Here's my take on how to solve the current sheep issue in Alaska:
1. Limit guides to 2 hunters in the field at a time
(not per assistant guide but for the Registered/Master guide with no exceptions) British Columbia has this rule with their guides and it seems to make a whole lot of sense to me. This would help eliminate overcrowding and also to ensure that non-resident sheep hunters are paired with proficient and knowledgeable guides.
2. Make Non-Residents drawing only for Sheep
Limit non-residents to drawing tags only for dall sheep with an allocation of 20% available harvest. Currently the five year average is that non-residents take ~44.5% of the sheep harvested in Alaska with OTC tags (around 270 animals for 411 hunters). Cutting this number down to 20% seems to be very reasonable considering most states only allow around 10% allocation of tags for non-residents. This would mean allowing only about 120 animals to be killed each year by non-residents. A reduction in the total amount of Non-resident hunters by about 56% or 228 hunters. Therefore this would allow about 183 Non resident Dall sheep hunters each year to hunt in current OTC Sheep Tag areas.
3. Raise Non-Resident Dall Sheep tag prices
To help offset the loss of revenue sales from the reduction in the amount of non-resident license/tags sold, it would be necessary to increase our non-resident sheep tag prices. Currently in my opinion we charge way less than we should for a non resident sheep tag. The State of Alaska only charges non-residents $510.00 ($85.00 License+ $425.00 Tag) to hunt sheep in Alaska. The State of Montana for example charges $65.00 more ($575.00) just to hunt deer in their state. The fact that we charge hunters less for a Dall sheep is simply inexcusable.
This is a breakdown on how much British Colombia charges sheep hunters and would more accurately reflect what a Dall Sheep tag should cost in Alaska.
Sheep Tag $620.00 CDN
Hunting License Non-Resident $ 75.00 CDN
non-resident Preservation Fund $150.00 CDN
Government Royalty Harvest Fee (only if successful) $250.00 CDN
Total for a successful Sheep Hunting In B.C. $1095.00 CDN
Adjusted to U.S. dollars at (.91) ~$996.00 U.S.
For a non-resident Canadian
Therefore, if we were to raise our non-resident sheep tag price to ~$800.00 it would not be unwarranted and our prices would still remain competitive with the amount others are charging for Dall Sheep tags.
4. Raise Resident Dall Sheep tag Prices
Currently Alaska charges $0.00 for a Resident Dall Sheep tag. In order to help offset the lost revenue in license sales (from reducing the amount of non-resident hunters) it would be necessary to start charging residents for Dall Sheep Tags. Since B.C. currently charges $60.00 for a resident sheep tag it seems as though this would be a sufficient price to start charging for a Dall Sheep tag here.
Now, lets look at some past harvest statistics from all the General Harvest Tag areas in Alaska. Looking at the past 5 years (2009-2013) we can see that the average hunters (rounded not including unspecified hunters) are as follows;
Total Non-Resident Hunters/year: 411
Total Resident Hunters/year: 1,543
Now to figure out the total revenue generated by non-resident sheep hunting license sales we times the $510.00 license/tag fee with the amount of non-resident sheep hunters. This gives us the following:
Thus, we find that Non-Resident sheep hunting over the last 5 years has raised an average of $209,610.00 per year.
Note: this figure is slightly under calculated since the number of non-resident alien hunters was unknown and Fish and Game charges Non-Resident Aliens more in license fees then it does for just non-residents ($550.00 for a sheep tag and $300.00 for a License).
So, if we raised the nonresident sheep tag fee to $885.00 and reduced the amount of hunters to 183. We end up with a figure of around $161,995.00
This is a reduction in license/tag sales of about $47,615.00
However, by increasing the resident Tag cost to $60.00 it would add an additional $92,580.00 in license/tag.
Therefore, if the above changes were made, the Alaska Dept. of fish and game would actually increase it's revenue by around $44,965.00.
Obviously these numbers are not exact, and there are more variables that come into play than just those mentioned above. However, what this does show is that if we raise or license rates to a reasonable amount we can reduce the amount of non-resident sheep hunters without negatively impacting the amount of revenue that ADF&G generates from sheep hunting.