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Thread: Brooks Range - Winter Kill?

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    Default Brooks Range - Winter Kill?

    I have been considering making a lifelong dream come true and am about to pull the trigger on booking a sheep hunt. I am considering booking with Deltana Outfitters in the Brooks Range. However, I have heard from several folks that this past winter was very hard on the sheep population up there leading to a large winter kill. The result was a less than stellar sheep season. Does anyone have any thoughts on if this is indeed true? If so, how long does it take the population to recover from a harsh winter? Will this impact my hunt that will mostly likely be in 2015? Should I be looking into a different hunting area?

    I am not expecting an easy hunt and am more interested in the adventure than anything, but would obviously want to go to a hunt area that has a healthy population of legal rams.

    Also, any tips on guides/outfitters is always welcome.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Icing killed a lot of sheep state wide and not just in the Brooks and we have already had one severe icing event and have another on the way this weekend. It is ice that really takes a toll on sheep, add to this the late spring we had last year during the lambing season. There is still rams to be had, just not as many as before the bad year. With that said, I don't see sheep hunting getting any better than it is right now due to changing weather and increased hunting pressure. I say go, the hunt is worth the cost Ram or no.

    Good Luck

    Winter kill from last year.



    Steve
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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    One of my favorite quotes from a well know member of this forum is "sometimes Alaska happens".

    Well, Alaska happens each year. Sure some winters are harder than others, but that's been the case for long before any humans were hunting the critters.

    My other favorite quotes/themes is "get it while you can". Hunt now and hunt hard, tomorrow is a promise to nobody and who knows what the tide may bring in.

    Enough quotes for you?
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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    "You can't kill or catch anything staying at home on the couch" ~ Muskegman

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    Ask for Billy Molls or Sean Donovan when you go with Deltana.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    I would talk with Dave Morris of arctic rivers guide service. Small outfitt. He won't be trying to put down 7-10 sheep a week. I knew a guide for deltana....
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    There is way too much hunting pressure in the Brooks Range...every two-bit-low-life-greedy guide has some operation going up there. Than you have the transporters and air taxis feeding on the remains. There used to be a handful of guides that had their stable areas. They knew how many sheep they could take every year and there was not much pressure from the resident hunters. That has all changed since the 80s. It has basically been a free for all up there. AK F&G is brain dead about the situation up there and for most areas for that matter. Just keep those fees rolling into F&G and they will look the other way. If I was you I would book a hunt in Northern Canada for Dall or Stone sheep... Alaska is rapidly becoming a has-been place to hunt sheep...

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Winter kill from last year.



    Steve
    That's a serious looking ram that would have looked way better strapped to ur pack after you had just put a bullet through it. Mother Nature is a by itch. Thanks for sharing the pic Steve.

    Quail-Dog, book a hunt. As others have pointed out, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    That's a serious looking ram that would have looked way better strapped to ur pack after you had just put a bullet through it. Mother Nature is a by itch. Thanks for sharing the pic Steve.

    Quail-Dog, book a hunt. As others have pointed out, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
    Yep and he was a 6 YO, by the growth I think he died in Feb or Mar.
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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    There is way too much hunting pressure in the Brooks Range...every two-bit-low-life-greedy guide has some operation going up there. Than you have the transporters and air taxis feeding on the remains. There used to be a handful of guides that had their stable areas. They knew how many sheep they could take every year and there was not much pressure from the resident hunters. That has all changed since the 80s. It has basically been a free for all up there. AK F&G is brain dead about the situation up there and for most areas for that matter. Just keep those fees rolling into F&G and they will look the other way. If I was you I would book a hunt in Northern Canada for Dall or Stone sheep... Alaska is rapidly becoming a has-been place to hunt sheep...
    Within ANWR, which is most the huntable area in the Brooks, guides have their own concessions and are restricted to the number of sheep permits allowed to them by the USFS.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Quail Dog,
    I would consider a smaller outfit like brwnbr says, however I would talk with them, and see what area in the Brooks Range they are hunting. Then I would look at their harvests of what they got in the past few years to include this past season. The Area you inquired for Deltana Covers ANWAR which is federal lands and the outfitters guiding in there are concessioned and are only allocated a certain number of sheep to be taken. I know of 3 different outfits that guide there and none of them reached their quota this past season, and a some of their hunters went home empty handed ( another thing to consider if this should happen to you, on having to come back the following year). Weather is the factor here, like Stid stated late season icing and/or rains during the Winter is a killer here, and I'm sure Canada has their moments, not just Alaska. However, Last Year was a bad one, because the Northern Brooks Range during the Winter has always been known as some of the Coldest but Dry Mountain Range, and it was unfortunate that the late season snow came thru late Spring. I would look at other options, not just the Brooks. You could also try and put in for Non-res draw permits, most outfitters will help you in application process at least while you still have time before the deadline. But keep in mind these areas got hit pretty hard too by the late season. Good-luck, Hope you get to hit the sheep hills this next year.

    Aside from that, maybe F&G will re-look at the harvest allocations for the outfitters in these areas....we'll see.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by l. G. View Post
    "you can't kill or catch anything staying at home on the couch" ~ muskegman
    "hunt now cause you'll run out of health before you run out of money "

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    Thanks for all the responses. I am definitely going to book something for 2015, can't wait! Just wanted to make sure for a once in a lifetime trip that I was hunting in the right region. Based on some of the comments above, I have reached out to Dave Morris. He seems great.

    What are the pluses and minuses of going with someone like him versus a bigger operation like Deltana?

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    Like earlier stated here if going with Deltana ask for Billy Molls, he is a great guy and a hellva guide.... Wont find a person any nicer or better at the job than him... Good Luck amd enjoy the process...

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Plus to a small out fit is you'll have more area to hunt and be more important. Big out fits take up a lot of ground leaving less options for moving around. And someone there might have a tv show, be a return client or a buddy and have priority over you. A lot of the big out fits will spot rams from the air because they need to kill more sheep to keep more people happy. This is illegal but largely unenforceable.
    A lot easier to take three rams in 10 days than 7 rams in 10 days.
    Big outfits have their place as well. I've guided for some. But by far there is more drama at big outfits!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    I would talk with Dave Morris of arctic rivers guide service. Small outfitt. He won't be trying to put down 7-10 sheep a week. I knew a guide for deltana....
    Jake was in the business (and has a great reputation) so I would give his advise much consideration...
    Vance in AK.

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