Updated: Jun 8, 2019
(Ovis vignei cycloceros [bocharensis])
LOCATION: Turkmenistan: From the Balkhan Mountains north of Nebitdag southeast through the Kopet Dag Mountains near the border with Iran, and in the mountains near the Afghanistan border as far east as southern Karabil. Uzbekistan: Far southeast. Tajikistan: Southwest, and also in the southwestern Pamirs. Afghanistan: Central, eastern and northeastern. Pakistan: West of the Indus River and north of Quetta, but south of Chitral. Boundaries with the TCU to the west are undetermined.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 32 inches. Generally a small sheep weighing around 100 pounds.Overall color varies from reddish-buff to yellowish-brown. Rump patch and under parts are white, the face a bluish-gray. Rams have a white bib, long black neck ruff and a small black saddle spot in the winter coat. The horns are homonymous, triangular in cross section, and strongly wrinkled.
REMARKS: The first European to record moufloniforms in Asia was Marco Polo, who observed and described flocks of Afghan urials numbering as many as 500 in the Badakshan region of northern Afghanistan during his 1271-1274 journey from Europe to China.
(Ovis ammon ammon)
LOCATION: Found mainly in the Altay Mountains of western Mongolia. Extends marginally northward into the Gorno-Altai and Tuva republics of Siberian Russia, westward into extreme northeastern Kazakhstan, and southwestward into northern Xinjiang, China.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 48 inches, possibly more. Weight 400-450 pounds, sometimes more. The largest wild sheep in the world, with the largest and most massive horns. The horns have rounded frontal edges, are heavily corrugated, and when fully developed will form more than a complete circle. The longest horns of record measured 71 3/4 inches. Bases exceeding 22 inches have been recorded. Horns and skull, without the lower jaw, can weigh as much as 75 pounds. General color in winter is light brown tinged with gray. Rump patch, belly, lower legs and face are white. Summer coat is much shorter and lighter, with the upper parts a uniformly speckled brown and white, and the rump patch only slightly lighter than the back.
REMARKS: The Altay argali is the largest of all wild sheep.
AOUDAD OR BARBARY SHEEP
LOCATION: Free-ranging in parts of Texas, New Mexico, California and Mexico. Also on private properties, mainly in Texas, but also in a number of other U.S. states.
DESCRIPTION: 200-250 pounds. The aoudad is a strongly built animal, with a short mane on the neck and shoulders and long, flowing hair on the throat, chest, forelegs (where it forms pantaloons or chaps) and tail. Overall coloration is sandy-brown with the under parts paler.
REMARKS: Native to the desert mountains in the Sahara region of northern Africa. In 1924, aoudad were released on the Hearst Ranch-mostly unfenced-in San Luis Obispo County, California, and have since populated nearby areas, where they have been hunted without legal protection. Introduced in 1950 in the Canadian River Canyon in New Mexico by the state game department, with hunting by drawn permit. Also found in the wild in southeastern New Mexico, mainly as the result of escapes from private enclosures. Occurs in the wild in Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, Texas, as a result of state-sponsored releases, also elsewhere in Texas from private releases. Released in the wild in several places in Mexico. The aoudad is a superb game animal, exceptionally challenging when free-ranging and difficult even where fenced.
(Ovis gmelini gmelini)
LOCATION: Found in Armenia, possibly the extreme southwestern tip of Azerbaijan, eastern Turkey, the northeastern corner of Iraq, and northwestern Iran east to Tabriz and south to the central Zagros Mountains. The first major reserve where the Armenian mouflon lives is Haftad Gholleh, which is near the town of Arak. If you examine the geography, you will see that Arak is about 150 miles southwest of Tehran and the traditional red sheep areas. For all practical purposes, the Armenian mouflons are located west and northwest of the city of Qom. A small free-ranging herd is presently found in West Texas on the Clayton Williams Ranch.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height 28-32 inches. Weight 100-140 pounds. A graceful sheep with relatively long, slender legs. General color is reddish-tan with a narrow, grayish-white saddle patch. Under parts, lower legs and muzzle are white. Chest is dark brown. There is a narrow brown flank band and brown markings on front of the upper legs. In winter, there is a short black ruff on the lower neck and brisket. No bib. Horns are supracervical, curving above and behind the neck.
REMARKS: In the last two decades, hunting in Iran for this species has been sporadic, depending on the political climate of Iran. There have been a few GSCO members who were able to hunt in Armenia recently and successfully take the Armenian mouflon. Most of the hunting for the Armenian mouflon occurs on the Williams Ranch in West Texas. These sheep are accepted toward the Ovis World Slam.
(Ovis vignei blanfordi)
LOCATION: Pakistan; south of Quetta and west of the Indus River. May possibly extend into southeastern Iran.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height up to 30 inches. Weight up to 80-90 pounds. Similar to the Afghan urial, but smaller, with a lesser bib and neck ruff and no distinct saddle patch.
REMARKS: This is one of the smallest sheep of the world and possibly as small as the Laristan mouflon. This sheep strictly inhabits arid hills.
CHINESE BLUE SHEEP
(Pseudois nayaur szechuanensis)
LOCATION: Central China, where it is found in central and eastern Qinghai, western Sichuan, Gansu, southwestern Ningxia. Boundaries with the Tibetan blue sheep to the west are unclear.
DESCRIPTION: Compared with the Himalayan blue sheep, the body size is 10-20% smaller and the color is lighter, being a buffy-brown. Facial mask is a lighter brown, sides of face are whitish and sides of neck are light buff. There is less black on front of neck and chest, and the black lateral band is narrower and stops several inches behind the shoulder instead of almost joining the dark chest patch. The horn length and circumference are also 10-20% smaller, but the tip-to-tip measurement is usually much greater. Horns grow outward horizontally, with little downward curve, then turn backward with the tips inclined upward.
REMARKS: Chinese blue sheep are usually hunted at higher altitudes than any other game animal. This is especially true in early autumn before there is snow to drive them down. At this time of year they can be at 16,000-17,000 feet or even higher
CHUKOTKA SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivacola chuktchorum)
LOCATION: This subspecies of snow sheep is found in the Chukotka Autonomous Region of Russia. It is north of the Koryak and Magadan Regions, and east of Yakutia. Google Earth plainly shows the boundary between Koryak, Magadan, and Yakutia and the Chukotka Autonomous Region. The Chukotka region is vast, and in reality only a small portion of it is habitat for the sheep. It is believed that there are several different mountainous areas of Chukotka where the sheep can be found, but not in large numbers.
DESCRIPTION: They are about the same size as Dall sheep and Stone sheep. Chukotka sheep are much lighter than other snow sheep. As a thin horn sheep, the subspecies horns are rarely broomed. The Chukotka is one of the smallest bodied of the Russian snow sheep.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic regions.
REMARKS: In 2015, for the first time several GSCO members successfully hunted snow sheep in the Chukotka Autonomous Region of Russia. At present, the only hunting areas believed to have legal permits are the areas very near the borders with Magadan and possibly Koryak regions.
(Ovis gmelini corsicano )
LOCATION: Canigou Massif, Pyrénées-Orientales Department, France.
DESCRIPTION: The Corsican mouflon is a wild mountain sheep. The Corsican mouflon has never been hybridized and it is important to retain it as a separate species. This mouflon prefers open, mountainous country, covered with grassy or bushy vegetation. He is a Mediterranean hoofed animal who seeks steep slopes and rocks to protect himself from man and stray dogs.
(Ovis gmelini ophion)
LOCATION: Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
DESCRIPTION: The Cyprian mouflon is a wild mountain sheep found only on the island of Cyprus. It is a very agile mouflon which moves very fast on the steep slopes of the Paphos forest of Cyprus. The mature male Cyprian mouflon is a strong, well-built and beautiful animal. It has a thick and plentiful hide which in winter is of a light brown color, with light grey on the back and an elongated black patch round the neck. In summer its hide becomes short and smooth, with a uniform brown color and white underparts. The male mouflons have heavy horns in the shape of a sickle. The horn length of a mature animal is between 55 and 60 cm. The weight of the male is around 35 kg while the female weighs around 25 kg. Its height is around one meter. By all accounts, it is a very small, but stable herd and is increasing in number of sheep.
NOTES: To the best of our knowledge, there has only been one legally taken Cyprian mouflon and it was in 1972 by Rudolf Sand (Denmark). It is listed on Appendix I of CITES.
DAGESTAN (EASTERN) TUR
LOCATION: Eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains east of Mt. Dykhtau. Habitat is usually in open, precipitous terrain at higher elevations as high as 12,000 feet, but may also be found lower down in thick forest. Descends to lower elevations in winter to escape heavy snow.
BEHAVIOR: Gregarious, sometimes in large herds numbering several hundred. Prefers to feed on forbs and grasses, but will browse. Obtains water from small pools high in the mountains. An extremely good climber as are all goats.
DESCRIPTION: This animal is not a sheep, but a goat (ibex type). However, the horns resemble the blue sheep enough to have interested sheep hunters for a long time. Shoulder height 31-39 inches. Weight 120-175 pounds, sometimes to 220 pounds. Somewhat smaller and decidedly darker in color than the west Caucasian tur. The coat is uniformly reddish-brown in summer, with under parts whitish and the tail, breast and lower legs darker. Turns a uniform dark brown in winter, with under parts slightly lighter and the tail, breast and lower legs much darker. There is a small white rump patch. Beard is dark and very short (up to three inches) and difficult to detect in some animals. The horns are quite unusual for a goat, being smooth and rounded, curving above and behind the neck (supracervical), with the tips turning inward and upward; they are quite similar to those of the Himalayan blue sheep but are more massive.
REMARKS: The Ovis World Slam includes this tur and it also counts toward the Capra World Slam.The Dagestan (Eastern) tur, like all tur, is a very fine and sporting game animal. It is hunted in steep, high mountains where good physical condition is a must, long shots may be required, and even an average trophy is something to be proud of. Weather in this region is much better than in the western Caucasus.
DWARF BLUE SHEEP
LOCATION: Dwarf blue sheep have a limited distribution in the upper Yangtze River Gorge near Leh and Drupalong and south of Batang in western Sichuan and southeastern Tibet. They are usually found at elevations of 8,500-10,500 feet, and are cut off from the blue sheep populations of the upper grassy altitudes of the same regions by a thick, scrubby forest 3-4 miles across and covering 1,500 feet of elevation.
DESCRIPTION: Much smaller than other forms of blue sheep, with a drab coloration and very small horns. Shoulder heights are 20-31 inches, and weights of 55-85 pounds. The summer coat is a dull brownish-gray, with the head, neck, dorsal area, tail tip, and front of legs darker. Under parts, inside of legs, and inside of ears are whitish, and there is a light ring around the eyes. The winter coat is bright silver-gray, with the colors more pronounced, and there is a black stripe separating flanks from belly. The horns are much smaller than in other blue sheep.
REMARKS: Western science knows relatively little about this isolated animal. However, in 1988, a Chinese scientific expedition conducted a field study and determined it should be ranked as a distinct species, rather than a subspecies. Locals believe July is the best time to hunt these animals, because then the grass is better at lower elevations (8,200 feet) and the blue sheep descend to feed on it.
(Ovis gmelini isphahonica)
LOCATION: The Esfahan mouflon is found only in Iran, in the mountains near Esfahan, up to about halfway between the city of Arak and south to the city of Marvdasht, which is just north of the city of Shiraz. The city of Esfahan is in a bit of a valley on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. All but two of the hunting reserves in the area are found west and south of Esfahan. These two are very important, because they each have lots of sheep. The nearest one is only about 30 miles away, and is called Ghamishloo. It is well within the proposed Esfahan boundary. The other is the well-known Mooteh Reserve. It is nearly 100 miles northwest of Esfahan and lies between the towns of Kashan (to the east) and Golpaygan (to the west).
DESCRIPTION: In winter, males have a full-length black neck ruff extending to the brisket. There is no bib. Saddle patch, muzzle, chin, throat and lower part of legs are white. The horns appear to be of two types: Those from the Mooteh Wildlife Reserve, about 80 miles northeast of Esfahan, are supracervical or perverted, which is to say they curve above and behind the neck as do those of the Armenian mouflon; those from the Tange-Sayad and Kolah-Gazi wildlife refuges, which are within 90 miles southwest and southeast, respectively, of Esfahan are cervical, with the tips growing inward toward the neck.
REMARKS: This sheep has many characteristics of the Armenian mouflon, but has had enough influence over time from the Laristan mouflon and Shiraz mouflon to be distinctly different from the Armenian mouflon. Horns sweep down more than the Armenian, and the coloration is slightly different as well, having a distinct mouflon look to the cape.
(Ovis ammon dalailamae)
LOCATION: China, where it is found in the Altun Mountains of Xinjiang, and the Qilian Mountains in Gansu and adjacent parts of Qinghai.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 45 inches, weight 200-220 pounds. The winter coat is chestnut-brown on the back, grayish-brown on the sides, with the underparts, rump and inside of legs white. A dark streak extends down the front of the legs. The head is brown, the muzzle white. Rams have a long, white ruff that almost surrounds the neck. The horns are heavy and tightly curled, with little or no flare.
REMARKS: Chinese authorities agree that this argali is known to be plentiful, even though both CITES and the USF&WS consider the Gansu argali a form of Tibetan argali, under which they list it, respectively, on Appendix I and as endangered.
(Ovis ammon darwini)
LOCATION: The Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia (south of latitude 45° and east of longitude 97°) and northern China.
DESCRIPTION: Weight 300 pounds or more. One of the largest argalis, with horns similar to those of an Altay argali, being nearly as massive but a little shorter. Upper parts are a variegated yellowish-brown; the flanks and front of thighs are a more uniform darker brown.
REMARKS: Most of the rams found in the Gobi Desert have a true “desert look” to them. In past years, many rams taken from the Hangay Mountains (north of the Gobi Desert) have been called Gobi argalis. Rarely do Gobi argalis reach 18” bases. However, in recent years there have been a few specimens with horns over 50” in length. This is attributable to low hunting pressure in the Gobi regions. Horn lengths of 45” and less are more common.
(Ovis ammon ssp [hangaii])
LOCATION: The range of the Hangay argali includes not only Öshig Mountain, but also the rest of the Hangay Range to the north. Map coordinates are roughly 45° 30' N x 101° 30' E. Öshig Mountain is south of the town of Bayanteeg and north of Baruunbayan in South Hangay Province
DESCRIPTION: Weight 350 pounds or more. One of the largest argalis, with horns similar to those of an Altay argali, being nearly as massive but a little shorter (and larger than the Gobi argali). Upper parts are a variegated yellowish-brown; the flanks and front of thighs are a more uniform darker brown.
REMARKS: The Hangay argali category was established in 1997 for record-keeping purposes. During the first half of the 1980s, many hunters took rams in this area, which was then advertised as the "mid-Altay." They were told they were hunting Altay argalis that were a little smaller than those in the West Altay, but at lower prices. Then in the 1990s other hunters were taken to the same mountain to hunt what they were told were very large Gobi argalis at premium prices.
HELAN SHAN BLUE SHEEP
(Pseudois nayaur ssp)
LOCATION: Helan Shan Mountains on the border of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia.
DESCRIPTION: Compared with the Himalayan blue sheep, the body size is smaller and the color is lighter, being a buffy-brown. Facial mask is a lighter brown, sides of face are whitish and sides of neck are light buff. There is considerable black on front of neck and chest as compared to the Chinese blue sheep, and the black lateral band stops several inches behind the shoulder instead of almost joining the dark chest patch. The horn length and circumference are smaller than the Chinese blue sheep. Horns grow outward horizontally, with a downward curve, and most recorded are heavily broomed.
REMARKS: During an expedition in spring 1996, more than 800 blue sheep were observed in herds of up to 30 individuals. China closed hunting in 2006 and there are only eight blue sheep recorded in the SCI Record Book coming from the Helan Shan Mountains, most of which were taken between 2004 and 2006.
HIMALAYAN BLUE SHEEP
(Pseudois nayaur nayaur)
LOCATION: The Himalayan region of northeastern Pakistan, northwestern India, Nepal and Bhutan; scattered populations throughout Tibet; southern Xinjiang and western Qinghai (China); and extreme northwestern Yunnan (China) west of the Yangtze River. Boundaries with the Chinese blue sheep to the east are unclear. Hunting for this subspecies is limited to Nepal and Pakistan, as the other countries where it occurs do not allow it to be hunted at present.
DESCRIPTION: Body size is 10-20% larger than the Chinese blue sheep. Color is generally darker. It has a darker brown facial mask with black neck and chest, and a thicker black lateral band that almost joins the dark black chest patch. Horn length and circumference are 10-20% larger than the Chinese blue sheep, with the horns growing outward horizontally and downward.
REMARKS: The blue sheep tends to run in herds of tens and up to 200 animals. The Himalayan blue sheep of Pakistan are hunted up to 15,000 feet, where the blue sheep in Nepal are hunted up to 16,500 feet. The hunting in Nepal is conducted solely in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve of north central Nepal
(Ovis ammon humei)
LOCATION: Kyrgyzstan; with the Naryn River as the northern boundary and the height of land of the Ferganskiy Mountains as the southern boundary.
DESCRIPTION: It can weigh up to 300 pounds. Although similar to the Marco Polo argali in size and coloration, its horns are shorter, heavier, and have less flare.
REMARKS: There has been a controversy for many years about this particular argali. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recognizes only two subspecies from Kyrgyzstan, the Tian Shan argali (found north of the Naryn River) and the Marco Polo (found south of the Naryn River). However, many knowledgeable hunters and scientists contend that there are three different subspecies of argalis in Kyrgyzstan. The GSCO trophy classification committee decided in January 2003 to officially recognize the Hume argali, although SCI still lists it under the Marco Polo argali category. This argali is importable into the U.S. as a Marco Polo.
HYBRID SHEEP (CORSICAN)
LOCATION: Free-ranging in parts of California and Hawaii. Also on private properties in Texas and elsewhere; but would be better suited to use “world” as the location where these sheep can be located.
DESCRIPTION: Weight can vary from 80-225 pounds. Usually these animals are hybrids of European mouflon and domestic sheep. Large and spectacular horns can result from carefully managed crosses. Color phases are also developed, the white “Texas Dall” and black “Hawaiian ram” being examples. Unfortunately (or fortunately), almost any Ovis species will crossbreed. Texas made Corsican sheep famous, as there are numerous crosses. They had to be called something, and Corsican was the name that stuck. Mouflon genetics are found in the majority of these crosses, and one can see some most handsome and impressive rams in Texas and other states (or countries).
REMARKS: Unfortunately (or fortunately), almost any Ovis species will crossbreed. Texas made Corsican sheep famous, as there are numerous crosses. They had to be called something, and Corsican was the name that stuck. Mouflon genetics are found in the majority of these crosses, and one can see some most handsome and impressive rams in Texas and other states (or countries).
KAMCHATKA SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivicola nivicola)
LOCATION: The Kamchatka Peninsula of Siberia, south of the low-lying isthmus that occurs at about latitude 60°N.
DESCRIPTION: Usually darker in color than the other snow sheep and lacking a white (or light) forehead patch. Horns on average have heavier bases than the mainland snow sheep. Color is grayish-brown or grizzled. The white rump patch is rather small and is divided by a dark stripe that continues down the tail. Muzzle is white, but the brown facial band, which so strongly characterizes the Verkhoyansk population to the west, is almost lost. Head and neck may show a varying degree of grayish-white. The horns protrude outward, around and down in almost 1-1/2 curls to perfect, unbroomed tips.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic region.
REMARKS: Sometimes incorrectly called Kamchatka bighorn, but it is actually a thin horn, the same as other snow sheep and also the Dall and Stone sheep of North America.
KARA TAU ARGALI
(Ovis ammon nigrimontana)
LOCATION: Kara Tau Mountains (250 miles in length) in southern Kazakhstan just north of the Syr Darya River. The name Kara Tau means Black Mountain in the Kazakh language.
DESCRIPTION: One of the smallest bodied argali, only marginally larger than the Severtzov argali and the larger urials. The coat is brownish with a cinnamon or rusty tinge on the upper part of the body, with belly and rump being whitish. A pronounced ruff grows on the chest and front part of the neck.
REMARKS: For some reason, there is no specific category in the SCI Record Book for the Kara Tau argali. In the archives of GSCO, there are nine entries for this species: H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza; Donald Cox; Hector Cuellar; Soudy Golabchi; Jose “Pepe” Madrazo; Sherwin Scott; M. Gomez Sequeria; Hubert Thummler; and Jesus Yuren.
(Ovis ammon collium)
LOCATION: Eastern Kazakhstan, where it is found throughout the Karaganda Region, extending westward and northward into Akmola, northward into Pavlodar, and eastward into Semey (Semipalatinsk) regions. Stops short of the Tarbagatay Mountains and, therefore, does not mix with the Sair argali. This argali occupies lower, more arid country than most argalis.
DESCRIPTION: Similar to Tian Shan argali in body size and shape, but has minor skull differences and horns. Coloration is dark brown above, separated from the white belly by a dark flank band. There is a creamy white neck ruff that blends into the darker body hair and a distinct white rump patch that does not extend above the root of the tail. Tail is long, with a dark tip. There are dark stripes down the front of the hind legs, but not always down the front legs. Head is darker than the neck, with a dark facial mask.
REMARKS: A spectacular argali which is well-managed and has a stable population. The last surveys (mid-1990’s) indicated there were 10,000 animals and increasing. This argali is geographically isolated from all other argali species.
(Ovis gmelini laristanica x Ovis vignei blanfordi)
LOCATION: Kerman Province of Iran, in the Kabr-va-Rouchon Wildlife Refuge and eastward and southward.
DESCRIPTION: The winter coat is darker than that of the Laristan mouflon, and there is a white saddle patch, but no bib. A black neck ruff is present, extending the full length of the neck in some animals but limited to just the lower half in others. The horns are homonymous, but as a general rule they sweep downward and then curve back up.
REMARKS: GSCO consider the Kerman sheep to be a distinct, naturally-occurring subspecies. This is at least for sure concerning those found in the mountains around the city of Yazd and southeast, through the mountains that extend to south of the city of Kerman. However, there are corridors where influence from SIX other trophy types could have affected the development of the Kerman sheep (1. Transcaspian urial 2. Afghan urial 3. Blanford urial 4. Laristan mouflon 5. Shiraz mouflon 6. Esfahan mouflon). There is a mountain corridor where the TCU could have made its way southeast toward Yazd. There are a few miles of low desert along this corridor, but nothing formidable enough to keep a determined wanderer away. There is an even better corridor where the Afghan urial could have made its way west. However, the Transcaspian and the Afghans would have faced fairly difficult going, so might have influenced the Kerman sheep less than the other four trophy types. From the traditional Blanford urial area there is a corridor that runs northwest from the Blanford urial haunts of extreme southeastern Iran. This corridor is continuous, with few problems for migration over the years. The formidable problem to inhibit the Blanfords’ migrations would have been distance. This could/would have been overcome, but over a long span of time. The Laristan mouflons’ influence would have probably been greater than the Blanford’s. Thgere are continuous mountains between the town of Lar and the city of Kerman. There would have been relatively easy movement corridors for the Laristan’s contribution to the development of the Kerman sheep. The last two trophy types are the Shiraz and Esfahan mouflons. Both of these sheep are found west of the Kerman sheep. There is a fairly extensive desert valley separating both sheep from the Kerman. However, there is a distinct corridor northwest of the desert where the Esfahan sheep could/would have traveled to influence the development of the Kerman sheep over time. There is another corridor southwest of the desert for the Shiraz mouflon to have done the same.
KOLYMA SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivicola ssp)
LOCATION: This sheep is found only in the Magadan Region, and predominately in the Kolyma Mountain Range. The eastern boundary is considered to be the large river valley west of the Koryak Mountains. The northern boundary is considered to be the Chukotka Autonomous Region border. The western boundary is considered to be the border of Yakutia from the Omolon River to the Kolyma River. The western boundary then follows the Kolyma River to the Trans-Siberian Highway. The southern boundary is considered to be the Trans-Siberian Highway, which begins in the city of Magadan. This actually runs in a northerly direction.
DESCRIPTION: Weight 180-230 pounds. Snow sheep have compact, muscular bodies and relatively short legs (compared with other Asian sheep) that are adapted to climbing precipitous terrain. The coat is coarse and brittle, with each hair containing a sealed air pocket that serves as insulation. Hair texture is said to be quite different from that of North American sheep, being thick and wool-like and becoming very long and shaggy in winter. Snow sheep have distinct rump patches, but do not have saddle patches, bibs or neck ruffs. The horns are similar to those of the Dall and Stone sheep of North America, being brown or dark amber in color, fairly heavy and quite smooth, and with the frontal-orbital edge forming a prominent keel.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic region.
REMARKS: Very few Westerners had the opportunity to hunt snow sheep until 1988, when the Soviet (now Russian) government opened hunting on a limited basis. Since then, hunting for the Kamchatka and Siberian subspecies has become very popular.
(Ovis gmelini anatolica)
LOCATION: Turkey; The Konya mouflon is found south of the town of Nallihan around the Sariyar Lake/Reservoir. It can also be found in Konya and the town of Karaman in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 30 inches, weight about 110 pounds. Overall color is reddish-brown, with the chest and fronts of upper forelegs a darker brown. There is a narrow brown flank band and a grayish saddle patch. Under parts, rump patch, lower legs, muzzle, area around the eyes and inside of ears is white. There is no bib. The horns are supracervical, curving above and behind the neck.
REMARKS: The Konya mouflon was brought nearly to extinction from poaching. In order to save it, the Turkish Government gathered the remaining few animals and placed them into an enclosure near Nallihan on the Sariyar Lake/Reservoir. After many years the breeding program was successful and the number of animals grew to a point where they could be released into the wild. Currently there are free-ranging populations in the Nallihan area as well as near Konya and Karaman. GSCO does recognize the sheep that are taken in the very large enclosure near Nallihan. GSCO Executive Director, Dennis Campbell, was the first to take one of the free-ranging Konya mouflons that had been released from captivity from the Nallihan enclosure into the wild.
KORYAK SNOW SHEEP
((Ovis nivacola koriakorum))
LOCATION: Eastern Siberia, Russia, Koryak Mountains, North of 60º N, and East of the Penzhina River, South of the 64º N.
Weight 180-230 pounds. Color is grayish-brown or grizzled. The white rump patch is rather small and is divided by a dark stripe that continues down the tail. Muzzle is white, but the brown facial band, which so strongly characterizes the Verkhoyansk population to the west, is almost lost.
Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic region.
Very similar in coloration to the Kamchatka snow sheep, but about 30% smaller, the white muzzle and rump patch are not as pronounced. This compact sheep has shorter legs in proportion to the body than its southern cousin. Individuals found at the northern extremity of the Koryak Range, exhibit characteristics of the Chukotka snow sheep, which has a heavier, lighter coat, of soft, wooly hair.
KUBAN (WESTERN) TUR
(Capra caucasica din niki)
LOCATION: The Kuban (Western) tur is generally accepted as any animal living west of Mt. El’brus in the Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkesiya, Russia.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height 37-42 inches. Weight 200-250 pounds. Larger than the mid-Caucasian tur, with a more ibex like appearance. The beard is long, narrow and prominent. The short summer coat is yellowish-tan, lighter on the back and sides, darker on the head, very dark brown on the tail and lower legs, and dirty white on the belly. The winter coat is heavier and coarser, varying from grayish to yellowish-brown, with a dark dorsal stripe. The horns are black and rather similar to those of an ibex, being scimitar-shaped and having prominent cross ridges on the front surface, but they are much more massive and relatively shorter. The tips are widely separated, the distance varying from about 16-26 inches, sometimes more.
HABITAT: Open, precipitous terrain at higher elevations, normally above timber line.
REMARKS: A top game animal that lives in some of the most beautiful mountain country anywhere. The hunt is physically demanding and long shots may be required. Bad weather can be a problem in this region, with fog, rain, hail, snow and strong winds a daily possibility. Hunters should be in shape, go early in the season, and allow enough days. Caucasian chamois are also available in this area.
(Ovis ammon adametzi)
LOCATION: Found only in the Kuruktag Range in Xinjiang, China. These are small, low mountains that run west to east for perhaps 200 miles, and are located south of the Tian Shan Mountains and north of the Kongque River, from southeast of Korla to northwest of Lop Nur. Altitudes range from about 5,000 to 9,000 feet.
DESCRIPTION: No body weights or measurements are available, but photographs show this to be a smaller argali. The coat is reddish brown on the back, with grayish-brown flanks. Rump patch, insides of legs, under parts, throat and muzzle are white. There is no neck ruff.
REMARKS: There have been very few modern hunters to have taken the Kuruktag argali. From all accounts, this is a physically demanding hunt in very difficult terrain, and good rams are hard to find.
(Ovis vignei vignei)
LOCATION: Located from the Chitral region or northern Pakistan eastward to the Ladakh region of northern India.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 34-38 inches. color is reddish-tan. Rump patch, muzzle, belly and lower legs are white. A dark band separates the belly from the upper body. Males have a white bib, a black neck ruff and a grayish saddle patch in the winter coat. The horn conformation varies, usually tending to curve above and behind the neck (supracervical), but some animals have homonymous horns or cervical ones. The horns rise steeply from the head and are strongly corrugated. They sometimes attain a full circle, but seldom exceed that. The horns curl on a flat plane, seldom spiraling or flaring at the tips.
REMARKS: One of the largest urials, with the most fully developed neck ruff.
(Ovis gmelini laristanica)
LOCATION: Southern Iran, in Fars and Laristan provinces. Boundaries with the Kerman sheep to the east are unclear. The majority of these sheep are found in a large protected area called Hormoud; however, there are likely at least a few sheep in the non-protected areas there.
DESCRIPTION: The Laristan mouflon has been said to be the smallest of the wild sheep. An adult ram has a full body weight of only 75 pounds or less. This is a thin-haired desert race with a short black ruff on the lower neck and breast. There is no bib. The summer coat is straw-brown, turning darker brown with a narrow white saddle patch in winter (The patch is very faint). The horns are homonymous and have a flat frontal surface with sharp edges.
REMARKS: This sheep is confined to only a couple of reserves near the city of Lar. This region experiences extreme desert conditions and temperatures can reach 130°F in the summer
(Ovis ammon littledalei)
LOCATION: Due east of the Tian Shan argali. Southwest of the Gobi argali and southeast of the Altay argali. Chinese authorities limit littledale argali to the small range that lies to the east of the Bogda Shan (eastern Tian Shan) and north and west of Hami (Kumul). As China is the only place where littledalei hunting took place, these are the boundaries used.
DESCRIPTION: The Littledale argali, if not the largest, is one of the finest of argali sheep. Its massive, spiraling horns, although running the Altay and Hangay argalis a close third, have all qualities of a fine head. It appears to be the lowest of all the “low-brow” sheep.
REMARKS: This sheep is named after British sportsman St. George Littledale.
MARCO POLO ARGALI
(Ovis ammon polii)
LOCATION: The eastern part of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan; the Pamir Plateau in eastern Tajikistan; extending north into southeastern Kyrgyzstan south of the Naryn River; and the adjacent Pamir (Tagdumbash) region of far western China. The northern limit for the Marco Polo argali is the Naryn River or approximately 41° 30´ N latitude. The habitat is more arid and barren than that of most other sheep ground. Usually lives at altitudes of 15,000-19,000 feet and rarely below 10,000 feet.
DESCRIPTION: Weight up to 300 pounds. A large, long-legged, light-boned argali with the most spectacular horns of the entire world's sheep. In winter, the upper parts are a somewhat darker brown and there is a full white neck ruff extending to the brisket. The winter hair is much longer, making the animal appear larger and heavier than it is. The long, slender horns are homonymous, forming 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 open spirals. The longest sheep horn ever recorded (75 inches) is from a Marco Polo; however the largest circumference for this race is only 17 inches with 14 to 15 1/2 inches usual.
REMARKS: The Marco Polo is one of the finest wild sheep and is one of the world's very top hunting trophies. It lives at high altitudes that not all hunters can cope with; some have been stricken with pulmonary edema and have required evacuation. One should not attempt this hunt without a good level of cardiovascular fitness and a recent medical examination.
((Ovis ammon matisoni) – (Ovis ammon polii x Ovis ammon hodgsoni))
LOCATION: An extensive range along the Wakhan Corridor through the southern Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan along the northern shore of Lake Victoria on the Afghanistan border and eastward into China’s western Tibetan Plateau.
A large argali weighing up to 300 pounds. The horn bases are more massive than a Marco Polo argali and form a tighter spiral with little or no flare, and usually less than full curl. The tips are typically broken or heavily broomed. The upper parts of the coat are grayish-brown, with the throat, chest, rump, under parts and inside of legs white. There is a dark streak down the front of the legs. The head is mostly white, with some brown markings on the face. The rams have a ruff of long white hairs on neck and throat, and a darker crest on the back of the neck.
Here at GSCO we are not in the habit of naming new species, or adding new species to the Ovis World Slam list without a tremendous amount of research going into it. After gathering evidence, we have decided to add the Matison argali (Ovis ammon matisoni) (Ovis ammon polii x Ovis ammon hodgsoni) to the list. The Tibetan Plateau and the Pamir Mountains geographical areas meet at the exact location where this argali occurs. There is a natural corridor where the Tibetan argali from the east and the Marco Polo argali from the west meet during the rut and have produced a naturally occurring hybrid argali.
(Capra caucasica caucasica)
LOCATION: The mid-Caucasian tur is considered to be found east of Mt. El’brus and west of the Republic of North Osetiya, solely within the Republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, Russia.
DESCRIPTION: Intermediate between the west Caucasian and east Caucasian turs. Compared to the true west Caucasian tur the mid-Caucasian tur is described as slightly taller, standing 38-43 inches at the shoulder. The black horns are somewhat smoother, with smaller cross ridges, and the tips may be closer together. The beard is shorter, being only of moderate length. Summer coat is reddish-gray, with forehead and chest darker and browner; front of legs darker, becoming black near the hoofs; belly and inner thighs a dirty white. A darker dorsal stripe may or may not be present.
REMARKS: This animal is a true naturally-occurring cross between the Dagestan (Eastern) and Kuban (Western) tur. The horns of some animals tend to look almost exactly like either the Eastern or Western tur, while most exhibit horn characteristics of both
(Ovis gmelini musimon)
LOCATION: The Mediterranean island of Corsica and Sardinia were where the European mouflon originated. Now has been introduced and spread throughout central and southern Europe. Outside Europe, they have been introduced in the wild within the conterminous U.S. Also on the islands of Lanai and Hawaii.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height 26-30 inches. Weight 70-100 pounds. One of the world's smallest wild sheep, resembling a slim domestic sheep except that it has a normal coat of hair, any wool being concealed beneath. Upper parts are reddish-brown with a pale (almost white) saddle patch in the winter coat. Under parts, rump, lower legs and muzzle are white. There is dark neck ruff but no bib. The horns usually grow in a tight circle, with the tips turned inward toward the face and broomed back to about a three-quarter curl. In a purebred European mouflon, the tip-to-tip spread should not be the widest spread.
REMARKS: The purebred mouflon, especially an old male with large horns, is a fine game animal that is difficult to hunt. It is the only sheep that is mainly nocturnal and lives in thick cover. The premier hunting period is during the October-November rut. Good heads can be found throughout Europe but traditionally the best trophies have come from the Czech Republic, with Spain also producing some very good heads. There may be no such thing as a totally "pure" mouflon, because mouflons will cross with any other species of sheep (including domestic sheep) under certain conditions.
NORTH CHINA ARGALI
(Ovis ammon jubata)
LOCATION: Yabrai Shan, Lang Shan and Daqin Shan mountains of Inner Mongolia, and the Helan Shan Mountains on the border of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia.
DESCRIPTION: A large argali, with dark fawn-gray upperparts that contrast rather sharply with the light belly. The rump patch is large and light-colored, with distinct borders, and does not surround the tail. There is a well-developed mane on the neck and shoulders and a relatively short, light-gray neck ruff that blends into the dark shoulder hair. Compared with the Tibetan argali, its neck ruff is much shorter, darker and more limited in extent, and its horns are more massive, with more massive cores.
REMARKS: The North China argali is listed as endangered by the Chinese government. The principal threat to their existence was said to be poaching by locals. This species is very rare and has only been known to have been legally hunted and taken by three individuals – Paul Asper (PA), Hector Cuellar (MX), and Hubert Thummler (MX).
OKHOTSK SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivicola alleni)
LOCATION: Suitable mountain habitat East of the Lena River, including the Yablonovy, Stanovoi and DzugDzhur Mountains, West of Magadan and South of 62º N. The majority of this subspecies are found in the Khabarovsk Region of Siberia. However, within the Magadan Region, the boundary is the southern route of the Trans-Siberian Highway, from the city of Magadan until it crosses the border of Yakutia. The boundary then goes south and follows the border of Yakutia. The area for the Okhotsk snow sheep in Magadan is relatively small.
DESCRIPTION: Weight 180-230 pounds. There is a good deal of geographic variation in coloration and pattern, but essentially the summer coat is a light yellowish-gray that turns a grizzled grayish-brown in winter. Front of neck, shoulders and legs, dorsal stripe and tail are brown. Rump patch, belly and back of legs are whitish. Face, crown and back of neck are white, and a distinctive brown band crosses the face between eyes and nose. Soviet biologists report that typical horns measure 35 x 13 inches.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic regions.
REMARKS: This race of snow sheep has the largest white area on the forehead of all snow sheep, as well as the largest body size - identical to Kamchatka snow sheep.
(Ovis vignei punjabiensis)
LOCATION: Pakistan; in the Salt and Kala Chitta ranges between the Indus and Jhelum Rivers.
DESCRIPTION: A handsome sheep, with a redder coat than other urials. Males have a white bib and a long black neck ruff in the winter coat. Most Punjab urials have a narrow, two-colored saddle patch (black in front, white behind), but in some individuals it may be all white or absent entirely. The rump patch, belly and lower legs are white and there is a dark, narrow stripe between belly and upper body. The horns are cervical, curving tightly in some animals and less so in others.
REMARKS: Limited permits began in 2004 to be issued once again by the Pakistan government after several years of no permits issued.
PUTORANA SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivicola borealis)
LOCATION: An isolated, far-western population in the Putorana (Norilsk and Syverma) Mountains between the Piasina and Khatanga rivers near the base of the Taimyr Peninsula in north-central Siberia. They are about 600 miles from any other snow sheep.
DESCRIPTION: The Putorana subspecies is not well-known. We have seen no body measurements or weights, but the animal appears to be similar in size to other snow sheep. The winter coat is a uniform dark grayish-brown color, with a white belly and large white rump patch. Legs are dark like the body. Inside of the ears is white. There are whitish areas on the face and crown, but these vary with the individual from a little white to all white. The horns are similar to those of other snow sheep.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic regions.
REMARKS: There are only five entries for the Putorana snow sheep in the SCI Record Book; three of which were taken on an unchartered expedition in August1995, one in August 1996 and the last in July 2000. The city of Norilsk was closed in November 2001 to all non-Russians, except for Belarusians. Nickel ore is smelted on site at Norilsk. The smelting is directly responsible for severe pollution, generally acid rain and smog. By some estimates, 1% of global emissions of sulfur dioxide come from there. Norilsk is recognized by the Russian Government as the most polluted city in the entire country. Mining and smelting ore are the major industries and Norilsk is the center of a region where nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium and coal are mined.
(Ovis gmelini gmelini x Ovis vignei arkal)
LOCATION: North-central Iran; at present the borders are recognized as the central Alborz (or Elburz) Mountains, near Tehran. The reserves northwest of the city of Qazvin and west of Qom are considered to have Armenian mouflons. The southern border of the red sheep is the reserves north of the city of Kashan and west of the cities of Semnan and Sari. A small free-ranging herd is presently found in West Texas on the Clayton Williams Ranch outfitted by Rowdy McBride Hunting Services.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height 20-32 inches. Weight averages 110 pounds, sometimes as much as 150 pounds. The red sheep is believed to be a hybrid between the Armenian mouflon and the Transcaspian urial. As a hybrid, its characteristics will vary. Saddle patch and bib may be present or not, and neck ruff and horn configuration are variable. In the western part of its range, where it blends with the pure Armenian mouflon, the horns are predominantly supracervical, curving above and behind the neck, and there is usually a saddle patch but no bib. In the east, where it blends with the Transcaspian urial, the horns tend to be homonymous and there usually is a white bib but no saddle patch. In central parts of its range both homonymous and supracervical horns can be seen, as well as intermediate types. General color is light brown or tan, with individuals varying from very light grayish-brown to light reddish-brown. (The “red” in its common name is misleading, because other types of sheep may actually have redder coats.) Under parts are white.
REMARKS: In the last two decades, hunting in Iran for this species has been sporadic, depending on the political climate of Iran. Most of the hunting for the red sheep occurs on the Clayton Williams Ranch in West Texas. These red sheep are accepted toward the Ovis World Slam.
(Ovis ammon sairensis)
LOCATION: Found in the Tarbagatay Mountains of extreme eastern Kazakhstan and northern Xinjiang, ranging eastward through the Sair Mountains. Well separated from the Karaganda argali to the west.
DESCRIPTION: Horn lengths to 50-1/2 inches and bases to 15 1/2 inches have been recorded. Considerably smaller than the Tibetan argali, but with heavy horns and a relatively higher "brow," which might indicate a closer relationship to the Altai, Gobi and Tibetan argalis than to those farther west and south. It is described as uniformly reddish-fawn in summer, except for the white muzzle, with no rump patch and under parts darker. The winter coat has a white neck ruff, which may encircle the head, white under parts and rump, and white areas on the face.
(Ovis ammon severtzovi)
LOCATION: Uzbekistan, in the Nura Tau range in the southern part of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, northwest of Samarkand.
DESCRIPTION: The smallest argali. Shoulder height 34-38 inches. The winter coat is dark brown above, slightly paler on the neck, and grayish-brown on flanks and tail. The head is darker than the neck. Rump patch, belly and muzzle are white. Lower legs are dirty white except for dark, reddish-brown stripes on the fronts. The white neck ruff is short (one inch) and tinged with gray. No saddle patch or bib present.
REMARKS: Morphologically, this sheep is intermediate between the urials and argalis, as it exhibits characteristics of both. In 1996 scientists determined, while working from blood and tissue samples obtained from GSCO member Donald Cox, that the Severtzov sheep is indeed an argali, with 56 chromosomes.
(Ovis gmelini ssp)
LOCATION: The boundary for this sheep is somewhat controversial. GSCO and the SCI Record book accept that the Shiraz mouflon is found in the reserves near the city of Shiraz, and south and east to the cities of Jahrom and Darab. There are several protected areas near Shiraz, and within the boundaries set for the Shiraz mouflon. This is an area of the Zagros Mountains that extends from 30 miles northwest of the city of Shiraz in a southeasterly direction to the town of Haji-Abad, a little over 200 miles from Shiraz.
DESCRIPTION: The Shiraz mouflon has a much larger body size than the Laristan mouflon. The horns should curve downward and start the curl back up, because of the Laristan mouflon influence from the south. Yet, there should be a more pronounced white saddle patch and typical mouflon look to them. Maybe there will be an occasional ram with more of an Esfahan/Armenian horn configuration look, but should not be at all common.
REMARKS: There is a rather dramatic difference between the Esfahan mouflon and the Shiraz mouflon. By the same token, there is a rather dramatic difference between the Laristan mouflon and the Shiraz mouflon. Generally the horns of the Esfahan mouflon more resemble the horn configuration of the Armenian mouflon found to its north. The horns of the Shiraz mouflon more resemble the horn configuration of the Laristan mouflon found to its south. Over time, the Shiraz and Esfahan mouflons’ seem to have developed their own distinct characteristics and warrant separate trophy classifications. Currently, the Shiraz mouflon has eight entries in the SCI Record Book, but in the GSCO archives there are nine more recorded.
TIAN SHAN ARGALI
(Ovis ammon karelini)
LOCATION: This argali is found along the westernmost part of the Tian Shan Mountains of China. These mountains extend into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. There seems to be no discrepancy in Kazakhstan, but in Kyrgyzstan the boundary for the Tian Shan argali is considered to be north of the Naryn River.
DESCRIPTION: The Tian Shan argali is said to be similar to the Marco Polo, but its horns have a tighter curl and are generally thicker. The winter coat was described by Severtzov as having 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. Neck mane is white, shaded with grayish-brown.
(Ovis ammon hodgsoni)
LOCATION: A very extensive range, covering Ladakh (northern India), northern Nepal, most of Tibet (China).
DESCRIPTION: Weighs 200-220 pounds, sometimes more. A large argali. The horns are less massive than in an Altay or Gobi argali. They form a tighter spiral with little or no flare, and are usually less than a full curl. The tips are usually broken or broomed. In winter, the upper parts are grayish-brown, with the throat, chest, rump, under parts and inside of legs white. There is a dark streak down the front of the legs. The head is brown with a white muzzle. The rams have a ruff of long white hairs on neck and throat, and a dark crest on the back of the neck.
REMARKS: This argali ranges over a huge area. It is a fact that far more of these sheep exist in China than in India or Nepal.
(Ovis vignei arkal)
LOCATION: Kazakhstan: The Ustyurt Plateau between the Caspian and Aral seas. Uzbekistan: Western. Turkmenistan: Kopet Dag Mountains in the southern areas along the border with Iran. Iran: From the Kopet Dag Range through the Khorasan Province in the northeast. Afghanistan: In the extreme northwest, bordering Iran and Turkmenistan. Boundaries to the east with the Afghan urial are undetermined.
DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height up to 39 inches. Weight up to 200 pounds. A large, bright-colored, very handsome urial. Adult rams have a white bib and a long, white neck ruff; immature males have a smaller, dark neck ruff. Upper parts are uniformly tawny-brown. Rump patch, muzzle, belly and lower legs are white, and there is a darker stripe separating belly and upper body. No saddle patch, but some males have a dark shoulder spot in winter coat. The horns are rather long and homonymous, growing in a tight circle or forming an open spiral.
REMARKS: Considered by some to be the most beautiful of the world’s wild sheep. The reason for this is undoubtedly the long flowing neck bib and ruff. The TCU has also been called the “grandfather” of all sheep. Some believe this particular species is the one from which all others descended. Seeing how its distribution is near what is commonly called the “cradle of civilization”, we will not argue this point.
YAKUTIA SNOW SHEEP
(Ovis nivicola lydekkeri)
LOCATION: From the Lena River eastward North of 62º N, including the Verhoyansk, Cherskiy, Momskiy, Kolyma and other ranges, west of the Penzhina River. The majority of this subspecies are found in the Yakutia Region of Siberia. All the sheep located in the Yakutia Region are considered to be Yakutia snow sheep. Within the Magadan Region, the eastern boundary is the Kolyma River until it intersects with the southern route of the Trans-Siberian Highway. The boundary then runs westerly until the trans-Siberian Highway intersects with the border of Yakutia.
DESCRIPTION: The summer coat is a light yellowish-gray that turns a grizzled grayish-brown in winter. Front of neck, shoulders and legs, dorsal stripe and tail are brown. Rump patch, belly and back of legs are whitish. Face, crown and back of neck are white, and a distinctive brown band crosses the face between eyes and nose. Although slightly smaller through most of its range, this sheep has less white on the forehead that the Okhotsk race. This snow sheep is the most widely distributed.
HABITAT: Steep, rugged terrain with nearby grassy pastures, in alpine and arctic regions.
REMARKS: These sheep are a noticeably lighter color, much like Fannin sheep in North America, and have a thick, soft, wooly hair, strikingly different than the hair of other snow sheep.