy desert mule deer with outfitter Agustin Hurtado; his guide would be Chad Smith, an old friend and also a well-known Arizona outfitter.

There was reason to be upbeat: They had found the sheds of a huge buck on the ranch for the past two years, and Chad had seen the buck at the close of last year's season. He had been scouting and knew just where he wanted to take Jason.

The two made a steep climb up a small mountain in the dark on the morning of January 8 and got to a vantage point before it got light. As day broke, both were glassing the desert floor beyond. In short order, Chad broke the silence by saying, "There he is." A huge typical mule deer was feeding below them about 700 yards, right on the edge of the desert floor. It had a harem of does with it and was moving toward thick brush.

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