I had travelled to Iran in Nov. 2011 to hunt TCU and Esfahan Mouflon. But due to lack of permits I ended up hunting the Afghan Urial and Persian Desert Ibex. I had previously planned to return in Jan.2012 to hunt Kerman and Laristan, but just prior to my trip I was told I could hunt Shiraz, Kerman, Esfahan and a TCU in Hiedary. I booked the hunts with Shikar Safari and would be hunting with Jasmine Safari’s again.
After 2 straight days of flights and a 11 hour drive, I awoke in a game reserve called “ Dehaj “. I was told it was the eastern boundary for the Shiraz and had only been open for 2 years. After 2 days of fog, rain and sleet, I finally took a decent ram. The area seemed to have a good population of sheep. After the hunt I had time to closely study exactly where we had hunted and questioned whether the sheep was a Shiraz or the far north/western boundary of the Kerman ? I was assured it was in fact a Shiraz, so we moved south east to a Kerman area called “ Bardsir “. This was supposed to be a good area, but as I found out the area games keeper and director had changed 2 months prior and new inexperienced people had taken over. The sheep were extremely spooky, and with the new games keepers cell phones constantly ringing, there talking out loud and walking around the tops of the mountains trying to stay warm, the only sheep we saw were running away from us. To make matters worse the director cancelled my hunt half way through the 5th and final day by calling the local guide who was on top of the mountain watching us as we made a stock on a single ram down below. He stopped our hunt by rolling big boulders down the mountain and scaring the ram away. We waited the next morning to see if they would give us extra time to finish the hunt for the supposed mistake, but that never happened. I later found out from Dennis Campbell that in fact my first sheep was actually a Kerman and not a Shiraz ?? ( Rex Baker also later confirmed with me that there were no open Shiraz areas in the 2011/12 season.)
I was then told we would move north to the Esfahan area, but at the last minute there were no permits ???? The plan was then to move to the north/east corner of Iran to hunt TCU in the Hiedary reserve, 2.5 days away. I had read stories about how good Hiedary was in the past and was excited about being able to hunt there, Kaan had told me that Hiedary was not as good as it once was, so it was going to be interesting to find out for myself. After hunting the south facing slopes for 3 days due to lots of snow in the area, I had to agree with Kaan ! I thought the hunting was poor due to the time of year and weather conditions, but after reading what Renee Snider and Bob Kern had wrote in the games keepers hunting log book about their Nov. 2011 hunts, this was obviously not the great reserve it once was. On the 4th day after considering that I may not be able to return to Iran for a while due to political reasons, I decided to take the ram that I did.
We were told that if I had time, we could hunt Red Sheep near Tehran after the TCU hunt. On the drive back I was then told that we couldn’t hunt Red sheep ? At noon the next day while sitting in the hotel room I got a call from Mostafa ( interpreter and main man) that he had worked all morning and had actually got me permission to hunt Red Sheep in the Royal Reserve, so in a panic we quickly got organized and drove out to the reserve that afternoon. We saw hundreds of sheep that afternoon and had a failed stock just before sunset, so we decided to go back the next morning and try again before flying home that night. After a missed shot first thing in the morning, I ended up taking a ram a few hours later and calling my Iranian hunt over.
I have to thank Erdogan Avci from Turkey to accompany and guide me on this trip, which without his Iranian experience the whole trip would have been a lot worse. I also have to thank my buddy “ Mostafa” for being a great interpreter, driver and for trying to fix as much as he could throughout the hunt. As bad as things got some days, the 3 of us managed to find the humor in it all to get through the days. Depending on the political situation this November I plan on returning for the Esfahan, Laristan and possibly the Shiraz if its open ???
By Daryll Hosker