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Thread: Sheep Hunters - Sealing Experiences?

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    Default Sheep Hunters - Sealing Experiences?

    In light of the other thread about sealing sheep I thought I'd start one to get an idea of what sheep hunters here have experienced when getting their rams sealed and what you have observed while maybe other hunters were there getting their rams sealed. Have they done more than measure the horn length and bases? Have they taken flesh samples or asked specific questions that would give them info that would otherwise not be reported on your harvest permit? Have you had bios or techs disagree on the age of your ram? What method did they use to determine full curl? Eyeball it? Pipe method? Stick method? Also, please include where you had your ram sealed. I'm just curious in light of F&G's recent statement regarding the program. You can read it below. I have bolded some of it. They basically say they started it for law enforcement reasons and say that has worked. Now they think they can gather biological data and that may infact be more important than the reason they started it in the first place. See the last sentence in bold.

    So, I'm curios to see if any of the sheep hunters here have given any other data. I have seen 5 rams sealed in Fairbanks and all they did was measure the horns. I also know of one other ram sealed in Fairbanks and is was the same deal. Six rams, 3 different gmu's, no bio data collected. What about you guys down south?

    As a side note: I would like to see them get all the info they can from us if we're going to be talking to them. I just haven't seen or heard much of it happening. At least here in Fairbanks.

    ===========================
    RATIONALE: Dall sheep have been subject to a statewide sealing program since 2004. The regulation was put in place largely for law enforcement purposes. All ewes and rams harvested in 14C drawing hunts were previously required to be brought in for a check-in process with
    ADF&G; the statewide program expanded this effort to all rams harvested statewide in areas with horn restrictions. In 2004 and 2005 rams were marked with plastic seals. Since 2006, ram horns have been marked (above the core) with permanent plugs bearing unique identification numbers. Beginning in 2008, all rams taken in any-ram drawing areas will also be subject to sealing under discretionary permit conditions.
    Very few rams harvested statewide are not sealed. These rams are from the limited any-sheep or any-ram hunts that take place. All sheep hunters are tracked via state harvest tickets, state permits, or federal permits. Of the rams harvested in 2006 under state permits and harvest tickets, only 39 (<5%) were taken in sealing-exempt areas. Even though not required, 13 of those hunters brought in their rams to the Department.
    With the requirement to bring ram horns in for sealing, hunters must be confident of the legality of the animal prior to pulling the trigger. This has changed sheep hunter attitudes, and they are increasingly showing interest in the definition of full-curl, even though the same definition has been used in Alaska since the 1980s.
    The hands-on approach has also allowed for the collection of important anecdotal information from sheep hunters - observations and data previously unavailable to biologists. By having a small pool of biologists, technicians, and law enforcement officers taking horn measurements and aging rams, the error in this data is reduced compared to having up to 900 different hunters collecting the data.
    In addition to basic horn measurements, additional biological information can be collected at the time of sealing. Rams harvested from certain areas have already been subject to detailed measurements (horn length and circumference at each annulus), as well as raw Boone and Crockett scoring. Additionally, small flesh samples have been taken from these rams for development of a database from which genetic variability is being assessed via a cooperative research project.
    With concerns about sheep health and population status statewide, ADF&G finds that the sealing program will provide useful biological information if conducted over the long term. Sealing is time consuming, and it is an expense to the Department. However, the benefits of consistent regulations, hunter contacts and hands-on data collection now outweigh our previous concerns. With a few more years of sheep sealing, the Department will be able to evaluate the efficacy of the data gathering program for wildlife management rather than law enforcement purposes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    They basically say they started it for law enforcement reasons and say that has worked. Now they think they can gather biological data and that may infact be more important than the reason they started it in the first place. See the last sentence in bold.

    As a side note: I would like to see them get all the info they can from us if we're going to be talking to them. I just haven't seen or heard much of it happening. At least here in Fairbanks.

    ===========================
    the benefits of consistent regulations, hunter contacts and hands-on data collection now outweigh our previous concerns. With a few more years of sheep sealing, the Department will be able to evaluate the efficacy of the data gathering program for wildlife management rather than law enforcement purposes
    Perry, This is an important topic, but your tone seems adversarial. You consistently refer to ADF&G as "them". Aren't "they" just Alaskans like us? ADF&G's own comments on the proposal seem to imply that they weren't focused on biological data collection in the past and want to move the sealing program in that direction. Why not give "them" a chance? I would ask you how much information you volunteered when you had your sheep sealed? Granted the ADF&G sealer should have been more engaged, but as a concerned hunter why not take the lead and offer up more than just what you were asked?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chisana View Post
    Perry, This is an important topic, but your tone seems adversarial. You consistently refer to ADF&G as "them". Aren't "they" just Alaskans like us? ADF&G's own comments on the proposal seem to imply that they weren't focused on biological data collection in the past and want to move the sealing program in that direction. Why not give "them" a chance? I would ask you how much information you volunteered when you had your sheep sealed? Granted the ADF&G sealer should have been more engaged, but as a concerned hunter why not take the lead and offer up more than just what you were asked?
    Sorry I sounded that way, actually no I'm not adversarial. I used "them and they" without even thinking about it. Just typing away as if I were talking. Nothing meant by it. I am just curios to see where they have collected bio data and if any guys here have been a part of it. They say they have been collecting some data already. Mod elan in another thread took some horns in somewhere (maybe Glenallen?) and said the bio collected lots of measurements and also flesh samples. I say yeah! I just haven't heard of that being done in Fairbanks. I am wondering if they are concentrating on specific gmu's or ranges. I posted the ADF&G text so guys would know what their position is, or rather was and now is. I agree wholeheartidly that this is an important topic and am glad to see F&G putting an emphasis on gathering bio data. I apologize if I came across as adversarial, really I'm not. Sometimes I'm not too good with just type on a screen.

    I had a very detailed conversation with the guy who sealed my and my buddies DCUA rams a couple years ago. Told him all about our trip, etc. He had hunted in the same area himself before. But it was more like two guys talking about sheep hunting rather than him trying to collect data. I'm not putting him or ADF&G down. I am just trying to learn some stuff.

    Perry
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    Chisana, I forgot to ask. What have your experiences been with sealing?
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    i shot my ram this year in unit 11.....which is a 3/4 curl area.....killed it the 12 of august....the 14th i took it into glennallen to be sealed....bob and becky there put on quite a show.....first i told them it was ten...after some debate i got them to agree....then bob got the drill out....he didnt' seem to know exactly how to work it.....i got scared....thoughts crossed my mind of jumping the counter grabbing my horns and running .....but were calmed down when becky put in a new battery and put it in the forward drilling position....they then took my ram and did all kinds of measurements on it...they basically scored it and even measured from i believe it was the tip to each annuli...they did take samples from both the horn material and from tissue left on the skull...i also pointed out exactly where i shot it on a big map on the wall...i also told them how many other sheep i saw in the area and where ewes and lambs were in relationship to rams....i also told them how many hunters i had seen in the feild and that one guy had alpacas or llamas....becky kept asking if they were goats....they had long necks....but they really didn't want goats in sheep country....but only allow alpacas and llamas because they said they dont' know much about them...i wish i could find the sheet that had all the information they took on it....since i requested a copy....we also filled out my harvest report right there...they checked my license....they determined my ram to be less than 7/8 but greater than 3/4...even at ten years old....i don't think i'd ever go back to where i shot him......he tastes good though...darn i wish i could find that peice of paper....must have lost it when i moved...i think they green scored him at right about 150...he was 34 1/2" with 13 1/8" bases....no i'm going to have to search for that peice of paper....i think they did other things too....i know becky said that during the summer they had actualy done feild trips to collect sheep droppings around that area....not sure what they were looking for there ....they did plug the sheep though in i guess what would be the "correct" location....on the very back of the horn instead of on the side near the base where i've seen it done....that makes it really hard to pop the horns off to clean the skull....if i find that peice of paper i'll repost it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Chisana, I forgot to ask. What have your experiences been with sealing?
    Thanks for clarifying your post. Sometimes tone doesn't come across very well on the screen.

    My last sheep sealin experience was in 2005 (unfortunately) so I haven't had a set of horns plugged yet. That sheep was sealed in Delta Junction and little data was collected other than the basic harvest report information. Method of determining legality was the notorious "stick method".

    I would expect the program to evolve and improve over time. Given the fiscal approach that current administration is taking I would not expect ADF&G to be allocated any new funds for sheep surveys so if sealing might end up being the major sheep data gathering instrument. If that is the case then we need to work with ADF&G to make it happen properly.

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    Snyd, thanks for revisiting this, and thanks to those who've posted here.
    I know you had started a thread about this early in the season, and then I also asked for thoughts at the end of the sheep season.
    While a few guys were kind and added their experiences, overall it was disappointing how few posted.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=18605

    We posted about this in years past and had scores of interesting responses and thousands of views. It seems nowadays guys would rather complain about guides and chest beat about "rich" hunters getting their sheep.

    Too bad.

    Frank

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    Ya, no prob Chisana. I hope you get one this year! It seems to me that us hunters need to continue to object to the stick method.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chisana View Post
    I would expect the program to evolve and improve over time. Given the fiscal approach that current administration is taking I would not expect ADF&G to be allocated any new funds for sheep surveys so if sealing might end up being the major sheep data gathering instrument. If that is the case then we need to work with ADF&G to make it happen properly.
    I agree with you 100&#37; here and sure hope the program does evolve to more than just a means of law enforcement. This is part of the reason for starting this thread and definitely why I am very interested in this. If us sheep hunters are aware of the sealing programs intentions and F&G's recent commitment to collect bio data from us, then we should make every effort to see that they are doing just that. Not in a negative way but in a helpful way. If I see a trend that they are not gathering much data here in Fairbanks I'll probably contact F&G and talk to them. Maybe submit some kind of suggestions from a sheep hunters perspective or something. I'm open to ideas and input. I could bring it up at a local AC meeting or something.


    Frank- I had forgot about that thread that you started. I was the one who took FALCON to F&G to get his ram sealed and took the pics of him with Young here in Fairbanks last August. They did not gather any bio data from that ram which was taken by a guided non-res in the AK Range up the Wood. I would think F&G would be interested in data from there with it's history of guides and current guide pressure. They measured the horn lengths and bases and aged him. They used the eyeball method. But, it was pretty obvious that ram was legal.
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    I have taken three sheep in and this last season Tony K (Palmer ADFG Bio) allowed me to film the process for my TMA video. I asked questions and he gave me the reason on why they like it and want to keep it. Basically they like the interaction with the hunters. Most are sheep hunters and like most of us, love to talk about sheep hunting.

    They are keeping the same data that they would get by reading our harvest reports. I also mentioned my hunting area etcÖ but this info was not written down anywhere. Not sure they are using this information for any purposes and the data collected has no impact on how they manage sheep.

    A first time sheep hunters will find this informative, but for me (like others have mentioned) I didnít learn anything. They did not use either the pipe or stick methods. They eyeballed it. Overall it was painless and didnít take up much time.

    I still donít see much merit in it, but then again I donít have a choice!

    PS my taxidermist did mention that ADFG did plug a guyís sheep in the front. It is a very large sheep and it has the plug right out in the open. Glad this wasnít my sheep!

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    I dont see it as a harvest management tool in any way as of the fall of 2007, as I stated in the other thread. You go to the phone at the back of ADF&G , you tell them you have a sheep to seal and they say someone will be right back. Guy opens door, take measurements of horns, has you fill out the norm harvest report card and on your way you go. With the only change being the plug in the horns. Just dont see any management data being collected any more than there used to be. I know for a fact that some hunters dont even tell the complete truth as to where they actually got their sheep to avoid the accidental leaking out of their secret spots, unless of course its a draw hunt. I just dont see how they know for sure anything about the health of the sheep numbers in most units other than , yep we sealed a ram or two out of that sub unit. I have talked to area biologist for several units, in person, and theres not a lot of solid info being passed on, mostly asumptions from years past. Every once in a while they'll throw the comments out of , Guide X killed a lot of sheep in that area this many years ago and word has it they're thin in there but other than that they dont have a lot of productive info to hand out. I still believe that the sealing requirement does keep just a few more guys honest, cuz I know guys that have hunted sheep and cant tell you for sure with a close up picture if a ram is full curl or 8 years old, and if they didn't have to drag him (the ram) into F&G after shooting it, I believe he'd be legal in their eyes and that would be that.

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    The sheep i got this year was close to full curl. When i saw it and ultimately decided to shoot it i was confident it was full curl. When the first cop looked at it he had a hard time deciding that it was full curl. The sheep was only 7 years old. I put a stick on it and he said it was ok. His partner who had more experience came up and looked at it after this and said it was ok right off. And then he sealed it.
    Last year i got one in the same area that was a no brainer (38 and 1/4). I took it in to F&G to get sealed, and this year the only other hunter that i talked to in the area was an employee for fish and game. I hate to say it, but I might not be completely honest with my harvest reports in the future.

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    I would like to seal the plug in the skull. Putting the plug in the horn ruins it for being carving material. Sheep horns are legal to sell if popped off the core. I had mine sealed/plugged in Tok and was good. Took measurements, age, etc. I actually got to pick the place to put the plug. Good people @ Tok F & G.

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    Northway, did they get any other info from you or take any flesh samples of your ram?
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