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Thread: BOG Chairman speaks - unlimited guiding, impacts to sheep and residents

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default BOG Chairman speaks - unlimited guiding, impacts to sheep and residents

    To all sheep hunters and those interested in sheep management. I wanted to put this out there prior to the Board of Game meeting this friday. In hopes it instigates more people to show up and support limiting nonresident sheep hunters in Region III to draw-only hunts. Please read Chairman Ted Spraker's comments below, he lays out the facts about impacts unlimited guiding is having on sheep and to resident sheep hunters. The Guide Concession Program the Board has supported is now dead, isn't going to come about, it's past time to act to limit guides and the Board can do this by going to nonresident drawing hunts.

    AK BHA's oral comments that I'll give at the meeting will use some of Ted's testimomy, and I really think the entire Board needs to hear this and above all act on our Proposal #44. If enough of us show up at the meeting it could happen, please take the time to sign up and testify. I know some hunters are driving up from Anchorage, I encourage others to do the same.

    I've transcribed Ted's testimony and any errors are mine. The bolded sections are my emphasis. The audio of the entire House Resources committee meeting last March can be found at this link below. Ted's testimony begins 1 hour, 25 min, 45 seconds in:
    http://www.360north.org/gavel-archives/?event_id=2147483647_2013031117


    Complete Testimony of Board of Game Chairman Ted Spraker
    House Resources Committee Hearing
    HB 158 – DNR Guide Concession Program
    March 11, 2013

    Mr Chairman I am here today representing the Board of Game to discuss and share some of the challenges – and you’ve heard a lot of them already today - that the Board of Game will face if some sort of guide concession program to regulate the numbers of guides and the moving around of guides throughout the state is not implemented.

    But I do want to make it very clear that I’m not here today to discuss the finer points of this project. You know, we look at the conservation and so forth, we’re not looking at the budgets or the areas or how these programs are laid out, we’re just looking at the resource.

    And we have two major concerns, in fact we have written three letters of support to DNR since I’ve been on the board supporting some sort of limit to the number of guides and their ability to move around the state. And the reason we have supported it with three different letters, there’s two reasons, one is conservation of the resource and the 2nd concern the Board of Game has – and we’ve addressed this quite a bit – is crowding. And we feel that under the current system where there is no limit to the number of guides that can operate on state and BLM-managed lands, this has resulted in some fairly heavy generally localized overharvest of game and certainly crowding.

    And I want to give you just a little bit of experience from the Board of Game. Every meeting that I’ve attended since I’ve been on the board – and I started in January of ’03 –there’s been proposals requesting some sort of reduction in harvests by nonresidents. And it first pretty much started, and in the last couple terms that I’ve been involved in it, it’s been surrounding sheep harvests. Primarily competition and overharvest and so forth of legal rams for sheep hunting. But now we have proposals and it’s spread to all big game, we’ve got proposals ahead of us now that deal with some sort of reduction in nonresident take for all big game, so that has changed.

    And the requests come in basically two forms. First, proponents of these or offerers of these proposals would like to first eliminate all nonresident hunters; that’s a common statement, or at least stagger the opening season dates. We commonly see that in proposals to give the residents a five day or seven day head start before any nonresident hunter is allowed to hunt. The second kind of level of proposals that we get are to only allow nonresident hunting by limited drawing permits. And usually there’s an allocation assessed with these proposals, and it’s usually around 10%..

    And I went through the recent supplement for drawing hunts and I looked at all the hunts and just struck them down to 10%., and that’s quite and exercise but I would encourage you if you’re interested in this to look at it. That’s huge. That would really make a difference. You’ve heard a lot about the financial benefits of nonresidents, you know the Board doesn’t really look at all the financial parts of it, we look at the conservation. But we understand those things. And this 10%, if that was approved by the Board, would be absolutely huge as far as money coming into our state that go to the Department of Fish & Game for managing our game.

    The second thing that we are really faced with is this crowding issue, and I want to give you just a couple of quick examples. We’ve talked a lot about the Palmer to Glenallen area, 13D/14A, this is south of the Glenn Highway. And as I said we had 36 to 38 guides that were operating in this area. What the Board did, because we had several proposals to address this, we convened kind of a town hall meeting. And the room was full. We had guides, we had a lot of resident hunters there that were interested in sheep hunting. We had a very good discussion. And what was interesting to be because I realize how guides have such difficulty with their financial plan and stability when you go on permits. Knowing that, what really interested me is, all but one guide – and there were probably 8 or 10 guides in the room that operated in this area – all but one guide said, we’ve had enough, competition is so fierce in this area we can’t offer a quality hunt, there’s very limited chance for success for our clients, and we just can’t compete at this level anymore. We would rather have permits, and then the quality goes up, the size of the ram goes up, we have more sheep to look at, the conservation part’s addressed, and mainly the crowding issue is addressed. We’ve seen examples of that.

    Another area the Board of Game is looking at, and I’m sure this is going to come up fairly soon, we’ve got a meeting in Fairbanks 2014 in the spring, and this is south of Fairbanks, 20A, there’s currently about 15 guides registered for this area. And from what I hear from other guides – I’m not a guide – but what I hear from other guides around the state is that the area can probably support about a third of that number and have some really quality hunting, so that’s another area we’re going to have to deal with, And here’s something else that I’m really concerned about. Is that, there’s a difference in having guides competing with guides, that’s one issue, but the way I look at it as a BOG member, and a real state’s rights sort of guy, is that this really puts a lot of competition on residents. Because guides are well equipped, they have large camps, wall tents, a string of horses, aircraft, they’re set up, I mean this is their business. For your average hunter that goes in there for a long weekend or a week or whatever, those guys, those residents have a tough time dealing and getting game in places where you have a lot of guide competition.

    Another area, and Deputy Commissioner Fleener referred to this one as well, is 19C, it’s over west of the Denali National Park, and in this area it’s primarily competition between guides. And we’ve heard this from several guides, one guide that I know personally that works in this area said that the competition is building. I think part of that may be because of what the Board did down in 14A and 13D, I think we probably pushed some of these guides over into that area. And again, when you have an area that’s fully utilized, and when you’re sheep hunting the areas of access and landings strips and so forth, regardless of how good of a super cub driver you might be, they’re limited, there’s a finite number of places you can access these sheep areas, And if the guides are operating all of those, and they’re usually there the full season, again it really impacts the number of residents that hunt in that area.

    My last example on that series is we have our next BOG meeting, starts Friday in Kenai, and before us we have 53 proposals. We have 9 proposals addressing some sort of competition, overcrowding, overharvest or whatever, and this competition between residents and nonresidents. And that ratio is not uncommon in the last four or five years I’ve been on the Board. So there’s a lot of concern.
    Mr Chairman, in summary, just a few points.

    The Big Game Commercial Services Board licenses about 15 to 20 – some years even more than that -- new registered guides each year. And in the Board’s opinion, we just don’t have enough state land to accommodate that level of growth without additional hunting restrictions. And here’s the concern of the Board again.

    These new guides probably will not be able to compete successfully with established guides in the area. But I’ll tell you who these young guides, and very ambitious guides can compete with, are residents of the state. And again, as we add more new guides, and we don’t have some sort of limit on the number of guides or how large an area they can operate in, I think it spills down to the residents and really impacts the residents and their ability to take game.


    Another concern we have of course is if this plan or some sort of plan is not implemented, the board will be obligated to address what we usually call hotspot hunts. Representative Wilson brought up this point about, why don’t you just fix some of these areas – what the Board has run into is that what the board has run into is that if we fix an area over here, what we do is we push the problem over there. And we’re pretty handy at doing that under this system because we recognize hotspot issues. We’ve done this kind of a piecemeal sort of operation and I think the BOG has pushed some of these problems to other areas, whereas if we had some sort of global approach I think it would be a lot better. Better for nonresident hunters through guides and certainly better for residents.

    Mr Chairman, my last point, or just concluding statement is, I think that by adopting some sort of system to regulate the guiding numbers, and would address this conservation and crowding, we’re going to greatly benefit not only the future and stability of the guiding industry – I think that is paramount here – but I think it’s really going to make a difference in the hunters that are residents of the state, and benefit the residents. I see a lot of – and I’ve looked at this fairly carefully – I see a lot of benefits from this sort of regulation to resident hunters in the state, especially when it comes to places that are really popular for moose hunting and popular for sheep hunting.

    Mr Chairman, with that I’ll conclude and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.

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    Thank you for sharing this!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    "if this plan or some sort of plan is not implemented, the board will be obligated to address what we usually call hotspot hunts."

    Well, actions speak louder than words...so let's just see what happens, eh?
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    Thanks for this post Mark. It is very interesting. I will be unable to show support with a physical presence as I will be at work until tomorrow AM here in Soldotna. Good luck.

    Scott

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    interesting to hear the statement about how huge it will be to the Dept of Fish & Game's budget to limit non residents to 10% of the hunt. It is about time someone highlighted the conflict of interest that exist between their income from guides/non-residents and resident hunters. When most of your income comes from the guiding side of things, the resident hunters suffer...

    Can someone post again the dates and times of the BOG meeting in Fairbanks?

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    Money over management. Bottom line.

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    We as residents need to stand up and start paying for our sheep tags. That would stop this loss of funding b.s and would give us a real leg to stand on against the current conflict at hand. I'm trying to get time off to show up.

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    I watched it last night and it was depressing.. I still dont think limiting one user group is going to fix the problem.. We cant control the guides, cant control the transporters, cant control residents... too many bandaids, too many sheep getting shot before thier prime. The average sheep is getting smaller.. Bios are letting smaller sheep sneak by.. too much for the sheep to handle..(fix that issue too) At this rate none of our kids will be hunting with a chance of success,..

    we are nerver going to see a non resident only draw.. If we cant control all these things how do we help the sheep.. Hate to say it but we can control the harvest.. State wide draw. limit non resident permits to 10 percent pool. Areas that can support more hunting have more permits thus higher success rates for the draw so most can still get hunt more then once every so many yeays years.. some areas will be easy draw some not so much so. reduces over crowding and gives the sheep a break, then areas get better and permits increase, bad weather years permits decrease.. Adfg maks the call based on real numbers not theories!

    time for residents to pony up.. Sheep is a trophy hunt...pay up.. you draw,,you pay. figure out the loss in $ from the limits on non residents and residents make it up.. including those in subsistance areas.. if a 100 non residents can pay 50000 for tags then 500 residents can pay 100 each to make up the difference(not real numbers of course)

    as it stands now a state wide drawing could be set up to help the sheep while giving the average resident a high chance at drawing on a yearly or biyearly basis(well unless you have luck like me and still control the harvest and free for all.. Wait too long and it will still be a state wide draw buy chances will be far fewer..
    my opinion of course but if something aint done soon it will be ugly...



    sorry for the sloppy writing i am holding my newborn as i type...

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Well,, at least he has a grasp of what is going on. His comments mirror what I have seen and that is a start at least. Folks please take the time to show up. I wish I could be there, but I did send in my comments.

    I too support resident sheep tag fees, we have to pay our part.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    I watched it last night and it was depressing.. I still dont think limiting one user group is going to fix the problem.. We cant control the guides, cant control the transporters, cant control residents... too many bandaids, too many sheep getting shot before thier prime. The average sheep is getting smaller.. Bios are letting smaller sheep sneak by.. too much for the sheep to handle..(fix that issue too) At this rate none of our kids will be hunting with a chance of success,..

    we are nerver going to see a non resident only draw.. If we cant control all these things how do we help the sheep.. Hate to say it but we can control the harvest.. State wide draw. limit non resident permits to 10 percent pool. Areas that can support more hunting have more permits thus higher success rates for the draw so most can still get hunt more then once every so many yeays years.. some areas will be easy draw some not so much so. reduces over crowding and gives the sheep a break, then areas get better and permits increase, bad weather years permits decrease.. Adfg maks the call based on real numbers not theories!

    time for residents to pony up.. Sheep is a trophy hunt...pay up.. you draw,,you pay. figure out the loss in $ from the limits on non residents and residents make it up.. including those in subsistance areas.. if a 100 non residents can pay 50000 for tags then 500 residents can pay 100 each to make up the difference(not real numbers of course)

    as it stands now a state wide drawing could be set up to help the sheep while giving the average resident a high chance at drawing on a yearly or biyearly basis(well unless you have luck like me and still control the harvest and free for all.. Wait too long and it will still be a state wide draw buy chances will be far fewer..
    my opinion of course but if something aint done soon it will be ugly...



    sorry for the sloppy writing i am holding my newborn as i type...

    Well said Sir...
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    Statewide draw eliminates opportunities to hunt for residents and doesn't help with hunter recruitment. Let the guides bear the brunt of it and then analyze the data.

    I'm flabbergasted that this guy is actually speaking up on behalf of resident hunters! Thought the BoG was bought and sold by the guides; amazing!! Glad to hear he's thinking of the non-monied, resident hunter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    I'm flabbergasted that this guy is actually speaking up on behalf of resident hunters! Thought the BoG was bought and sold by the guides; amazing!! Glad to hear he's thinking of the non-monied, resident hunter.
    Yep, that's the point. Far and away the actions of the board have not been influenced by residents over guides/guided hunters. It will be very interesting to see if Ted will walk his talk, or if it's just talk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    interesting to hear the statement about how huge it will be to the Dept of Fish & Game's budget to limit non residents to 10% of the hunt. It is about time someone highlighted the conflict of interest that exist between their income from guides/non-residents and resident hunters. When most of your income comes from the guiding side of things, the resident hunters suffer...

    Can someone post again the dates and times of the BOG meeting in Fairbanks?
    It seems the revenue should go in the general fund, and ADFG should be allotted a state budget like all of the other departments. Problem solved. I wonder why they are the exception.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    It seems the revenue should go in the general fund, and ADFG should be allotted a state budget like all of the other departments. Problem solved. I wonder why they are the exception.
    It sounds like it is due to the requirements of the Pittman Robertson funds.

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    Thanks for posting that Marc.

    The amount of money lost is pretty minimal when all things are considered. A few million dollars should not be the driving force in managing our wildlife. A few stats:
    • NR next of kin account for approximately 25% of all NR hunters, very few go on guided hunts [chart below assumes 15%].
    • Approximatly 3% of residents go on guided hunts...
    • NR account for about 22% of all sheep hunters, cut them back to 10% and you lose out on $125,000 in license sales, plus P&R funds.
    • The ADF&G budget for hunting is approximately $30M



    Here is a chart I put up a while back... these numbers are based on a study done about 20 years ago, and escalated for inflation.
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...61190604,d.aWM
    It takes into account those who harvested and didn't. It also takes into account the lost revenue to the state, had the state managed to keep hunters interested. Bottom line... NR aren't the only ones' packing the mail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    I watched it last night and it was depressing.. I still dont think limiting one user group is going to fix the problem.. We cant control the guides, cant control the transporters, cant control residents... too many bandaids, too many sheep getting shot before thier prime. The average sheep is getting smaller.. Bios are letting smaller sheep sneak by.. too much for the sheep to handle..(fix that issue too) At this rate none of our kids will be hunting with a chance of success,..

    we are nerver going to see a non resident only draw.. If we cant control all these things how do we help the sheep.. Hate to say it but we can control the harvest.. State wide draw. limit non resident permits to 10 percent pool. Areas that can support more hunting have more permits thus higher success rates for the draw so most can still get hunt more then once every so many yeays years.. some areas will be easy draw some not so much so. reduces over crowding and gives the sheep a break, then areas get better and permits increase, bad weather years permits decrease.. Adfg maks the call based on real numbers not theories!

    time for residents to pony up.. Sheep is a trophy hunt...pay up.. you draw,,you pay. figure out the loss in $ from the limits on non residents and residents make it up.. including those in subsistance areas.. if a 100 non residents can pay 50000 for tags then 500 residents can pay 100 each to make up the difference(not real numbers of course)

    as it stands now a state wide drawing could be set up to help the sheep while giving the average resident a high chance at drawing on a yearly or biyearly basis(well unless you have luck like me and still control the harvest and free for all.. Wait too long and it will still be a state wide draw buy chances will be far fewer..
    my opinion of course but if something aint done soon it will be ugly...



    sorry for the sloppy writing i am holding my newborn as i type...
    SOLID!

    I emphatically agree with the statement of doing this sooner than later, thus allowing a higher draw odds right off the bat. Stop the bleeding!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    my opinion of course but if something aint done soon it will be ugly...

    .
    Well said Dave, and congrats on the new little one...!!!

    As far as I'm concerned it HAS gotten ugly. Unfortunately imo, this seems to be a reoccurring theme.....Kenai Kings, too many bears, moose and sheep populations dwindling, etc... I just don't understand why these "professionals" can't see the writing on the wall and implement a plan LONG BEFORE things ever get to this point?

    Is it just me or am I the only one that seems to always say....."something should have been done a long time ago?.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Is it just me or am I the only one that seems to always say....."something should have been done a long time ago?.....
    With the BOG citing the upcoming "sheep working group" (that is nowhere near formed and functional yet) as their response to imminent concerns it looks like a fine example of "If you're always planning ahead you don't have to do anything now"
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Statewide draw eliminates opportunities to hunt for residents and doesn't help with hunter recruitment. Let the guides bear the brunt of it and then analyze the data.
    .
    so again I will ask how does limiting just one part of the equation solve the problem. ... It this really about sheep or simply a smoke screen to cut out one user group. The scenario I mentioned could easily ensure residents get to hunt sheep and have priority yet reduce some of the other problems. If done soon enough some areas of the state could easily be **** near 100percent draw while others would be way less. Folks are afraid of a draw cause most draws are low odds or getting a tag and thats not what I'm getting at here. I am simply talking about a tool much like a registration permit where numbers are controlled for each area based on available sheep. It would by default reduce a lot of issues that are out of control..Let adfg bios do what they do best and manage the resource. I of course don't have all the answers but I don't have my head in the sand and belive stopping one group will change anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    so again I will ask how does limiting just one part of the equation solve the problem. ... It this really about sheep or simply a smoke screen to cut out one user group.
    There are some areas of the state (20A as a prime example) where non-resident take approaches 50% of the overall take. Going to a 10% cap on non-residents absolutely would leave more sheep on the mountain. Yes, of course it's also allocative in nature, but it's a reasonable first step to slow the harvest of rams if that is indeed a biological concern.

    Before we go to a statewide draw, I would like to see two things. First, I think it is reasonable to start with a restriction on non-resident harvest first. Call me greedy (as has been insinuated many times about those who advocate for such), but I think that's a fair first step if a reduction is needed. More importantly, though, I would want to see some solid evidence that harvest of mature, full curl rams is in fact a management/resource concern. In reading Tom Lohuis' post here earlier today, attending his talk last year, and some other reading I've done, I'm not sure that it is. We have less sheep for sure, but I don't see that going to a statewide draw solves that problem in the slightest. If I'm wrong, though, I would certainly support it.

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