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Thread: john river float for sheep

  1. #1
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    Default john river float for sheep

    Thinking of floating the john river for sheep. Can't find much info on it and am wondering
    How much sheep country there is once you leave the park boundary? Also are the sheep
    Accessible from the river. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Historically sheep numbers/densities in the south-central brooks range have been low. The majority of sheep are located within the park and on the north side of the central brooks range.
    http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/uni...PS_AR-84_2.pdf

    Considering hunting pressure/success as a sign of sheep numbers in the area, consider 2010. Reported stats for 24B (all south central brooks range outside of the park) are that residents went 1 for 12. Nonresidents faired better at 4 for 5 (a resonable testament to the benefit of guide scouting and knowledge). 17 total hunters is very low considered to many "good" sheep units.

    Check out pages 162-176 of the latest ADF&G Sheep Management Report. Quoting from therein: "Dall sheep are irregularly distributed within the Central Brooks Range..."
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/ho...s/08_sheep.pdf

    To sum up my thoughts, I definitely wouldn't look at that area as a sheep stronghold. I'd guess there sure could be sheep accessbile from the river, but I'd wager your chances of scoring a ram in general as pretty low, and finding one from the river even lower. There's a lot of country there still outside of the park and not a great deal of sheep. And limiting yourself to the river definitely cuts your odds.

    I wouldn't hold your breath on any folks with specific experience in that area sharing any secrets.

    That said, the John River's a beautiful river, the south brooks range are stunning, and it'd surely be an enjoyable trip.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Thanks for the information it definetly gives me something to think about. I'm swaying towards doing the float in September so I have the option of moose as well. Thanks again for the help.

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    Jerm,

    I floated the John (for moose) in early SEP of 2010. It truly was an amzing trip (my first float hunt), and a gorgeous float. However, when I went, it was a little too warm and we didn't see any moose. Sign everywhere, but no animals. I did see a griz, which I didn't get close enough to pull the trigger on, and my buddy saw a wolverine, which he also didn't get a shot on. However, in 10 days and 100 miles, we did not see a single sheep. Based on the terrain, I wouldn't recommend floating the river for sheep. The mountains are a little farther off the river, and you would definitely need to spend a lot of time getting some distance off the river. If you could fly in somewhere up there in the Range, and just hunt sheep out of a base camp, it may be a better option.

    Hope this helps.

    -Matt

  5. #5

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    The sheep hunting area of the John River available to floaters is from Hunt Fork to Crevice Creek. The area upriver of Crevice Creek to the park boundary is very small. Those who hunt the John for sheep do so in the upper reaches, in the park. Off limits to most non-native hunters. I'd find a different drainage for sheep.

  6. #6

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    I guided some float trips on the John one summer, not hunting tho, and I don't think you would have much success from a boat on that river. there are way better places if you want "a shot and a drop". I think it would be incredibly hard to be floating in a boat and take a shot almost straight up bobbing and spinning around while looking through a scope. I got a sheep once that way, but I had open sights. Also, when the sheep hits the water, you have to be right on top of it almost instantly or you will lose it. if everything works out the way you want it tho, it beats the hell out of backpacking and stalking and packing out and all that jazz.

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how valuable a sheep population count would be from the 80's. Referencing that first link.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    A couple years ago I went back down a trail I hadn't been on since the early 90's. Both trips I saw about 15 sheep on the same mountain side in nearly the exact same spot. I have no doubt that sheep numbers rise and fall but for the most part I think their distribution stays pretty consistent. I sure would hang on every word a guide had to give regarding a remote area they hunted out of even if the info was 30 years old!

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    http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/arcn/index.cfm?rq=6


    Try the link above, and put the word "sheep" in the keyword box. You should get a long list of research/monitoring products. I'll admit to not going any further in reading them, so not sure how applicable they are to the distribution/hunting questions.

    http://www.nps.gov/gaar/naturescienc...te2-3_nrss.pdf -- this is a 2010 survey report on sheep abundance in Gates of the Arctic National Preserve.

    Also, there's a brief description of NPS work to monitor sheep populations across the Brooks Range here: http://www.nps.gov/gaar/naturescienc...2010-10-15.pdf In it, you'll see an email address for the researcher who should be able to share any published results that are not yet posted to the park web site.

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