Big Roaring Stags on Turkey Hunt
Looking for a big, free-range red stag in its native habitat? Subscriber Russell Kelly says that he has found just the hunt in Turkey with Temir and Kursat Ekenler’s WildHunting in Turkey (www.wildhuntingagency.com; +90-322-886-00-91). We have covered this outfitter quite a bit since 2015, when we received our first report on a Konya sheep hunt operated by the Ekenlers. They specialize in hunts in Turkey, offering all available game there with the option of mulitple areas for a number of species. In 2017, WildHunting began to send clients to Mongolia, having secured relationships with local operators holding a number of prime areas there.
As for Kelly’s hunt, he was the first client to try a new option for red deer hunting in the Dortdivan area in northwestern Turkey. Kelly writes, “This was a fantastic rut hunt for the mideastern red deer. It happened to be my birthday weekend, and the Lord blessed me with a fantastic guide and a great stag. WildHunting in Turkey is run very well by brothers Temir and Kursat Ekenler, and they exceeded my expectations in all regards. I would not hesitate to book with them again.
“This was my second trip to Turkey, which is very safe and offers a lot of great possibilities for hunts on unique animals. There is always something to see before or after your hunt, with a lot of interesting historical sites.”
In a follow up email, Kelly writes, “For this trip I flew Turkish Airlines from LAX to Istanbul and then to Ankara. My guide, Mete, greeted me there and cleared my rifle in minutes. Traveling to Turkey with firearms is a breeze. We loaded up his Land Cruiser and made the hour and a half drive to the Kaya Green Park Hotel in Bolu and settled in for the night.
“We left early the next morning for to Dörtdivan, where Mete and crew had done extensive scouting. On the way I looked at some of the digiscope pictures Mete had taken of several bulls, and I really liked the look of one 6×6 stag. We decided to go after him. Dörtdivan is a beautiful spot with rolling hills and a mix of heavy timber and open areas filled with meadow grass and juniper.
“My rifle was dead on after the flight, so up the trail we went. About a mile up the road the three other guides were waiting for us and had us turn around. They knew were the stag was but the wind was not in our favor, so the plan changed to an afternoon effort to get on him. We went back to the hotel and enjoyed an incredible buffet and a short nap before the drive back to Dörtdivan. Once there we left the road and drove several miles of trails that followed a beautiful stream up to a vantage point where the rest of the crew was.
“After a long discussion in Turkish, Mete came back to tell me the bull they had been watching was no longer around but they think it was possible he was pushed out. We glassed across the canyon for awhile and caught sight of another bull bedded among the trees, but we couldn’t get a clear view. Mete decided we would hike down and around the back side of the opposite canyon. It took us about an hour or so and we found a small clearing under a rocky ledge that would give us a great view and keep us from skylining. Mete used his bugle to mimic a roaring stag. After multiple calls we started to get a response. We waited and several other bulls started to roar. We saw some movement up ahead. What we did see looked good, and the bull was coming our way. He hung up at two hundred yards where the tree line ended and I got enough of him in my scope and took the shot. An incredible 10×9 stag.
“We got up the next morning, cleared the paperwork with the local game wardens and headed back to Ankara. Mete took me to one of the museums and gave me a personal tour. This could have been a longer hunt/trip, but I hopped a flight the next day and was back home from my weekend in Turkey. Short but sweet.”
Red stags in Turkey and the Caucasus Mountains generally have fewer points than those in Western Europe, although they develop more massive antlers and can reach measurements comparable to free-range stags in Central Europe, which generally produces the largest trophies.
We heard from Temir Ekenler via email. He tells us, “This area was a new area to us, however our team of two guides and one master guide pre-scouted in the hunting area for over nine days before the hunters arrival and located about 4-5 trophy stags beforehand. It is a very good quality area.”
Ekenler also gave us an update on his company’s expansion into Mongolia for argali and other species. “We have been extensively organising hunts in Mongolia, and what puts us in a leading position is the local companies that we have partnered with. They are extremely reliable and among the best in the country. My brother and I personally are in charge of the hunts and take full responsibility on behalf of every hunting organisation we work with. Our results have been excellent so far, and we look forward to another amazing season.” Wild Hunting in Turkey will be at DSC, SCI, and the Sheep Show this winter.