Battling adversities in hunt for ibex
By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
July 11, 2003
(Continued from last week)
Bill Wille tried to put away his worry about his wife, Donna, who was back at a cold camp with a strange acting camp attendant. He also had come to grips with the fact that his hosts were not going to stop the snowmobiles so he could shoot one of the many suitable ibexes they had encountered on their speedy journey up the snowy valley. Instead, they promised him a record book ibex from those that lived atop the huge mountains that flanked their path in a cold, remote part of Turkey.
The party stopped at the base of a mountain and the younger man departed, leaving Bill, his guide and a snowmobile there in the freezing wilderness. The top of the mountain was shrouded in a cloud. "Now we wait," said the guide, alluding to the cloud which he wanted to dissipate before they started the climb.
Bill looked at the formidable mountain and insisted they turn back and take one of the animals they had seen on the trail. But he was at the mercy of an apparently stubborn guide.
It was nearly noon when the pair started the climb that led to Bill slipping, sliding and climbing hand over hand by rope in a journey he thought was going to end in a heart attack if he was not killed by falling off the mountain.
Hours later on top, the men found no ibex, though they could see seemingly for miles across a white desert-like expanse. The treacherous climb down and a long, chilling ride back to the bunker saw Bill resolve that he would not go back up that mountain because his body could not make it. But the next morning, Donna having assured Bill that her "servant" was under control, the guide loaded him onto the snowmobile with a promise of 40 inch ibexes and off they went for a repeat of day one.
After three days without a shot at an ibex, and Bill's abused body screaming for relief from the tortuous climbs, the guide motored a long way around to the other side of the mountain and they ascended that side, which was easier climbing. Still no luck. Bill's mental comment was, " This is getting ridiculous!" But the next day would bring action.
After their exhausting climb that found the pair again on top, the guide spotted a huge ibex in the distance and screamed for Bill to shoot. The breathless hunter looked through his rangefinder and learned that the beast was almost 400 yards away. Bill suggested they get closer, but the Turk was jumping up and down yelling for him to shoot. Bill sat down, took careful aim and fired. The ibex took off running down hill at an angle.
Screams and shouts
The guide went ballistic. Bill could understand few of his words, some of which he is sure were profane, but he heard "missed" and "idiot" clearly. Dejected, the pair started down the mountain, the guide refusing to speak to or look at his client. Suddenly they came upon the giant ibex. He was lying very dead in the deep snow.
The guide came to life, hugging Bill and shouting happy sounding phrases and jumping around in a celebrative dance. His animations exceeded those that had expressed his earlier displeasure.
Bill and Donna Wille now look at the beautiful record book ibex mount in their home in Meeker, Colorado, and remember one of the toughest hunts of their lives. Perhaps it even rivaled the one in South Africa where it took eleven shots by Bill and his professional hunter to stop a charging wounded Cape buffalo while Donna filmed the charge from a nearby knoll. The trophy value of some animals can be very high, depending on the effort expended. This Wille's ibex is one of those trophies.