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Thread: Will the park ever be the same

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    Default Will the park ever be the same

    Those of us who were fortunate enough to have hunted sheep in the chugach park(14c) in the early 90s were spoiled. That place has and will always be special to me. Seeing bands of full curl sheep with the deep swooping curls with multiple 40 inch sheep. Lots of speculation as to what happened to it and some may be true but will it or could it ever come back. Please this is not about guides so if you want to go there move on. I'm seriously wondering about this. I know there are still toads in there but as a whole I'd love to see it back. Thoughts??

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Weather. I know there are other factors at play, but if our current winter weather patterns continue, I think what we see in units 14C, 7, 14A, and to a lesser degree 13D are the new normal. Sheep do terribly with freeze-thaw cycles, and that has unfortunately been the predominant pattern over the past few years. The pregnancy rates have been abysmal, and much of the mortality has been weather-related.

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    I don't know that it is being published, but the same motality rates are occurring in the brooks range. Approximately 80% mortality for sheep according to a friend who flies sheep counts in the brooks for the federal department of interior.

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    "NOTHING" in Alaska will ever be the same........."NOTHING"

    When "GOLD" was discovered in Alaska........everything changed.
    When they built the road to Alaska.......everything changed.
    And when they built the Trans-Alaska pipeline.......everything changed.

    The biggest issue now is that people think it is the way it was......it is not, and will never be.............unless about 600,000 human animals got culled. Humans have destroyed Alaska. Humans destroy planet Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Weather. I know there are other factors at play, but if our current winter weather patterns continue, I think what we see in units 14C, 7, 14A, and to a lesser degree 13D are the new normal. Sheep do terribly with freeze-thaw cycles, and that has unfortunately been the predominant pattern over the past few years. The pregnancy rates have been abysmal, and much of the mortality has been weather-related.
    I read all those studies too and been to the seminars with Tom Lohuis but man I still have hope but outlook seems as you say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    "NOTHING" in Alaska will ever be the same........."NOTHING"

    When "GOLD" was discovered in Alaska........everything changed.
    When they built the road to Alaska.......everything changed.
    And when they built the Trans-Alaska pipeline.......everything changed.

    The biggest issue now is that people think it is the way it was......it is not, and will never be.............unless about 600,000 human animals got culled. Humans have destroyed Alaska. Humans destroy planet Earth.
    Good grief...
    "Look! the last known Alaskan dall sheep is heading over that ledge!..oh wait...there's another...."

    There are issues and concerns, but humans haven't destroyed Alaska. Now Flint, Michigan might be another story.
    El Nino is likely the biggest concern for AK sheep.
    Proud to be an American!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    The biggest issue now is that people think it is the way it was......it is not, and will never be.............unless about 600,000 human animals got culled. Humans have destroyed Alaska. Humans destroy planet Earth.
    Don't stop there, you're on a roll. You almost got to the part where you kick the rest of us out.

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    So.......have we had El Nino for the last 50 years........???? Me thinks "NOT". Did we have permit drawings for sheep hunts 50 years ago.........???? "NOPE" we did not. Is the Alaska population today about 730,000 humans......????....YEP. Was it about 1/4 of that 50 years ago.......??? YEP.


    Quote Originally Posted by fullkurl View Post
    Good grief...
    "Look! the last known Alaskan dall sheep is heading over that ledge!..oh wait...there's another...."

    There are issues and concerns, but humans haven't destroyed Alaska. Now Flint, Michigan might be another story.
    El Nino is likely the biggest concern for AK sheep.

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    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    I hear Canada still has openings, then you can buy 10,000 acres and never see another human, have only you hunt those animals and so forth. Only one to ruin it will be you....and the weather.

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    Were you addressing anyone or everyone.........???

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskankid13 View Post
    I hear Canada still has openings, then you can buy 10,000 acres and never see another human, have only you hunt those animals and so forth. Only one to ruin it will be you....and the weather.

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    Ironic.

    Live in Hope.

    But yet, live Hopelessly.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    So.......have we had El Nino for the last 50 years........???? Me thinks "NOT". Did we have permit drawings for sheep hunts 50 years ago.........???? "NOPE" we did not. Is the Alaska population today about 730,000 humans......????....YEP. Was it about 1/4 of that 50 years ago.......??? YEP.
    The current concerns with sheep in 14C have little to nothing to do with human influence. You're barking up the wrong tree on this one. Will it be like the 1750s again? Probably not...and neither will Hope. Regardless, that's not the question, and human population isn't what is currently depressing/suppressing sheep populations in south central Alaska.

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    So...I guess it's not 50 years ago, but I recall watching the Super Bowl in the early '80's (either '82 or '83 was the first year I was able to get my old man to drop by and watch football on TV) and the weather signs in Los Anchorage were reading in the 40's.....that's 30 years ago anyway. Maybe we haven't had El Nino for 50 years, but Alaska winters haven't been what they were for a long time.

    My old man came to Alaska in '39. When I started hunting on my own in the 70's, he told me "It sure ain't like it used to be". He cited some figure of the State having less than 50,000 population when he first got to Alaska. Knowing the time, I suspect that didn't include the indigenous folks, but FWIW, a data point.

    The 730,000? How many of them hunt sheep? More specifically, as a percentage of the population, what portion of the biggest population center hunts sheep in 14C? I'd guess it's actually lower than in the 60's. FWIW, being a member of two quite-frequently maligned groups of "Alaskans" (oil-workers and lawyers), I would guess that those groups (and families) make a up a big part of the increase in population over the past 50 years but I know that any increase in hunting pressure is WAY less than the relative increase in population, again particularly in 14C.

    Things change. I now own a townhome in a part of Anchorage where I would wander as a kid to see moose...couldn't shoot the moose at that location even back then, but they were there. Now it's full of townhomes.

    I would estimate that there are some factors that are human-related that ain't good for the Chugach sheep: Does the sprawl of Anchorage and Girdwood force more wolves into a smaller area (? IDK, just wondering)? Do dogs go along with that? Does simple human presence stress the sheep (having observed them on a decidedly unscientific basis since the afore-mentioned '70's, I'd say not)?

    ...but bottom line is that even the "good old days" (for example, the '90's) were the "bad new days" at some point and it is not strictly human changes that are impacting the sheep.

    Opinion....
    Back in AK

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    Has the commercial airline traffic and private pilot traffic and pollution, over the area increased in the last 50 years..........Yes. Has the pollution from cars and trucks increased over the last 50 years........Yes, hugely. Has the number of brightly colored recreational hikers increased over the last 50 years....Yes. Have the radio waves from communication systems increased over the last 50 years..........Yes.

    Is it possible that some or all of this could impact reproduction..........Yes. Is all of these possible factors the "DIRECT" result of 400 percent increase of humans over the last 50 years .........Yes. I am not fully enrolled in the theory that the boggy'man El Nino is the bad'guy. And could the El Nino boggy'man be the result of massive growth in the world population........Maybe.

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    The irony of this AGL4now's posts... is he moved to Alaska.

    Will the park ever be what it once was? Was the peak population sustainable? I'm not sure anyone really knows. There are plenty of nice sheep in the park right. This warmer weather may actually be helping with sheep survival. Considering that most of the sheep were killed in avalanches, no snow, no avalanches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Has the commercial airline traffic and private pilot traffic and pollution, over the area increased in the last 50 years..........Yes. Has the pollution from cars and trucks increased over the last 50 years........Yes, hugely. Has the number of brightly colored recreational hikers increased over the last 50 years....Yes. Have the radio waves from communication systems increased over the last 50 years..........Yes.

    Is it possible that some or all of this could impact reproduction..........Yes. Is all of these possible factors the "DIRECT" result of 400 percent increase of humans over the last 50 years .........Yes. I am not fully enrolled in the theory that the boggy'man El Nino is the bad'guy. And could the El Nino boggy'man be the result of massive growth in the world population........Maybe.
    The only way radio waves affect reproduction rates is if you listen(ed) to Pink Floyd.

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    Not as ironic as hunters basically what animal populations to flourish..........so they can "KILL" them.......


    Quote Originally Posted by Bambistew View Post
    The irony of this AGL4now's posts... is he moved to Alaska......

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Not as ironic as hunters basically what animal populations to flourish..........so they can "KILL" them.......
    What you have to realize, and many people don't seem to grasp, is that animal populations were not some utopia before "man" moved in and started hunting. Populations did not flourish at maximum numbers all the time. To the contrary, they fluctuated greatly, far more than they almost ever do now. Yes, there were times with high numbers of animals of various species, but then it almost always was followed by a crash in the population to very low numbers. These cycles went on and on and on. Man is helping to moderate that. Is it perfect, heck no. Nothing is.

    In the past, there were likely more "trophy" size animals than there are now. That is very likely due to hunting pressure. Hard to argue that aspect. It's just human nature to target the larger animals when possible. The remaining population may be good for what the area can sustain, but trends towards smaller animals surviving.

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    And each and every generation lays claim to what it used to be and wants the "new" to disappear. By now there are few people left that actually experienced "the good ole days" as they "remember" them, in fact many of those that "remember" it never experienced it, rather they have created "memories" in their mind based on what others write or say or on small snipits of reality.

    When I came up here many years ago, there were salmon in every stream, there were moose hanging out on every trail and the caribou in Mulchatna herd were waiting, no begging for us to come kill them. We all took advantage of it and we wish that today was as good as our "memories". But, as much as we remember the loads of game and fish back in the good ole days, we all to often forget about the hunting trips where we got skunked, the fishing trips that we had to scratch out a limit, or those times when we wanted to be alone but had to drive the extra 10 miles to achieve it. As we age, hunting becomes a little harder each year, is that because of reduced game populations? Is it because of increased pressure by other hunters? Or could it be that what was once easy for us is not a little more difficult?

    There is no doubt things are changing, however much of the memories of old are not accurate, they are a highlight reel with all the boring sections forgottenand buried with the highlights.

    Don't believe me, remember back to your last "great hunt" that involved harvesting an animal...what do you remember, the hard work and hours looking at nothing? The sore body at the end of the day? The disappointment of returning to your tent without a shot? Or do you remember the small portion of the hunt where you finally found your trophy, you finally lined up for the shot, you finally squeezed the trigger and were able to call that animal your own? We block out the boring tough parts all too often and focus on the brief moments of excitement.

    Yes things have changed, but overall, not that much. You may have more competition, but the majority of that is confined to the area close to the road or small pockets of destinations via established trails. Every year there are 40 inch sheep killed, 70 inch moose harvested and 300 class caribou taken. Bears approaching 10 feet are shot on the peninsula and Kodiak each year and somewhere out there a wolverine is waiting to cross paths with you if you are willing to go look.

    Even with all the new people, Alaska still beats the hell out of hunting in most parts of the lower 48.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    Ironic.

    Live in Hope.

    But yet, live Hopelessly.
    Sad commentary. Is it genuine?
    I wouldn't want to have to get up and put my pants on in the morning with such a hopeless attitude.

    I've not been to Darfur, Rwanda, Chernobyl,...places that I equate with "hopeless" ..but I know that I've been to much of the state of Alaska. A scant few months ago I trekked and hunted Kodiak, an emerald in the truest sense.

    We live in strange times, with issues everywhere--and work to be done; but there is still much to be thankful for, and in the scheme of things Alaska and its bounty have fared quite well considering it is 2016.
    A hundred years ago many cities in the U.S. looked like Beijing with its pea-soup pollution. Lakes, rivers and streams were dead. Today, they thrive.
    Proud to be an American!

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