It had been a while since our last big mountain hunt, Alaska for Jay and Northwest Territories for Chase. We were getting anxious to get elevated and considered all options. We liked the idea of traveling internationally, but Azerbaijan was not something we came up with on our own. While in Alaska in 2017, we met Mike Monin. Mike is a hunting consultant specializing in international trips for sheep and goats. We started talking about hunting snow sheep in Siberia and fell in love with the idea. But the price was prohibitive for us to both do the hunt.
Instead, Mike suggested an Azerbaijan tur hunt. He sent us photos of the Caucasus Mountains, and that’s all it took. They were massive, craggy, nasty, and beautiful. We’d be able to hunt at 13,000 feet in what was supposed to be a difficult walk-in sheep hunt. It was perfect.
Azerbaijan is a beautiful central Asian country with a rich history. We spent the first day in the country recovering from a long Turkish Air flight that took us from Flagstaff to Phoenix, Phoenix to Houston, Houston to Istanbul, and finally to Baku. Asif, our local outfitter helped us through the strict customs process and showed us around the city. The food was amazing and cheap. But we were ready to get into the mountains.
A few hour van ride north and west took us to the base of the hunting area. Horses would take us the next stretch to a low base camp and up to an intermediate base camp. We’d climb the remaining 1,500 feet each day to locate the tur. Once at the upper camp, we decided to stay at the top of the mountain with the sheep instead. We had Stone Glacier tarp tents – we’d be fine. It constantly rained for the next three days. At 13,000 feet, we were fogged in, so there was little hunting to be done.
In the end, the clouds broke, the sun came out, and we both found rams to kill.