Update on Available Kri-Kri Ibex Hunts in Greece and Macedonia

We have news this month that free-range kri-kri ibex hunting has reopened in Greece on the island of Sapienza after a two-year hiatus. The island was closed to hunting for 2010 and 2011 in the turmoil following the collapse of the Greek economy, but it reopened in 2012. The best news for hunters looking to add this species to their trophy rooms is that there are still six openings for foreign hunters in 2013.

This news came to us from Ken Wilson of Shunneson & Wilson Adventures (830-792-4200), who tells us that the hiatus has resulted in better trophies. Those taken in 2012 averaged 34 inches, versus the previous expectation of 30 inches. Wilson tells us that, given the interest in this free-range hunting opportunity, the six slots still open for 2013 are likely to fill quickly. The all-in price for a four-day (Wednesday-Saturday) hunt, including 2×1 guiding (non-English-speaking guide), all local transport, hotel and trophy processing for export is €10,900, about $14,500 at this writing. Wilson says the hunt can be extended a day or two if needed.

Kri-kri ibex is likely among the rarest of the Capra trophies because of the limited opportunity, and therefore is of interest to aficionados looking to complete a collection. Continuing subscribers will recall our 2009 update on the hunting opportunities for this sub-species (see Article ID 2262). The information in that story still accurately reflects the basics: weather and sea conditions can cost you hunting days, the hunting hours are restricted to about 9 am to 3 pm, only borrowed shot guns with slugs are allowed, and the island is very brushy, requiring hunters to ambush ibex on trails or from a vantage point at shorter distances than a rifle would allow. This is a hunt for experienced collectors.

The only other place where kri-kri ibex can be hunted is neighboring Macedonia, where they are available on two large fenced estates, Lakavica, which until March of this year was run by Srdja Dimitrijevic of Safari International (info@safariinternational.com), and Tikves Lake, which is booked through The Hunting Consortium (540-955-0090). Of course trophies from these estates fall into a separate category for record keeping.

In what was supposed to be a normal 10-year rollover, Lakavica was scheduled to be auctioned this past April, in plenty of time to allow the successful bidder to arrange hunts for the fall of 2012. According to Dimitrijevic that process has been held up in the office of Mr. Ljupco Dimovski, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture of Macedonia. Dimovski’s e-mail is ljupco.dimovski@mzsv.gov.mk. We’ve written to Dimovski on behalf of our subscribers asking what is happening with Lakavica, though we have yet to receive a reply. We encourage any other hunters with an interest in this area to do the same. Hunts for 2013 are still possible if the standstill ends, and, as with Sapienza, trophy quality will likely have improved with the respite. We’ll keep you posted on any movement in the situation. For a first-hand look at the hunting in Lakavica, see Doug Yajko’s 2009 report.

In the meantime, we have received a first-hand report on the new operation at Tikves Lake where subscriber Greg Johnson hunted in mid-October of 2012. This is both a fenced and unfenced property with a large section of mountainside behind the fence.

In Report 8947 Johnson says he took an excellent ibex trophy, though he does not give a score. “The hunt in Macedonia was not that physically challenging, as we were able to hunt down on the ibex,” he says. “The mountains here are rocky and covered in brush. Ibex are small (they only weigh about 60 pounds) and very wary, so they are tough to spot, tough to stalk and tough to shoot. The leaves were still on when I hunted, which made it even more challenging to see them in the brush. If I were going again, I think November would probably be better.”

In a follow-up phone call, Johnson told us, “We stayed at Popova Kula, the oldest winery in Macedonia, and everything was five star. My guides spoke flawless English. This was among the best hunts I’ve ever taken and perfect for my wife to accompany me. I’ve hunted with other outfitters in Eastern Europe, learned my lesson, and only book my hunts with Bob Kern.” At press time Kern told us there are plans to release kri-kri ibex and establish a free-range herd outside the fence, possibly as early as next year, though when it would be available for hunting is not certain. He also says a lodge is being constructed on the property that should be available for hunters in the fall of 2013.