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Thread: Alaska chapter Wild Sheep Foundation - Charter Revocation

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Alaska chapter Wild Sheep Foundation - Charter Revocation

    Recently got word that the Wild Sheep Foundation national office has informed their Alaska chapter that their charter has been revocated due to non-compliance with chapter rules and regulations.

    This was a long time coming, and while unfortunate, was necessary. It is now up to the many hardcore Alaska sheep hunters and those interested in sheep conservation to pick up the ball and work to form a new and vibrant Alaska chapter that isn't hardbound to the guide industry and honestly assesses the future of sheep hunting and sheep conservation in Alaska. I would imagine F&G is eager and willing to work with such a new chapter.

    I'm ready to join or help however I can.


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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    If I can ever get moved up there, I'll join. Just a want-to-be sheep hunter; but I've got 22 years in forestry and wildlife conservation with a BS and MS in Forest Wildlife Mgmt. The history on this would be interesting if someone cares to PM.

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    Confirmation of what Bushrat is saying:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    The history on this would be interesting if someone cares to PM.
    I know but a pittance of the background... its as interesting as a soap opera, and about as screwy. But I'm only barely acquainted with a handful of the most recent years...

    Some of the pertinent info relating to the history of this is easily available online. And much of it will never be public; with the recent revocation it probably never will be - and that's probably the proper treatment of that subject imo.

    P.S. Bushrat, is "revocated" the proper bush terminology for "revoked"?

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    I'm interested. I'm a novice to sheep hunting, but I love the animals and am a supporter of other conservation groups. What are the main objectives of the Foundation, other than the obvious mission statement of promoting healthy sheep populations? What kind of things do they do? I wasn't aware of any intense population monitoring other than the regular amount the BoG does to manage the population through hunting. What else?

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Is the WSF a different org than FNAWS? Or, did FNAWS rebrand itself?
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Not to pour gas on a fire, but this sounds juicy. Anyone wanna strap on a set and fill us in a bit. If its already online, its already online. Just step up to the line and pull the trigger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    Not to pour gas on a fire, but this sounds juicy. Anyone wanna strap on a set and fill us in a bit. If its already online, its already online. Just step up to the line and pull the trigger.
    Not me. You can search the archives if you want, but I'm way more interested on who and how the replacement chapter will be formed than digging through that old muck.

    WSF will be wanting and supporting a new chapter ASAP I would think. I'd like to join if some solid leaders can be found.

    YK

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    There are more sheep killed in AK by resident hunters than there are in the entire lower 48 every year, yet we can't get together and form a chapter. We should be THE chapter that all other states look up to!

    Very sad...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    Not me. You can search the archives if you want, but I'm way more interested on who and how the replacement chapter will be formed than digging through that old muck.

    WSF will be wanting and supporting a new chapter ASAP I would think. I'd like to join if some solid leaders can be found.

    YK
    wtg, YK. This is important as a new beginning to what surely will be a fresh new (productive) effort, compared to, as you say quite appropriately, "that old muck".

    pa, if you did hear about that old muck on this site, now, you'd be helping to break this forum's rules (by a lot). Really, its best left in the past. It isn't pertinent anymore. It doesn't take stones to break this forum's rules (any "ID ten T" can, and most do); that seems a bit like a taunt.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Yes, FNAWS changed their name about five years ago:
    http://www.wildsheepfoundation.org/P...800-1220155200

    And I'm with Yellowknife, forego dishing up the past on this thread ... that's all out there if you want to find it ... best to move on to how a new AK chapter will come about.

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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting Mark.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambistew View Post
    There are more sheep killed in AK by resident hunters than there are in the entire lower 48 every year, yet we can't get together and form a chapter. We should be THE chapter that all other states look up to!

    Very sad...
    Couldn't agree more. And, I have the prefect platform to broadcast to millions of viewers the positive energy Alaskan's devote to sheep conservation. BUT, there's just enough folks here that would rather work on their drama queen status, become involved with half-cocked theft stealing programs, organizations, causes and scams that do nothing for anyone or anything other than themselves instead of working at developing and promoting ideas and projects that support and build the community and instead, would rather focus on what they can get rather than give.

    I look forward to an Alaska program that supports smart conservation of sheep. In fact, 'smart' programs that support conservation for all our big game animals.
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    My question again: what will the foundation do in this state? How will it help Alaskan sheep? I'm all for it, I just want to get an idea of what the foundation does. For instance, if someone asks my why I've been a member of DU since age 12, I say that they are the leading conservation organization for migratory birds. Their operations include population and habitat research, acquisition of important migrating lands throughout their flyways, and political outreach to make sure incentives and laws that protect ducks remain in place.

    What would be the goals of this organization in Alaska? I see from the national website that there are a lot of efforts going in in the Lower 48, but there seem to be much higher pressures on their populations, as well as previous eradication of sheep from many areas. In my (perhaps uninformed) mind, we don't have those kind of issues in AK. We have healthy, well-managed populations in their natural habitat. Correct or incorrect? I'm just trying to get a feel for the need here in AK, and I'm not trying to state that I don't think it exists. I'm say that I stand to be educated if it does. So please educate. thanks! -Gr
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    [QUOTE/]

    What would be the goals of this organization in Alaska?

    So please educate. thanks! -Gr[/QUOTE]

    Good question and I can think of a few possible answers.

    1. Funding. WSF National raises millions of dollars annually, but very very little of it is seen in AK. Mostly what does come up here is as smallish annual donations to F&G and APHA. With a functional organization, funds could be requested for sheep counts and studies that could be used to better inform management decisions. A common complaint every year is that we do don't really know what a given population is doing. Thats Something that can only be fixed with money.

    2. A local WSF could work with F&G and the BOG to evaluate the many sheep proposals that come up in each years BOG meeting. New draw hunts, any ram hunts, etc

    3. Education of sheep hunters. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there on the state of the various sheep populations, resident pressure, non-res pressure, etc. if we all had better information to work with, it could only be a good thing

    Probably some other things I missed too

    YK

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    Thanks, very good. Sounds like a good initiative. Sign me up, should it come to fruition. -Gr
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    Greg, all good and relevant questions, and Yellowknife's reply highlights the basics. Certainly any AK WSF chapter would also devote itself to national's mission. But the purpose imo of individual state chapters is to be more laser-light focused on that individual state's issues and concerns, and develop a working relationship and rapport with the various agencies and entities that influence and determine sheep management as well as allocations.



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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Agreed, Mark.

    Do we, as a sheep hunting community have a list of concerns that a reconstituted AK chapter could address?

    It seems to me that the national mission is more sheep through habitat improvement and acquistions, either outright purchase or through making deals with landowners. In the arid to semi-arid regions of the American west enhancing the availability of water is popular, relatively inexpensive and by-and-large reasonably effective. Aside from water, keeping sheep free from domestic stock diseases seems to be the next greatest challenge.

    Our mountains are green and lush and there isn't any domestic livestock roaming the hills. Here in AK our sheep tend to suffer from two things, primarily: 1) winter mortality which we are powerless to do anything about, and 2) overharvest.

    Overharvest, as has been discussed in many threads, is a political issue since it is a political body (BoG) setting allocation and harvest policy. And therein lays the rub as I see it...Since it was, I assume, internal politics that ultimately led to the AK chapter drifting from it's mission and losing it's national charter how then can any AK chapter not immediately become a largely political, lobbying organization? It seems like any new chapter will be instantly vulnerable to being drawn into the same old rut.

    I believe it could be done but it will take a carefully a crafted charter and bylaws, and a smart, strong, savvy leader. More importantly, it will require willing followership on the part of the board. All too often small orgs have weak bylaws that invite mission creep via creative interpretation but continue to function based on precedent and personal loyalty of early members to their founders. Eventually those leaders move on, taking their energy, charisma, and institutional knowledge with them. All to often these organizations then find themselves with a weak or toxic leader and board functions devolve into litter-boxs of strife and gossip as personal agendas supplant the core mission.

    I don't know whether that was the case with the AKWSF, but what I described above is a common pathology.

    I hope we can revive the AK chapter in such a way that focuses time, energy, and money on the needs of sheep, their habitat and the continued viability of sheep hunting in Alaska.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    We do have threats to our wild sheep in Alaska. Personally I would push for common sense legislation to keep certain high risk domestic animals like "pack goats" out of sheep habitat.

    We have a very widely dispersed sheep population and many areas haven't been counted in years so additional funding for aerial surveys would be worthwhile. More backing for the existing mortality studies currently being undertaken by Tom Lohuis to identify why sheep numbers in the Chugach are depressed.

    In reality there are a lot of assumptions made based on 20+ year old data in Alaska. In many ways it has been felt that FC/8 management was a safe hands off management policy that would adequately protect the resource while allowing more funds to be directed to large ungulate research (moose/caribou).

    I think it will be hard to keep the politics of sheep out of any organization. Personally I am a big proponent of maintaining resident opportunity in the realm of over the counter harvest tickets. I would like to see more data gathering and would push for any restrictions in harvest allocation to have predetermined indicators that would reduce/remove those restrictions. Currently with sheep restrictions it seems to be a one way street. I also believe that we need to be cognizant of the struggle between hunt aesthetics and opportunity. Everyone wants to have the hills to themselves in Aug but the fact is that if we keep trying to keep the other guy out we will eventually all be sitting home most years counting our preference points.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Politics and involvement in politics is an integral part of any hunting org. So it wouldn't just be hard to keep politics out; it would be impossible.

    There would need to be a whole slew of things discussed and decided before forming a new WSF Alaska chapter, but the elephant in the room as I see it centers around the growing allocation battles we will see more of in BOG proposals. An AK chapter is gonna have to come up with some kind of position that its new membership supports, and that national can go along with. It's really tricky because the monetary base of WSF, or any sheep org, is influenced so heavily by wealthier nonresident hunters and the guide industry. Take note that the revocation letter WSF sent is also cc-ed to the Alaska Professional Hunters Association.

    I suppose a new chapter could decide to only weigh in or take positions that are based on "conservation" of sheep alone ... meaning the only allocation positions they take are based on confirmed/known conservation concerns centered around resident and nonresident hunter harvests. But I don't know that is what any Alaska based membership really wants, based on where we stand right now and what will continue to come up politically at BOG meetings.

    Then again, these resident vs nonresident guided sheep hunter issues could be mostly taken care of in the near future one way or the other, leaving a chapter to focus on education and future funding for sheep research and monitoring. With funding though, there are a host of political hot-potatoes to deal with, and positions that need to be evaluated. For example, I don't personally support expanding the pool of governor's or other special tags to auction off for increased funding streams, but I do support higher license and tag fees across the board for all. What position would a WSF Ak chapter take?


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