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Thread: Alaska FNAWS Status

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    Post Alaska FNAWS Status

    After hearing about threads about Alaska FNAWS and the recent Board of Game sheep drawing permit hunts, I decided to weigh in on this forum. (Thanks to David Johnson for providing this great tool for Alaskans.)

    In July of 2006, there was a hostile takeover of Alaska FNAWS. Six of us with over 50 years of combined service on the Alaska FNAWS board were told by a few newly appointed board members that we had done a poor job and were not helping the sheep or sheep hunters of Alaska. We six "old" board members" resigned from the board to let the new board go their "new direction" to improve Alaska FNAWS.

    "Hostile takeover" is the best description I can come up with for this change. Three of the new board members have had little but negative comments about us old board members, and continue to do so. In my experience as a life member, (past) magazine editor, and board member for 9 years I have not seen anything like this. This negative approach cannot help FNAWS, sheep, or us sheep hunters. The new board alienated many of us by their caustic manner and I can't see how they are going to be effective anytime soon.

    Four of us past board members are life members of Alaska FNAWS. I plan to remain a member for life, but I don't plan to be active currently because I disagree with most of what the current board is doing and planning. I have not had any contact with the other five old board members since the summer of 2006, but they all were criticized more by the new board members than I was.

    Personally, I am now on the Mat-Su Fish & Game Advisory Committee and have been attending the Board of Game meetings. I am also on the Mat-Valley Blue Ribbon Sportsman's Committee, which works on outdoor issues concerning the Valley. I think I am being much more effective (on sheep issues -- or any outdoor issues for that matter) with these activities than I have ever been with Alaska FNAWS.

    I encourage all hunters and sheep enthusiasts to attend Board of Game meetings whenever you can, send in written comments, and sign up for oral testimony on any proposals or issues you feel strongly about. Often, it only takes a handful of individuals who give oral testimony at these meetings to sway the vote of the Board of Game. And their votes are what determine our game regulations.

    If anyone wants my input on how to work within Alaska Board of Game proposal/public input process, I will gladly help. I don't visit this Forum often because of time constraints, but I always try to answer personal emails promptly. tony@TonyRuss.com

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for taking the time

    Tony, THANK YOU very much for logging on here and filling us in.
    Mark

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    Tony,

    Your many contributions toward sheep management and hunting over the years speak for themselves. I'm certain your resignation would have never been called for, and I think it's a pity you chose to do so. Yet, I do not presume to walk in your shoes. Thanks for remaining involved in the process, and I hope you'll find your way back after the initial disappointment has ended because of the clout and influence that AKFNAWS has. Best regards,

    Rick

    P.S. Thanks for doing your best and staying involved. If you get a chance, have a look at this thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=19580). It's data rich and the type of information that needs to make its way to advisory committee meetings before the next sheep-oriented BOG meeting.

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Tony,

    Thank you for taking the time to come on the forum and explain what happened. It's hard to imagine that Alaska FNAWS would not want you to be involved, but I guess that is just the state of things right now. Your point about participating in the board process is well taken. An individual can be surprisingly effective if they take the time to participate.

  5. #5

    Default So what is the bottom line?

    "Hostile takeover"? "Caustic comments"? Jeez sounds like something that takes place on Madison Ave.. All kidding aside, there has to be a huge untold story here. So much for everyone working together to "put sheep on the mountain"! So what happened? Personality and ego clashes? Money that wasn't accounted for? Wouldn't be the first time. Looks like there is a deep rift between folks that are supposed to be working on a common goal.
    Just running here with thoughts, not meaning to flame anyone, etc..
    But before people can work together, the differences have to get ironed out! Otherwise there is a lot of time, money and effort wasted.
    What say you out there?

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks Tony for chiming in.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    I will say I was going to join until I heard negative comments on the forums. I think there website hasnt even been updated in over a year (June 2006)! Sounds like the new leadership is'nt doing so well. Sorry to hear about the situation Tony. I agree with Knikhunter about the common goal, seems like it was a "mines bigger than yours" take over. Not sure since I wasnt there but I think something needs to change for the better. IMO

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    If you don't like what you see in FNAWS become a board member.... If not attend meetings... How often does FNAWS have there meetings?
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Default Join The Alaska Chapter of FNAWS

    Years ago, while helping Bud Helmrick clean his cabin up on Walker Lake after a couple martin had moved in, he said "there are two sides to every pancake no matter how thin". I have found that statement to always be true.

    Join FNAWS, dues are cheap, help make the organization strong, sheep populations in Alaska could use your help. The membership elect the board members.

  10. #10

    Default use the public process

    I’ve been reading this forum for quite some time, and I have held off on contributing, but I feel it is important to interject now. Tony Russ hit the nail on the head with his comments about participating in the Board of Game public process. I personally testified in front of the Board of Game and witnessed almost all the public testimony given when the 13D sheep drawing proposal was open for comments. Despite not being comfortable speaking into a microphone in front of an audience, I did and it was a very good experience. Now I did not keep track of the exact numbers of people who testified for, or against, the 13D drawing proposal, but I was surprised at the number of people who supported the area going to drawing. I am fairly certain more people testified in favor of the drawing than those against it. Additionally (amazing or not), a lot were guides who actively guide in the area. As I listened to all this testimony, I started wondering. I wondered if the guides were truly concerned about the Dall sheep population in 13D and if they believed this proposal would help the sheep population, and I wondered how much of their support had to do with them trying to create a better product for their high paying clients (less crowding). Then it hit me, it really does not matter. They showed up and voiced their opinions, something a lot of people on this forum did not do. Wayne Heimer was not even there. Instead he had the “ever not so popular” Steve Flory testify on the behalf of the AK chapter of FNAWS. I was glad I was already an ex-FNAWS member, especially when Flory testified to get rid of sheep sealing. I am 100% for sealing, it keeps more people honest (obviously not all), and I tend to believe it will eventually help lower the harvest rate of sub-legal rams, which in turn will leave more sheep on the mountain at the end of the season (which goes hand in hand with the popular FNAWS slogan “putting sheep on the mountain”). There are other benefits to sheep sealing and more shots at FNAWS (my FNAWS jacket is staying in a box for quite some time) but that is not what this thread is about.

    I wrote this to encourage people to participate in the public process. It is a little complicated (has cycles), and it is not a user friendly process to testify orally (long waits just to testify), but it is very important to be involved. The option exists to provide testimony in a written format, but it is my belief oral testimony pulls much more weight. Members of the public can actually submit proposals to the Board of Game also. If you ever do this, spend considerable time thinking your proposal through, make sure it makes sense, and make sure it is well written. Everything you need to know (proposal deadlines, written comment deadlines, advisory committee meeting times, Board of Game meeting times, etc.) should be on the website http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/

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    Default Thanks Hawgquest

    Thanks for chiming in and adding substance.

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    If you don't like what you see in FNAWS become a board member
    In a late winter 07 edition of the newsletter, Heimer mentioned that they were looking for a couple of board members. I emailed him stating that I would be willing to serve. He ignored me just like he ignores many of the questions that have been posed to him on this forum.

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno View Post
    Join FNAWS, dues are cheap, help make the organization strong, sheep populations in Alaska could use your help. The membership elect the board members.

    Rod, Maybe you and I are reading two different forums but what have you read on here about AKFNAWS that would make you want to send them any money even if it is only a little bit? I can think of a couple reasons not to:

    1) AKFNAWS was totally ineffective at furthering their agenda during the spring 07 BOG meeting when significant sheep proposals were on the table.

    2) AKFNAWS has alienated influential and well known members of the sheep community like Tony Russ and others on this forum.

    3) AKFNAWS tacitly supports a convicted sex offender by not objecting to him being a sitting AKFNAWS board member.

    4) Apparent lack of cooperation between ADF&G and AKFNAWS.

    5) No mention of what AKFNAWS is doing to work with NPS and USFWS who manage lands containing many of our sheep.

    6) Aside from putting more sheep on the mountain, goals are nebulously defined and organizational structure/operation is not transparent.

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    Red face thanks

    Thanks for chiming in TR. Its good to see you are still active in the BOG cause your experience and influence are needed. For those asking, some of the politics surrounding the FNAWS controversy were posted in the archives for guys that are curious. That controversy really left a void in advocacy for sheep hunting. Our comments to the BOG just dont seem to carry the weight that an organization which provided funding for sheep management did. I hope that the organization can gain infuence again with the department before the whole state goes to drawing.

    BTW, Hawgquests theory on the motives of the guides testifying at BOG is accurate in my opinion!

  15. #15

    Default Life in the Arena

    Chisana,

    Sheep statewide could use the help of all sheep hunters. Members can change the seated Board if they don't agree with the direction the board is headed. Just ask Tony.

    If you're not a member you can't change FNAWS for the better. HELP

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    Default "AKFNAWS tacitly supports a convicted sex offender by not objecting to him being a

    Board member?"

    If the man/woman has paid thier dues to society, reformed & they're never alone with women/children, what's the worry if the person is qualified to sit on the board?

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    If sex offenders were a "race" you would have to call me a racist. I don't trust any of them and I am sorry (not really) but I don't support an organization that puts them in the public eye in a position where they are speaking for me. I wouldn't vote for a politician guilty of a sexually based offense and this isn't any different. This IS part of his debt to society when you commit a crime that requires you to be registered for public protection (scrutiny) then the recourse of that is still part of the sentence. Forgiveness is gods area I am sorry but I am just not that benevolent.

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    Default BOG meetings.

    I can think of no better place to recruit outdoormans for these meeting, so someone please explain how this process is done.

    I also think this forum would be a great place to have your idea heard before you summit it to the board.

    So lets start one!

    For example, How would I propose to have a black powder only sheep hunting area?

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Ridiculous

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Arno
    Sheep statewide could use the help of all sheep hunters. Members can change the seated Board if they don't agree with the direction the board is headed. Just ask Tony. If you're not a member you can't change FNAWS for the better. HELP
    We heard the same thing from Wayne Heimer. Is it just me, or does anyone else find it ridiculous that an org with a convicted sex offender on their board is asking you to join so you can have a say in future board positions? Meanwhile, no one currently on the AK FNAWS board is publicly asking for Steve Flory's resignation, not even their chair. What does that tell you? Those really in the know, from biologists to past long-term board members, don't like the new direction AK FNAWS is taking, how they have angered so many who were former allies, yet we keep hearing the cry to join in order to have influence over all this "bad." Maybe it's a new strategy, piss off long-term and well-known proponents of sheep hunting and sheep management, install a high-profile sex offender on the board, then put the cry out for "help." Hey, it just might work.

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    Default Apology and alternate view of FNAWS Status

    Passionate Sheepsters,

    Apology: To whomever tried to volunteer to run for the Alaska FNAWS Board and was "ignored" by me, I apologize. I don't dislike you, and I didn't purposefully ignore you to keep you off the board because of my ego or for any other reason. I simply didn't get your messages. You sent them, and I apparently didn't check often enough over the summer to find them. That's clearly my fault. I'm sorry, and would like to make it up to you somehow.

    FNAWS Status (a view different than Tony's)


    There was an election for Alaska FNAWS Board Directors in May 2006 (almost a year and a half ago). It was overdue because an election as called for in the Alaska FNAWS bylaws had not been held for at least two years. This being the case, it should not have been surprisng that a slate of reform candidates presented itself as "write ins" in accordance with the bylaws governing Alaska FNAWS elections. The reason reform candidates (including me) ran was because we thought some changes in the Chapter would better benefit sheep. That was it for me. I can't speak for others.

    Several reform candidates (including me) were elected in accordance with the bylaws of the organization. The "campaign" during that election night was apparently pointed to the point of being "rough and tumble." (I wasn't there in person so this is heresay.) Obviousy, egos were challenged and hurt feelings resulted. In a perfect world, this would not have lead to a year and a half of dischord and slander such as referenced by Tony Russ on the initial post in this thread. However, it's not a perfect world.

    Part of the imperfect world involves the business of sheep needing an advocacy group outside of the Department. That's Alaska FNAWS. Another part of the imperfect world is that being a non-profit corporation and remaining one in good standing requires a bunch of loathesome drudgery-type work. Still, it has to be done. It hadn't been. Similarly, working with the ADF&G permit system requires a certain amount of accuountability and book keeping. This had also been neglected for 5-6 years, and FNAWS was on the ADF&G "black list." Also, making posiive changes as a non-profit special interest group (our special interest is better sheep management for better hunting) requires certain systematic approaches to the issues of the day and accountablility to the membership. Those of us who sought reform didn't see this happening either...even though our concerns had been presented to the old FNAWS Board through sitting members. This meant we had a choice.

    We could have posted radical, slanderous critiques on the internet; but instead, we offered ourseves as cadidates for the Board under the provisions of the bylaws. Given that we were duly elected, we anticipated the opportunity to work with the rest of the Board (some of whom had been reelected from the previous Board) to thrash these things out and get the business of the Foundation cleared up so we could go to work. We didn't expect it to be easy, at least at first...changing things sitting folks don't think are important is never easy.

    Sadly, that didn't happen. The "old board" chose to resign en masse (conditional upon emptying the treasury). Nobody was asked to resign--in fact, the new board members implored previous members to stay. When National President/CEO, Ray Lee, asked who thought they could work with members of both factions, I raised my hand. None of the the prior Board members did. Since then, some board members who chose to resign have gone considerably out of their way to make things dfficult for the new board. It's not a perfect world.

    Still, (with due deference to Tony's status as a sheep guru) I don't think the status of Alaska FNAWS is as bad as he represented it. The FNAWS Board is not without experience in sheep managemnt, and it understands the important sheep issues of the day well enough to be productive. These issues are the status (traditionally very low) of sheep in ADF&G priorities (the bottm line here is dollars allocated to active management which I detailed on another thread in this forum recently), maintaining sheep hunting opportunity, and limiting managable factors affecting sheep population growth. THE factor there is predation. In my view (again a contrast to some postings on this forum) is not hunting by nonresidents or resident hunters for full curl rams.

    The job of getting Alaska FNAWS back into legal business shape has not been glamorous, and it hasn't been easy or fun. However, we're now "square" now with everyone from the IRS to the State of Alaska and the Department Fish of Game. We have expenditures under control, and back in accordance with our bylaws, and we have a board election process that can't be "stacked" like it could under the previous arrangement. We also have a defined direction which is more likely to make sheep hunting better than throwing money at a given research project (please allow that I might know something about sheep research), and we're systematically trying to achieve objectives that will actually make a difference in the issues listed above.

    If you want to see why I thought a change was needed, feel free look at the old FNAWS website some of you have rightfully pointed out is out of date. (Although Tony Russ cooperatively provided info on how to update that website, it was in a very difficult/obsolete "language" so we concentrated on building a more modern web page. It's about to go on line.) Anyway, if you look at the "projects" section, you'll find a list of things that is has been YEARS out of date for years. If you were a member and cared to check, you'd find that these projects have cost a ton of money, and didn't really accomplish anything for sheep hunting or sheep management. If they had, things would be better, and the aren't. Actually we have less opportunity than ever before.

    Speaking of websites, I'm told that a new FNAWS website should be "up" by the end of the week. It won't be complete, but it should tell you about our event in Wasilla on November 19. If you really want to know what Alaska FNAWS is doing, come at 5:00 an talk to the Board. If you can't make that meeting, look for one in your town before winter is over. If you're a member, you're entitlted to know more than if you're not.

    I appreciate all the moral advice I've received on this forum to date, but in this imperfect world, its the members who will drive Alaska FNAWS. I've paid a lot of attention here because it is important what the non-member public does to shape the public's perception of Alaska FNAWS, and I've personally told some of you that I'll mention the "convicted felon" issue to the Chapter Board, just as I would if "the world" were seein me as problem. If members do (see me as a proble), you can be sure I'll get out of the way. The prescribed way for members to show displeasure is to not vote for someone they consider a problem or to call for their ouster according to the bylaws. As I've already explained here, there are no "moral" grounds in the existing bylaws. Many of you have not helped. It's not a perfect world.

    We (Alaska FNAWS) got our "hat handed to us" at the last Board meeting.

    I didn't like it, but it was not surprising. The Department and the Board of Game have a special relationship that makes it very difficult to affect the system from the "outside." I've been on the "inside" but now I'm not. It is particularly difficult to make much of a dent when the Department or its people are willing to slander a well-meaning group like Alaska FNAWS with whom they disagree on any particular issue. It doesn't help when detractors tell the world their view either. It is not a perfect world.

    Neverteless, Alaska FNAWS is still here, and we're healthier than we've been for many years as a viable non-profit corporation. If not for the roadblocks we've ecountered, we'd be more effective than we have been. We will. It's not a perfect world, so I don't expect support from everyone. If you're interested (and I know you are, passionate sheepsters), why not check us out in person? It would be the adult thing to do.

    Regards,

    Wayne

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