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Thread: Chugach Sheep Study

  1. #1

    Default Chugach Sheep Study

    Looking forward to the results - "Lohuisí research will answer questions debated for decades with little data to support either side."

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...-radio-collars

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Briefly....
    Glad to hear that AK D of F&G biologist Tom Lohuis will be making this effort. This study of sheep in Chugach State Park, GMU 14C, will be interesting when compared with the current sheep study area in GMU 13 west of Tazlina Lake. Seems like everybody, everywhere has been viewing fewer and fewer sheep, both rams and ewes and big sheep and baby sheep. Even if personal-hunters and professional-hunters and wildlife viewers are finding enough rams to view and/or whack, everybody is always lamenting the loss of the stronger sheep populations of the past....

    Somebody can correct me if I'm innaccurate, but I believe the last real professional effort of sheep population observations in Chugach State Park was some 20 or 25 years ago back when Dave Harkness was the Anchorage Area biologist. Sheep hunters miss Dave Harkness. He was a biologist that really cared about sheep populations and a tough ram hunter in his day......

    I'm hoping that Rick Sinnott, a more recent former Anchorage area biologist and apparently doing a little bit of writing, and the Alaska Dispatch can keep us informed concerning these sheep studies.
    I don't think the department ever provided much money for Sinnott to study the sheep in the park. So it's good to hear that somebody, Lohuis, now can.

    AlaskaTrue/Dennis

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    I think it a well written article. I don't know if 2 years will point to a definitive cause, but will point out some areas that may be causing the trend. If they are looking for cause of mortality, you have to fly everyday to listen for the collar to give off the mortality signal( mercury switch sets it off after 5 or so hours). Then you have to go land and investigate the scene. It mentions not much funding for sheep studies but what does the helicopter time cost? They don't give that away? MUCHO $$ Quality mortality data depends on timely arrival at the scene, before a scavenger drags it off and you cant attribute it to the actual causal factor.

    It will be interesting if he points out wolverine mortality. Another ANC ADFG bio says they aren't present in the Chugach!

    Also curious if you could ever quantify airplane traffic, super cubs and what not buzzing around looking for rams/sheep have any affect?

    Will be good data to look at when he is done.

    The first comment at the end of the article is typical of the uneducated eco-nuts.

  5. #5
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    Wondering where that bio gets his info. There's been a big dust-up in the last couple of years about still allowing trapping of wolverines in the park, since the population is small but definitely present. I saw my first one in the Ship Creek drainage last summer, after only 28 years of searching! Hope it doesn't take another 28 years to see another one.

  6. #6
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    Finally,at least this is a step in the right direction.Hopefully the two years will at the very least give them a basic idea of what is going on and/or show that there is a need for a closer look...

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear they are finally putting some money into the sheep. I am really interested to hear how the predators are affecting the population. I have a feeling weather is going to be the biggest factor for sheep mortality.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs

  8. #8

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    I expect the weather (winter) to be the # 1 factor, too - as most observations and past studies have indicated (correct me if I am mistaken). It is the order of threats after that intriguing me. Can't help wondering about the air traffic, as well.

  9. #9

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    No mention of coyotes yet but I imagine you will see them after results of the lamb data comes from 14C.

  10. #10

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    Predators will have definitely taken more then three of his study group by the time the 14c case is up but I suspect like in 13d there wont be a smoking gun. It would be nice if CSP and the general public were a little more open to predator hunting even if only temporary or every other year. Doesnt take much time hanging out around local sheep to see coyote/wolverine/lynx.

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Knowing that there has been livestock run right up to the base and occasionally right up the side of the mountains in the Chugach I will voice my fear that disease will be a significant factor... I sure hope I am wrong on this one!

    Personally I have been following along with Tom's work the last few years and I am grateful for his contributions!! I too agree that he is destined to be referenced right up there with Geist and Heimer in the annals of ovis! In truth some of the new technology he is using will give us information that his predecessors could only dream of!

  12. #12
    Member whitewolf2025's Avatar
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    I had the opportunity to help this guy with lamb captures. Too bad I will be busy...Good to know what he's working on though, pretty cool.

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