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Thread: Idea to fix our sheep hunting issues - Revision of Same-Day-Airborne

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Idea to fix our sheep hunting issues - Revision of Same-Day-Airborne

    Been talking to some people about the upcoming sheep proposals before the Board of Game at the statewide meeting in January, plus our org has one in for the interior meeting in March.

    Well it could be things have finally come to a head with the Board and they recognize something has to change, but still they are reluctant I think to hit nonresidents with all draw-only sheep hunt opportunities and limit that to something like 10-15% of opportunity.

    So what I'm hearing is possibility of revising our SDA law, similar to what has been proposed in the past by us and others, take the "mechanization" out of sheep hunting, stop the scouting and harassment going on with super cubs, etc.

    So here's the idea, and would like to hear other's thoughts: A 48-hour time frame, or a 2-mile straight line distance, before one can harvest a sheep after landing.

    24 hours is on the table too but I don't think it's enough.

    In the past the Board has shot down these type of proposals saying they are unenforceable. But hey, technically a whole lot of things are unenforceable. The reality is that 90% of people obey the law and regs, whatever they are.

    Imagine the difference across the board though if those accessing sheep country via plane had to wait 48 hours after landing before they could harvest, or had to be at least two miles from the plane before harvesting. Bye bye draw tags I think after a few years, more full curl rams out there for all, better sheep conservation, put the "fair" back in fair-chase sheep hunting and curb all the abuses going on and make sheep hunting work better for everyone, the hunters, managers, and sheep.

    Thoughts?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I agree with draw only across the board for non res. We also need to increase the non res tag fees for sheep as well. We need to offer bonus predator species tags IMHO, ie. buy a sheep tag at full price and get a wolf tag for $50.

    As for the wait time for hunting after a fly in I see that as impacting all working joe's more than anyone else. I have 9 days to hunt and I have to go back to work. I don't scout from the air, I just pick a strip and get dropped there. It would suck to lose the first 2 days of hunting especially when I already count on at least 2 days or more lost to weather. I honestly believe that the guided non res will still get their aerial intel so it would likely just hamstring the resident drop hunters.

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    At a glance.....just a snapshot......reserving my AMERICAN and ALASKAN and AOD Forum RIGHTS(!!!) to change my mind after further consideration.....

    Both as a resident sheep hunter and as an occasional sheep guide-outfitter..................I have no problem with the 48 hour consideration.
    And I do not believe that air taxi operators will have many objections either. But some guide-outfitter businesses are gonna scream loud and long.
    Concerning the 2-mile straight line distance.....make it a 5-mile straight line distance, before one can harvest a sheep after landing.

    Oh yeah, both are unenforceable most of the time.

    And I have no issue with NONRESIDENT hunters going to a random-draw-only system for sheep.
    Dude, the APHA boys are gonna have heart attacks if that is ever implemented.

    AlaskaTrueAdventure/Dennis
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Might be worthwhile to give Joe Want a shout on this issue, Mark. I was just talking with him yesterday and he's got what appears to be some solid data pertaining to harvest rates for residents and nonresidents in terms of days hunted before taking a sheep, etc. He seems to be a good researcher and for sure he has the field experience. I know he's no fan of "airplane hunting" (neither am I), so it would be interesting to see what he has to say on this one.

    I believe he said he will be presenting something on Dall sheep and on bears at the Big Game Commercial Services Board meeting in Anchorage, which is conducted in Anchorage December 6-8. I have been asked to do seminars on meat care and float hunting after those meetings as well (which are open to the general public, btw). The link shows some of the seminars, but the schedule is still being finalized, so not all of them are on there yet.

    -Mike
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    It doesn't seem like that would get at the problem of the pilot working for the guide doing the flying. To my understanding some outfitters have a pilot fly in the afternoon to pass along intel to the guide and hunter for the next morning's hunt. If the hunter weren't in the airplane, this wouldn't be prohibited, right? I'm not so sure this would really result in many more sheep on the mountain, though I could be wrong.

    I also share LuJon's concern that this will affect the resident hunter in a manner at least equal to the non-resident. Next year I have to be back at work on August 15th, so I'm getting dropped on the 7th and picked up on the 13th to budget for a weather day on each end. It is totally realistic that I won't get into the field until the 9th, though, in which case I would be prohibited from hunting until the 11th, thus turning my 3 day hunt into a 1 day hunt. I think this situation is quite common, and I'd hate to see this proposal have the unintended effect of limiting conscientious resident hunters.

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    These flying and distance restrictions seem like a bandaid rather than a cure. If you want/need less game killed, issue less tags.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goosepilot View Post
    These flying and distance restrictions seem like a bandaid rather than a cure. If you want/need less game killed, issue less tags.
    Yep, but getting the BoG to go along with that for non-residents while leaving resident opportunity as-is seems difficult to accomplish.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Rather than direct this at anyone in particular, want to toss out a question to all sheep hunters who access areas by aircraft:

    How far would you say you travel in a straight line distance before you can pull the trigger on a legal ram? And I should also add another: How long does that take you?

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Rather than direct this at anyone in particular, want to toss out a question to all sheep hunters who access areas by aircraft:

    How far would you say you travel in a straight line distance before you can pull the trigger on a legal ram? And I should also add another: How long does that take you?
    Mark,

    The first question is all over the map for the guided hunts I've done. We've had legal rams come right to the creek at base camp, less than 200 yards from the strip, and we've hiked 20-30 miles without shooting anything in a ten-day hunt. Probably the average amount of time is 4-5 days, but that's a guess. These are all fair-chase hunts (none of the sheep were spotted via aircraft). In fact, we fly up the valley to access base camp and hike upriver from there. So no airplanes even fly the drainage while transporting hunters anyway. And we don't do any preseason or pre-hunt aerial scouting either.

    On these hunts it usually takes an afternoon or perhaps half a day to get from base camp to spike camp, from which the hunting is usually done. Personally I think this is going to be a tough sell to hunters who do this hunt, because it means that they'll sit around base camp an entire day for nothing.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  10. #10

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    Thankyou so much for all your hard work. -- how can my husband and me help?
    Connie
    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Been talking to some people about the upcoming sheep proposals before the Board of Game at the statewide meeting in January, plus our org has one in for the interior meeting in March.

    Well it could be things have finally come to a head with the Board and they recognize something has to change, but still they are reluctant I think to hit nonresidents with all draw-only sheep hunt opportunities and limit that to something like 10-15% of opportunity.

    So what I'm hearing is possibility of revising our SDA law, similar to what has been proposed in the past by us and others, take the "mechanization" out of sheep hunting, stop the scouting and harassment going on with super cubs, etc.

    So here's the idea, and would like to hear other's thoughts: A 48-hour time frame, or a 2-mile straight line distance, before one can harvest a sheep after landing.

    24 hours is on the table too but I don't think it's enough.

    In the past the Board has shot down these type of proposals saying they are unenforceable. But hey, technically a whole lot of things are unenforceable. The reality is that 90% of people obey the law and regs, whatever they are.

    Imagine the difference across the board though if those accessing sheep country via plane had to wait 48 hours after landing before they could harvest, or had to be at least two miles from the plane before harvesting. Bye bye draw tags I think after a few years, more full curl rams out there for all, better sheep conservation, put the "fair" back in fair-chase sheep hunting and curb all the abuses going on and make sheep hunting work better for everyone, the hunters, managers, and sheep.

    Thoughts?

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Rather than direct this at anyone in particular, want to toss out a question to all sheep hunters who access areas by aircraft:

    How far would you say you travel in a straight line distance before you can pull the trigger on a legal ram? And I should also add another: How long does that take you?
    I'm not going to claim vast experience with sheep hunting, but in the two aircraft hunts I've done, the rams were found both further than 2 miles and more than 48 hrs away. Talking to a few guided clients as they come in out of the field (Alaska Range), I would say that "next day" sheep are fairly rare, as that day is usually used to travel too and locate/judge rams even if they were previously found from the air. I'm sure it happens, but not to the point where it is having a serious effect on the population. There just isn't THAT many cub strips out there in sheep country that the hunters can just land on top of a "scouted" ram and shoot it the next morning like they can with bear and moose in some places. Typically they need still need to travel, the primary difference is that they know where they are going and what's at the end of the hike. Since sheep usually stay in the same general area, adding an 48 hr requirement might equal one more mountain house meal before the mutton, but probably not.

    I would say your idea would have minimal to no effect on overall sheep harvest. It will irritate the heck out of residents like me on a tight time schedule, just knowing that the first 48 hrs are lost on any sheep located near the strip.

    Yk

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    .....make it a 5-mile straight line distance, before one can harvest a sheep after landing....
    Dennis, the area I have done most of my sheep guiding would not be huntable under this rule, as most of the sheep are shot within three or four miles of the strip and the border of the GUA is only three to six miles from the airstrip. I just can't see a two-mile requirement working very well in a place like that... hiking through legal rams to get from base camp to a narrow strip of legal hunting area adjoining the next guy's Guide Use Area.

    Mark, the area I'm talking about... the border of the Guide Use Area is only 6.1 miles away from the strip at the farthest point, and just over three miles at the shortest. They hunt three headwater areas off a main stem river. If a law like this passed, it would kill the sheep hunting in there. All that would be left is a narrow strip of land up at the extreme ends of the drainages, butting right up against someone else's GUA.

    On the other hand, if something like this did pass, the guide operation would likely just land two miles downriver and use ATVs to get to their present base camp location; I wouldn't want to see this either. All it does is create more scars on the land. These are not the sort of people you're after with this (I think); but they would be severely penalized anyway.

    I don't know what the answer is, when we already have ethics standards on the guiding community that forbid aerial scouting. I'd like to see those standards become law for all sheep hunters (if it's wrong for one group of hunters it's wrong for all). Perhaps if aerial spotting and scouting was illegal, instead of only an ethics violation, we might see some traction on this issue. Small steps perhaps, but steps in the right direction. That would be my recommendation; make aerial spotting illegal instead of merely a civil matter.

    Finally, it's disappointing to see some asking guided hunters to bear all of the restrictions and all of the cost, while enjoying the benefits of a game management system others are paying for. I never could understand that kind of thinking, and I guess I never will. This should not be something that pits residents against nonresidents; it's an issue that affects all sheep hunters alike, and we should all participate in the solution.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    My thought on this is to restrict access points ,just cause there is a landing strip in every valley doesn't mean we should have the right to use every one for access to start every hunt, more walking would make everyone decide how bad they want to hunt. I know at my age ,an with my knees this type of restriction would take a lot of areas away from me, but this shouldn't be about that, this should be about having sheep hunts worth going on when our grand children are grown. The same should hold for access with a wheeler or even horses, past a certain point you walk and all your gear goes with you . No resupply at the nearest point the guide or your buddy can land, everything goes from the approved access point on your back and you and your gear can only be picked up at the approved points.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post

    Finally, it's disappointing to see some asking guided hunters to bear all of the restrictions and all of the cost, while enjoying the benefits of a game management system others are paying for. I never could understand that kind of thinking, and I guess I never will. This should not be something that pits residents against nonresidents; it's an issue that affects all sheep hunters alike, and we should all participate in the solution.

    -Mike
    Mike - Understand that some (myself included) support increased resident license and tag fees. Personally speaking, I understand that residents get a ridiculously good deal on hunting big game and that it's hard to complain too much when non-residents are footing the bill. I'd like to see our department better funded and I'd like residents to have a part in that.

    As for pitting residents against non-residents, I don't think it's as simple as that. What many want (myself included) is for non-residents to have their opportunities restricted before such restrictions are imposed on residents, assuming such restrictions are needed. If they're not needed, great, let non-residents keep coming up to hunt...but if restrictions are necessary, then I'd argue it makes sense to go to a non-resident draw first and to limit the % of tags to a maximum, not a guaranteed allocation. I look at areas like Eagle River where of the three tags given out one is guaranteed to a non-resident. It's a separate drawing permit # that residents can't apply for, and during that 12 day season that one non-resident has that entire drainage to their self. I've got to say, that just leaves me shaking my head.

    I don't see anyone here asking guided hunters to bear all of the burden, but when they take a disproportionate share of the rams in given areas, it is reasonable that any change is going to affect them in proportion to their take.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    "...I don't see anyone here asking guided hunters to bear all of the burden, but when they take a disproportionate share of the rams in given areas, it is reasonable that any change is going to affect them in proportion to their take.
    Just what percentage of the available legal rams are non-residents harvesting?
    Joe

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    Glad to see you back posting Joe!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Glad to see you back posting Joe!!
    What he said!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    I would say your idea would have minimal to no effect on overall sheep harvest. It will irritate the heck out of residents like me on a tight time schedule, just knowing that the first 48 hrs are lost on any sheep located near the strip.

    Yk
    Don't think I agree with the first part of this, but I do agree with the second (that it will piss off some residents).

    Don't want to name names/GMUs, but I've seen where the sheep herds are scouted (via air) the heck out of for weeks prior to the opening on South facing slopes (where there is less vegetation, and more spot-ability) to the point where all the local guides not only know exactly how many full curls there are in the herds, but they've named them individually as well...

    And those full curls die by noon, opening day. By hunters that didn't walk there.

    After that, you'd better be hunting the thicker stuff on North facing slopes, because of all the full curls that have been taken from the South facing ones.

    Yes, I know there is some migration between North and South facing slopes; I'm speaking more generally than that.

    I echo the enforceability problem, but don't think that should stop a good new rule to be made. Full speed ahead.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Joe, I know you have hard data on both the resident / non-resident kill ratio and the average number of days both groups hunt before killing a ram. Would you be interested in dropping those pebbles into this little pond? I think it might change some thought processes a little.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Mike - Understand that some (myself included) support increased resident license and tag fees. Personally speaking, I understand that residents get a ridiculously good deal on hunting big game and that it's hard to complain too much when non-residents are footing the bill. I'd like to see our department better funded and I'd like residents to have a part in that.

    As for pitting residents against non-residents, I don't think it's as simple as that. What many want (myself included) is for non-residents to have their opportunities restricted before such restrictions are imposed on residents, assuming such restrictions are needed. If they're not needed, great, let non-residents keep coming up to hunt...but if restrictions are necessary, then I'd argue it makes sense to go to a non-resident draw first and to limit the % of tags to a maximum, not a guaranteed allocation. I look at areas like Eagle River where of the three tags given out one is guaranteed to a non-resident. It's a separate drawing permit # that residents can't apply for, and during that 12 day season that one non-resident has that entire drainage to their self. I've got to say, that just leaves me shaking my head.

    I don't see anyone here asking guided hunters to bear all of the burden, but when they take a disproportionate share of the rams in given areas, it is reasonable that any change is going to affect them in proportion to their take.
    Brian, I was referring to an earlier post where guided hunters were being asked for increased license fees and reduced opportunity, with virtually no negative consequences for residents. I agree in principle that we need to find a reasonable way to show preference to Alaska residents any time a population is at a point where general season hunting would be detrimental, but where it could support hunting on a limited basis.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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