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Thread: Sheep Hunting Thoughts 26A, 26B, 26C Resident Initiative

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    Member BIG 27's Avatar
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    Default Sheep Hunting Thoughts 26A, 26B, 26C Resident Initiative

    My thoughts:


    ADF&G EMERGENCY ORDER 05-06-14
    “All sheep seasons in Game Management Units 23 and 26(A) for all resident and nonresident hunters are closed due to severe decline in sheep numbers in the contiguous populations of the De Long Mountains and Schwatka Mountains. General season hunts by harvest ticket for residents and nonresidents with full-curl bag limits are closed by this action. Resident registration subsistence permit hunts for any sheep (RS388 and RS389) are closed on August 9, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Due to the low population status, no harvest of sheep is warranted.
    Alaska Department of Fish & Game Emergency Order 05-06-14 includes lands within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.”
    This closure in my opinion is not the area within the Brooks that’s the most affected in decline 26B, 26C would have been the better choices. This was a knee jerk reaction by the National Park Service at the last moment one day before season was opened. If there were more aerial surveys which cost money than the state would have made this decision well before the opener and before hunters went afield a poor example of managing the resource. The winter kill of two years ago not only affected 26A but also 26B, 26C.

    With many other closures for sheep hunting within the state in recent years the Brooks Range has received additional hunting pressure that it had not had in the past. In addition there are more and more transporters making a living by doing drop camps at an average drop price of $2500 and there is no limitation how many hunters may be transported so it comes down to the ethics of the pilot and some have no problem dropping hunters on top of hunters. There was a report last year of one transporter who put in 30 plus camps and dropped on top of several other camps. The guides all show up and set their tents NLT than typically 5 August and at average cost of $18k it’s lucrative to them to book as many hunts as they can in a season. A guide which doesn’t even have to be a resident of Alaska is fully qualified to come and help non residents harvest makes no sense to me. To put the icing on the cake go look at sheep harvest you will find more than 50% of the harvest are non residents. If you have money you can go down and buy a sheep tag at your local ADFG write a check and go sheep hunting as with most of the other game in Alaska if you have money you can buy your hunt. Most states that manage give less than 25% of their tags to non residents allowing for residents to be the beneficiary for the majority of the harvest.
    I have nearly 10 years hunting the Brooks Range and I will tell you my observation is that the number have been on a steady decline the last 5 years.I feel that the decline is many factors hunting pressure, subsistence hunting,predation,and rough winters all this combined with lack of management leads to a herd that is unstable. I also was told by several reliable resources that the state has not done surveys on the north side in 5 years my guess logistics and cost. We as residents need to make a voice on these important issues so our future generations can enjoy this land we call the “Last Frontier” our sheep are worth more than a $425 non resident locking tag they shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder. I would like to start a petition that would make much of the Brooks a 1 in 4 years for that matter statewide 1-4 would be a better plan. Limit Non Residents making them draw which would reduce the number of harvest yearly and provide resident hunter’s areas to hunt that guides lock up prior to the season opener.I also would like to know how many residents would be willing to increase their $48 annual hunting fishing license to increase revenue for conservation and by doing so then maybe ADFG would not rely so much Non Resident tags etc.
    Where the ones that pay the price $4-5k in heating prices to live in this land, the long winters, I would gladly pay more than $48 for my hunting and fishing license to have better outdoor experiences as many other outdoorsman I have talked too agreed.Just a few ideas I appreciate any and all feedback in this matter hoping to come up with a proposal and other possible solutions to this matter.
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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIG 27 View Post
    We as residents need to make a voice on these important issues so our future generations can enjoy this land we call the “Last Frontier” our sheep are worth more than a $425 non resident locking tag they shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder. I would like to start a petition that would make much of the Brooks a 1 in 4 years for that matter statewide 1-4 would be a better plan. Limit Non Residents making them draw which would reduce the number of harvest yearly and provide resident hunter’s areas to hunt that guides lock up prior to the season opener.
    THIS!

    Sheep - Residents - you can fill a tag every four years...just like brown bears in certain areas of the state. Until such a time as the population improves, then change it to 1 (filled tag) every other yr.

    Non Res....
    It costs over $600 to hunt whitetail deer in Iowa, if you are a non resident. (buck and doe/antlerless, license, etc)
    It costs $3180 non res New Mexico Sheep tag and $780 for the 'premier' elk tag.

    Why does it not cost AT LEAST $1000 for a non res sheep tag in the state of AK? Sheep, IMO, being fewer in number, better eating, and a highly sought trophy, SHOULD cost non res's MORE. (sorry, non res peeps, that's just how I feel)
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  3. #3

    Default Sheep Hunting Thoughts 26A, 26B, 26C Resident Initiative

    I like to hunt sheep every year. I think that the 1 in 4 idea is a horrible idea for residents. I'd rather be able to hunt every year than have a once every four years opportunity. It's not necessary yet in this great state.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    I think you have some facts wrong. First it was not the Feds that dropped the ball and issued the EO or waited to do counts, it was ADFG. Talking to one of the bios in the office when getting our sheep sealed, this was ADFG up north that dropped the ball.

    Second, guides can't go willy nilly and fill as many tags as they want. In ANWR or any federally controlled area, which is most of the Brooks range, guides are alotted a number of tags for each concession. A guide has to apply for a concession just to be allowed to hunt up there. For example, for the entire Hula Hula watershed, the one guide that's in there gets 8 tags. The watershed that we hunted this year, which is huge, the one guide that's allowed in there, gets 6 tags. These tag numbers are set by the feds.

    I agree that numbers are down big time and something should be done. The two big transporters on the north side combined with the huge increase in hunters flying up with their own planes are a big culprit in my opinion. After hunting on the north side the last three years I switched to the south side to get away from them. They were dumping people on top of people.

    I hate limiting opportunity and don't like a 1 in 4 idea. I think there needs to be some limit placed on transporters though.

    But one thing that I think would go a long way is change the regs on predators and lose the requirement to take out wolf hides. Open the season on them earlier and get up there in the winter and do some darn aerial wolf hunting.

    Residents don't give a lot in the way of funds to ADFG compared to other states, there's no reason tags should be free. No state in the nation has free tags, except Alaska.

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    So want us other hunters who don't hunt sheep to pay $48 for hunting license to raise money for conservation? Uh NO! How about they charge YOU sheep hunters for a locking tag let's say $48 bucks.

  6. #6

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    I agree, 1 sheep every 4 years is a horrible idea. It will pretty much just affect residents. It will do little to limit the abundant supply of new nonresidents that come up and harvest 40-50% of Alaska's sheep.

    If sheep are in a bad way, non-residents should be limited to a more realistic % of the take- such as no more than 10% in keeping with the standards set in the lower 48.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    I believe the OP indicated limiting sheep tags to non residents along with a 1 every 4 yr filled tag for res. primarily for the brooks range. AND I think he also indicated more predator control

    My feeling is that it is not a bad idea temporarily ...better that than emergency closures and lower and lower sheep population, don't you think?
    Would you rather have one in four years or draw only?

    I do agree with the 10% standard...I am guessing the guides would not, however.
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    "But one thing that I think would go a long way is change the regs on predators and lose the requirement to take out wolf hides. Open the season on them earlier and get up there in the winter and do some darn aerial hunting."


    Do a hack job on skinning the wolf and leave it in a plastic bag somewhere warm. After it's good and rank take it in to get it sealed. Let the biologist open him/herself as you leave the room. If many sheep hunters do this I'm sure the rule will get changed. As for areal wolf hunting. Let's call it what it is. Areal wolf shooting not hunting. The antis get all bent out of shape if we call that hunting. It's shooting. I agree though shoot some more of them.

  9. #9

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    There is NO solution.......Millions and Millions of Humans are going to keep moving to Alaska. To many humans harvesting an ever diminishing quantity of game. Sadly the only solution is a plague that harvests 30 to 40% of the 7,000,000,000 humans on earth. We are killing the Earth.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    There is NO solution.......Millions and Millions of Humans are going to keep moving to Alaska. To many humans harvesting an ever diminishing quantity of game. Sadly the only solution is a plague that harvests 30 to 40% of the 7,000,000,000 humans on earth.
    That may be the case...but since hunters can only target mature rams, then I would suspect the overall population is not affected so much by hunters...I WOULD like to know how many sheep are taken under subsistence, though. Are they allowed to take ewes? I am fairly certain folks in Tok and other rural areas near the Wrangells can take ewes or rams from the park...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    I think you have some facts wrong. First it was not the Feds that dropped the ball and issued the EO or waited to do counts, it was ADFG. Talking to one of the bios in the office when getting our sheep sealed, this was ADFG up north that dropped the ball.

    Second, guides can't go willy nilly and fill as many tags as they want. In ANWR or any federally controlled area, which is most of the Brooks range, guides are alotted a number of tags for each concession. A guide has to apply for a concession just to be allowed to hunt up there. For example, for the entire Hula Hula watershed, the one guide that's in there gets 8 tags. The watershed that we hunted this year, which is huge, the one guide that's allowed in there, gets 6 tags. These tag numbers are set by the feds.

    I agree that numbers are down big time and something should be done. The two big transporters on the north side combined with the huge increase in hunters flying up with their own planes are a big culprit in my opinion. After hunting on the north side the last three years I switched to the south side to get away from them. They were dumping people on top of people.

    I hate limiting opportunity and don't like a 1 in 4 idea. I think there needs to be some limit placed on transporters though.

    But one thing that I think would go a long way is change the regs on predators and lose the requirement to take out wolf hides. Open the season on them earlier and get up there in the winter and do some darn aerial wolf hunting.

    Residents don't give a lot in the way of funds to ADFG compared to other states, there's no reason tags should be free. No state in the nation has free tags, except Alaska.
    That is one of the most respectful educated posts I've seen on guides posted by a non guide in a very long time. Nice to see someone who has his facts straight... Rep to ya

  12. #12

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    Well.....we used to be allowed 5 caribou, 2 moose, 2 goats per year. Sheep were 3/4 legal, no limit on black bear. There were NO lottery draws. There were very few parks, and NO Native lands. 40 years ago there were well less than 1/2 as many humans in Alaska as there are now. You can expect the human population to double every 40 years.

    The faster things turn to "CHIT" elsewhere, the more humans will migrate to Alaska. As it is now and will continue to be (Relatively) the last place on earth for humans to live in a safe & health location. And as a percentage of those who come, the hunters & fishermen will continue to want equal access to cheap abundant hunting.

    Quote Originally Posted by JuliW View Post
    That may be the case...but since hunters can only target mature rams, then I would suspect the overall population is not affected so much by hunters...I WOULD like to know how many sheep are taken under subsistence, though. Are they allowed to take ewes? I am fairly certain folks in Tok and other rural areas near the Wrangells can take ewes or rams from the park...

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    the regulations placed on harvesting a ram alone keep hunters from having any substantial impact on overall populations. the winters are the obvious culprit. i am not for limiting sheep harvests to 1/4 yrs. for residents. that won't do anything to increase overall sheep numbers.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdrhunter View Post
    the regulations placed on harvesting a ram alone keep hunters from having any substantial impact on overall populations. the winters are the obvious culprit. i am not for limiting sheep harvests to 1/4 yrs. for residents. that won't do anything to increase overall sheep numbers.

    Exactly right. Although there are fewer legal rams to go around because there are more people after them, so it seems anyway. From what we saw in the field, we witnessed low numbers of ewes and I could count the number of lambs on one hand. Hunters don't affect those numbers. Without ewes and lambs you don't get more rams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdrhunter View Post
    the regulations placed on harvesting a ram alone keep hunters from having any substantial impact on overall populations. the winters are the obvious culprit. i am not for limiting sheep harvests to 1/4 yrs. for residents. that won't do anything to increase overall sheep numbers.
    Of course winters can a do have a dramatic impact

    So hunters have no impact so why is the season closed... Just curious

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    How about must harvest wolf before taking you sheep and must harvest bear or wolf before taking a moose.Res and non res alike.
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    you tell me and we will both know... i have no idea why the season was closed for resident non-subsistence hunters or non-resident guided hunters. taking a legal ram as described in the hunting regulations has little impact on populations. subsistence harvest that includes ewes/lambs IMO does have an impact. i didn't say hunters have NO impact. however, i did suggest that hunters have "little" impact on sheep populations.

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    Anyone opposed to 1 in 4 ought to consider the guys yelling for a draw cause that typically make it one tag a lifetime. And once it goes to draw it never goes back to general season. Locked up forever. This is a weather related die off and the sheep will rebound. Don't close it forever..
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  19. #19

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    It seems the trees keep getting in the way.

    Does anyone see the big picture? Your sheep populations are always a result of seasonal reproduction and gains offset by mortality. Mortality can be broadly separated into causes such as natural predation, environmental extremes, diseases and natural deaths, and hunting by man.

    When any game population reaches a critical low point, the objective is to limit further preventable losses by controllable causes of mortality. Since we can't control the weather and won't be able to control the predators, about the only thing left to control is us and our killing of the sheep. It always boils down to decreasing the mortality caused by hunting, and we lose opportunity. I know many won't agree with how the ADFG does its business, so the arguments will continue. If you've lived long enough to hunt at least 30 or so years, you likely know what the probable outcome to this current sheep situation will be: a lottery draw in specified areas. That will of course push some pressure toward other sheep populations and tend to set up a domino effect of additional limits on other sheep areas in time.

    We as hunters will never convince the general public that we should be allowed to continue sport hunting of severely depressed game populations. It flies in the face of reason, even if there is some legitimate argument for the hunting to continue. The NWT central barren ground caribou herd went on a decline several years ago, and nobody knows why. The end result was a totally closed harvest to ALL hunting, even though the take would have been minimal. I believe that herd continues to struggle and hunting remains closed. Hunting didn't cause it, but hunting was quickly stopped. It's not hard to predict the same in areas where overall populations plummet suddenly. The imperative is to stop or limit all causes of loss...even hunting...and avoid further reductions. We all know that part of it is political.

    By the way: A number of us nonresidents are pretty serious about helping Alaska maintain quality hunting. I've given money to a guy who successfully conducts aerial wolf shooting. I dump a small bucket of money there every year for the opportunity to hunt moose, caribou, black bear and wolf with my longbow. I'm not much of a threat to the ungulates or the predators in reality, BUT...I could have killed grizzlies had I not been judged as requiring professional assistance to do so. It makes no logical sense to me that an inexperienced semi-adult can locate to AK and hunt grizzlies shortly thereafter, yet those of us with a lifetime of outdoor living and bushcraft skills cannot help Alaska with it's bear problems unless we hire professional help. I'll never hunt sheep in Alaska most likely; mainly because I want the hunt to be mine and on my terms...not as a client or guest in someone else's camp. I don't prefer to walk in the footprints of someone all day.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I like the first three paragrafs I still think non-residents should be guided for Brown Bear, Sheep and goats.

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