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Thread: Aging sheep article

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    Default Aging sheep article


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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this article.

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    Member ERL's Avatar
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    Great article. I for one, would like to see the full curl requirement done away with and go to an age only requirement. I think too many genetically superior rams which are 6-7 years old and are full curl get harvested out of the herd each year. Then what is left to do the breeding are the rams with inferior genes. That can't be good for the long term health of the herd.

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    Member Steve Springer's Avatar
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    Yeah, the color coding the annual growth should make this a lot easier for folks starting out. Let they grow folks.

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    Age only requirement? your kidding right? most people cant age sheep...This would just greatly increase the sublegal take on rams tenfold...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Springer View Post
    Yeah, the color coding the annual growth should make this a lot easier for folks starting out. Let they grow folks.
    Or just check the birth certificate.

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    Member ERL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akfisher1 View Post
    Age only requirement? your kidding right? most people cant age sheep...This would just greatly increase the sublegal take on rams tenfold...
    Not kidding at all. With some education and practice most folks could become proficient at judging the age of rams. Besides, judging full-curl is already somewhat ambiguous. My experience is that many times it is easier to judge legality of a ram using age versus the full curl method. To judge full-curl on most rams you have to be at a very precise angle, which is not the case with counting rings. Also, as is often the case here in Alaska in August and Sept, when there have been recent rains the water seeps down into the rams growth rings making them darker so they stand out even more. I don’t think going to an age only requirement would increase the illegal take more than the current system does.

    I still maintain the current system will result in adverse long term effects on Alaska’s sheep population. Probably already has.

    Eric Lee

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ERL View Post
    Great article. I for one, would like to see the full curl requirement done away with and go to an age only requirement. I think too many genetically superior rams which are 6-7 years old and are full curl get harvested out of the herd each year. Then what is left to do the breeding are the rams with inferior genes. That can't be good for the long term health of the herd.

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    Genetically superior rams?

    How do you know that a fast growing (horn wise) ram is genetically superior?
    Don't fast growing rams on average die from non-human induced mortality at a younger age than "Genetically inferior" rams?
    Doesn't Ewe health and lamb condition have more to do with horn size than genetics?
    What about environmental factors (weather and food) effecting horn growth?


    My point is there are many other factors influencing the growth rate of a ram's horn other than genetics.



    I am not aware of any scientific proof that hunting has induced genetic selection within a population of wild, free ranging sheep. This concept of hunter induced "Genetic Harm" is very popular within the worldwide anti-hunting community. Be careful what brand of fertilizer you use.

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    Member ERL's Avatar
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    In general, faster growing horn size/length is a good indicator of health of rams. Can we not all agree on that? No doubt there are many other factors, which could be measured to indicate a rams health. But horn size is the easiest to quantify and therefore the easiest tool for game managers to use.

    I never want our sheep hunting opportunities limited, just would like to see a small change to ensure better long term health of the herds.

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    Most people including Wildlife Bio's can't age sheep they are holding much less 200 yard away.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ERL View Post

    I still maintain the current system will result in adverse long term effects on Alaska’s sheep population. Probably already has.

    Eric Lee
    We should probably get rid of the 50" limit on moose for the same reason....

    sent from my igloo

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    Member ERL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    We should probably get rid of the 50" limit on moose for the same reason....

    sent from my igloo
    No, because with the 50" requirement you also have to spike/fork allowance which allows smaller (generally less-healthy) bulls to be equally harvested. Thus allowing the bulls with faster growing antlers (more healthy) to live into the coming years to possibly pass on thier genes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ERL View Post
    No, because with the 50" requirement you also have to spike/fork allowance which allows smaller (generally less-healthy) bulls to be equally harvested.
    Not last year down here on the Kenai......it was 50"/4 or nothing at all.........
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Not last year down here on the Kenai......it was 50"/4 or nothing at all.........
    X2.

    Sheep can breed before they reach full curl, so the genetics are passed on anyways

    sent from my igloo

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    Great article bigsky. Best presentation I have seen on identifying a mature rams and trophies. I like the two hogs at the beginning of the article. I mean they are "just" finally reaching full curl but talk about genetics they are amazing.
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sollybug View Post
    Great article bigsky. Best presentation I have seen on identifying a mature rams and trophies. I like the two hogs at the beginning of the article. I mean they are "just" finally reaching full curl but talk about genetics they are amazing.
    Yes, the tutorial is worth spending some time on, several times....

    I don't mean to infer the comments stating great genetics are obtuse, but they are at least very presumptuous. Can a person tell the genetic make up through a visual observation?

    Big horns do NOT mean great genetics. Two rams with identical genetics born under different conditions (ewe health and lamb weight) and then living in different climes will have different rates of horn growth effecting length, mass and tighness of curl.

    The reason I am expressing a concern regarding people stating hunter induced genetic selection, or quality of genics from size of horns is that several jurisdiction in North America are at risk of losing Sheep hunting opportunity due to acceptance by some wildlife managers of these flawed concepts.

    In Alberta, we (Several local hunting groups) have just won a multi year long battle with certain government anti-Trophy hunting biologists who were calling for severe hunting restrictions of Bighorn Sheep based on the premise of hunter induced "genetic selection". Those involved with FNAWS may know what I am talking about, read up on Coltman, Festa-Bianchet, Jorgenson, Hengeveld, Hogg.... The fight is not over, but we (hunters) have won this battle to manage our wildlife through proven science.

    As a word of warning, there are wildlife managers throughout the world trying to shut down hunting one species at a time based on junk science that states Hunting eliminates "Amazing" genetics. This approach will be coming to Alaska soon....

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