I've enjoyed hunting sheep in 13D for the past 13 years or so and am very disappointed that it's going to draw. Even if the claims that there are fewer rams is true, which is questionable (see below), going to draw and instituting an area to kill immature (<full curl & <8 years old) is not the solution. People will naturally kill the largest ram they're able to, but if a large one doesn't present itself, most people will surely settle for any legal ram over going home without sheep meet. This will leave fewer legal rams on the mountain, upset the breeding/social structure, and potentially lead to the ewes reproducing every other year (See Heimer's 1980s research comparing the Dry Creek population to the Robertson River population). In short, upsetting the social structure and allowing younger rams to participate in breeding leads to higher ram mortality and FEWER SHEEP ON THE MOUNTAIN.
In June, I called the biologist in Glennallen and was told that 13D was becoming a drawing area for several reasons. I've since learned that many of these reasons are not factual, and going to draw WILL NOT SOLVE the "perceived problem" that sheep numbers are declining in the area. Here were her reasons (they're paraphrased):
1) Guides are saturating the area and are taking rams throughout the season while resident hunters are taking a smaller fraction of the harvest. (Not true... see next post).
2) Greater numbers of young rams with fast-growing horns (e.g., 6 year olds with full curl) are being harvested so that as soon as the most desirable rams are reaching full curl, they're being harvested. (Again, not true... see next post).
3) The population is declining. (Possibly true, but there aren't recent surveys/censuses to validate this claim, and there are other plausible, and even likely explanations for the reduced harvest).
4) Very few truely large rams are now available. (Again, not true... see next post).