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Thread: Quiet in the Sheep Mtn skies this year?

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    Default Quiet in the Sheep Mtn skies this year?

    Did anyone else notice a quietness in the Sheep Mtn skies this year after the 10th?

    My partner and I definitely noticed a lack of small airplane traffic/noise and sightings compared to any other sheep hunts we've been on. And not just on bad weather days. I'd never really thought of it much in the past but this year not hearing the buzz/drone of planes was kind of nice.

    Is it possible that the new law had anything to do with it? Knowing the area we were in and going on past experience, my initial impression is yes.

    It makes me think there was quite a bit of flying/spotting going on in the past. But of course this is just our impression, I'm curious to know of others experience this year.
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    Member Bambistew's Avatar
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    We thought the exact same thing... but weather was a factor for most of the time we were in the hills.

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    lol i sure noticed it!
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    We were in the Brooks Range on a walk in hunt. Saw 2 groups that had been flown in by supercub. Heard what was probably another camp, we saw a beaver on floats that was flying low enough that it was probably going to that one. In the week that we were there (camps were in there on or about the 7th and we got in on the 8th), we saw and heard at least 12 different flights coming and going. I was pretty shocked to see fly in camps that close to the highway, seems kinda crazy to pay that kind of money to save so little walking distance. Of all the sheep hunts I have been on, this was the busiest as far as air traffic in the area. When I hunted the Wrangells, TMA, and DCUA, I don't recall any planes at all except those that I flew in and out on (TMA and DCUA).

    My guess is the new law is going to put even more pressure on the opening day rams since people can still fly those areas in the days and weeks leading up to the 10th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    I was pretty shocked to see fly in camps that close to the highway, seems kinda crazy to pay that kind of money to save so little walking distance. .
    Lots o' guys aren't in that good of shape and still want to kill a ram. Does seem pretty ridiculous but some guys have money to burn in place of good stamina.......lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    My guess is the new law is going to put even more pressure on the opening day rams since people can still fly those areas in the days and weeks leading up to the 10th.
    One of the big issues is opening day pressure. Always has been. By creating this new no flying law, they've ramped up the pressure even more and more people are cramming themselves in the mountains on the opener.

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    I would like to see it happen for moose too. Constantly get buzzed moose hunting and it drives me nuts. A fly by is one thing. Circling my meadow I am in over and over drives me batty

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    Quote Originally Posted by 375ultramag View Post
    I would like to see it happen for moose too. Constantly get buzzed moose hunting and it drives me nuts. A fly by is one thing. Circling my meadow I am in over and over drives me batty
    We should just ban all personal airplanes! Only rich people and guides have planes.............oh wait, that is the same thing! We all hate rich people and guides, right? How much quieter would hunting be if only licensed transporters could use airplanes?
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    Obviously not mt but it is really nice if some ethical operators are declining spotting flights due to new law! Ive always made it a point to glass where a plane is circling when i am hjnting but i would rather they werent there in the first place...
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Quote Originally Posted by 375ultramag View Post
    I would like to see it happen for moose too. Constantly get buzzed moose hunting and it drives me nuts. A fly by is one thing. Circling my meadow I am in over and over drives me batty
    Amen!

    ....as if we expected a different response from martentrapper. Guess we shouldn't have bag limits either huh Mike? That just limits "opportunity", right?

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    I saw plenty of airplanes on my hunt, though I'll admit that I didn't see any circling the sheep mountains. If we want to do something meaningful about airplanes, we should advocate for truly non-motorized CUAs. Currently we have plenty of CUAs that are closed to motorized vehicles - except, of course, airplanes. The current regulation is about as useless as tits on a boar hog.
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    yup, I'd be in favor of additional walk in areas, and/or areas with no airplane access. Even in remote areas, this could be accomplished by only allowing airplane access at limited areas (to allow a float hunt for example).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    I saw plenty of airplanes on my hunt, though I'll admit that I didn't see any circling the sheep mountains. If we want to do something meaningful about airplanes, we should advocate for truly non-motorized CUAs. Currently we have plenty of CUAs that are closed to motorized vehicles - except, of course, airplanes. The current regulation is about as useless as tits on a boar hog.
    I always thought it odd that we have a boat motor size limit on the Kenai but it's ok for a da*n airplane to land on it.....

    Oh, and I've got nothin' against airplanes......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    I've got a question for the high and mighty, now not even satified with the new reg on not spotting game from airplance and want to ban all airplanes from the sheep mountains. I'm in the upper portion of 40's, I've got scoliois with two 30-degree curves in my back and arthritis in both hips from the condition, I've not yet been able to relocate to AK, and I'm just now to the point where I can afford the guide, etc. Am I now supposed to walk in only for any sheep hunting???? BTW, even though I'm not sheep hunting this year, I just did a 3-mile walk this morning with 20 lbs weight vest; however, I'm just not going to be able to do a 25-50 mile walk in hunt, nor am I going to pack a moose a mile over the swamp. There is a reason the WSF has given away sheep hunts to those under 40 and it's because most people under 40 can't afford it. The issue with this is that most people over 40 can't handle truely walk in only sheep hunts. Instead of griping so much, see how this new rule works out over the next couple of years. Everyone would like to be the only hunter on the mountain, the first and only one to see the high mountain valley, to have full curl sheep wander into camp because they've never seen a human, but that is just not reality. Heck, even Jerimiah Johnson ran into trapped out valleys.... If that's your dream, you are about 200-300 years late.

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    I don't think anyone is looking to ban airplane use, but it would be nice to have a few areas that are non-motorized. As an example, the area I just hunted was about 7 miles from a road, and we saw two fly in groups and heard a third. It probably wouldn't have hurt them to bad to have gone say 20 miles from the road and leave the area closer in to non-motorized access.

    As for actually doing a hunt, I wish you the best of luck, but I think you have a tough road ahead. I probably had a 20-30 pound pack including rifle when we were stalking sheep last week. Our stalk took 12 hours, a climb up to about 6000 feet, and then a pack out with 60-70 pound packs just to get back to camp. No airplane, 4 wheeler, or horse could have done this part of the trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    I've got a question for the high and mighty, now not even satified with the new reg on not spotting game from airplance and want to ban all airplanes from the sheep mountains. I'm in the upper portion of 40's, I've got scoliois with two 30-degree curves in my back and arthritis in both hips from the condition, I've not yet been able to relocate to AK, and I'm just now to the point where I can afford the guide, etc. Am I now supposed to walk in only for any sheep hunting???? BTW, even though I'm not sheep hunting this year, I just did a 3-mile walk this morning with 20 lbs weight vest; however, I'm just not going to be able to do a 25-50 mile walk in hunt, nor am I going to pack a moose a mile over the swamp. There is a reason the WSF has given away sheep hunts to those under 40 and it's because most people under 40 can't afford it. The issue with this is that most people over 40 can't handle truely walk in only sheep hunts. Instead of griping so much, see how this new rule works out over the next couple of years. Everyone would like to be the only hunter on the mountain, the first and only one to see the high mountain valley, to have full curl sheep wander into camp because they've never seen a human, but that is just not reality. Heck, even Jerimiah Johnson ran into trapped out valleys.... If that's your dream, you are about 200-300 years late.
    I see what you are saying, but here is the other side (at last a part of it). Should we make every hard to achieve goal, difficult trek, etc... accessible to everyone despite their "disabilities"? Should we pave a pathway and put in escalators to the top of Denali so people who otherwise don't have the physical ability to climb it can get to the top in their senior years when they can finally afford the trip?

    I'm for allowing reasonable access to whatever it is, but there is a line. There will always be someone just on the other side of that line that can't quite make it because of whatever ailment they may have, either physically, mentally, or financially. We can't make it work for everyone.

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    I don't want to ban airplanes and hope that people use them in the right manner when it comes to hunting ethics, BUT....... After getting woke up in my own home by an airboat at 6:30 am, I hereby would love to ban airboats! I hate airboats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    I see what you are saying, but here is the other side (at last a part of it). Should we make every hard to achieve goal, difficult trek, etc... accessible to everyone despite their "disabilities"? Should we pave a pathway and put in escalators to the top of Denali so people who otherwise don't have the physical ability to climb it can get to the top in their senior years when they can finally afford the trip?

    I'm for allowing reasonable access to whatever it is, but there is a line. There will always be someone just on the other side of that line that can't quite make it because of whatever ailment they may have, either physically, mentally, or financially. We can't make it work for everyone.
    I didn't ask that, but people have been flying in the mountains since before the first SuperCub. Mountaineers fly to a base camp on Denali, some people fly up to glaciers and never mountaineer at all. Even a lot of the old time sheep hunters (such as Jack O'Connor) hired guides, horses and packers, never shouldering 70-80 lbs packs. But, there seems to be significant number of people on this forum that believe if you don't hike in from the road, with your entire kit on your back,you shouldn't be sheep hunting and if they see a plane their sense of wilderness is ruined. I fully understand not wanting hunters and sheep from being constantly harassed by airplanes, but some seem to carry it a bit too far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    But, there seems to be significant number of people on this forum that believe if you don't hike in from the road, with your entire kit on your back,you shouldn't be sheep hunting and if they see a plane their sense of wilderness is ruined.
    I personally haven't seen that sentiment here. Some folks (myself included) would like to see some non-motorized areas maintained or added to, especially those along highway corridors. And some (myself included) would like to see non-motorized area regulations include aircraft. Ban aircraft, though? Not at all, nor would such a thing be feasible in a significant proportion of the sheep range in Alaska due to its remoteness.

    I'm a relatively low-hours Cub pilot myself, but there are some places that I shouldn't be allowed to land that plane.

    On a very side note, I don't understand why the regulation banning spotting from planes starts on the 10th. I suppose that accomplishes the goal of not blowing stalks for hunters on the ground, but if we're concerned about fair chase as part of this, perhaps it needs to be be moved to August 1st.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    I've got a question for the high and mighty, now not even satified with the new reg on not spotting game from airplance and want to ban all airplanes from the sheep mountains. I'm in the upper portion of 40's, I've got scoliois with two 30-degree curves in my back and arthritis in both hips from the condition, I've not yet been able to relocate to AK, and I'm just now to the point where I can afford the guide, etc. Am I now supposed to walk in only for any sheep hunting???? BTW, even though I'm not sheep hunting this year, I just did a 3-mile walk this morning with 20 lbs weight vest; however, I'm just not going to be able to do a 25-50 mile walk in hunt, nor am I going to pack a moose a mile over the swamp. There is a reason the WSF has given away sheep hunts to those under 40 and it's because most people under 40 can't afford it. The issue with this is that most people over 40 can't handle truely walk in only sheep hunts. Instead of griping so much, see how this new rule works out over the next couple of years. Everyone would like to be the only hunter on the mountain, the first and only one to see the high mountain valley, to have full curl sheep wander into camp because they've never seen a human, but that is just not reality. Heck, even Jerimiah Johnson ran into trapped out valleys.... If that's your dream, you are about 200-300 years late.

    Wow, where to start....

    First off. You will not see a ban on airplane use for hunting in Alaska. It's the only way to access most of the state. It just won't happen.

    Second. Just because one flies in doesn't mean you don't walk from there. Just talk to the guys that fly in to the Brooks or the Johnson River strip in DCUA. LOTS of walking after landing. Most of the time at least 5 miles plus, sometimes 15 or more from the landing zone. In fact I'd go as far to say that all sheep hunts are "walk-in" even if you do get dropped somewhere by a plane. Unless you are riding a horse, that will take care of some walking.

    Third. I didn't even start sheep hunting until I was 43 and have been on MANY loooonnnng walk-in hunts. Like 25 miles one way so don't tell me it's for the "under 40's" crowd. I just turned 55 yesterday and last week at this time was packing a 100+ lb pack full of sheep miles and miles back to the landing zone. This after trekking miles and miles to get to sheep FROM the landing zone. Both of my current sheep hunting partners are my age. 55-58.

    Fourth. There are areas of the state called Controlled Use Areas that I prefer to call Special Use Areas in that no-motorized vehicles allowed EXCEPT airplanes. In fact most of the Brooks is that way essentially since you cannot use a motorized vehicle to get through the corridor. Unless it's an airplane. Well, or a boat in a few spots where you can actually use one.

    Fifth- You don't have to do a 25-50 mile walk to get to sheep.

    So don't worry about it. Take care of yourself, get strong, stay in shape, move to Alaska and go sheep hunting!
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