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Thread: Why there is a full-curl harvest

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    Default Why there is a full-curl harvest

    I remember someone touching on 3/4-curl harvest vs full-curl. Here is something I found in a book (remember those? )

    "The 3/4-curl regulation was poorly suited to Dall's sheep biology and caused subtle, long-term negative efffects to the heavily hunted populations where mature rams were completely removed...Following (the) discovery that the negative effects of ram overharvest could be reversed by harvesting only mature rams, and that hunters could actually harvest more rams as a result, Dall's sheep hunters proposed in 1989 an end to the 50-year span of 3/4-curl harvest. This proposal was the first to factor the subtleties of animal behavior into harvest management of big game in Alaska, and perhaps the entire United States. Consequently, it was highly contriversial. As a result of compelling public testimony, the Alaska Board of Game passed the present regulations limiting ram harvest to full-curl or eight-year-old rams, or rams with horns broomed off on both sides. After the change to full-curl ram harvest, lamb production doubled, and immature ram survival increased dramatically. Eventually, harvests of full-curl rams exceeded those sustained by ther same populations as under the 3/4-curl rule." (Return to Royalty, Toweill & Geist. pg. 49)

    The book also says that the bag limit for Dall's was two (any ram) up to 1942, except in the Brooks Range which ended the two bag limit in 1970. Anyone here a survivor of the "two ram days"?
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    if i'm not mistaken there are a couple of subsitnace areas that have a three sheep limit in alaska still, don't have the regs in front me but...hang on..ya units 22,23,24,25 and 26 all have areas that have a three sheep limit open from aug to april. residents only some of them restrict airplane access but its not legal rams its any sheep. Theres a resident sheep hunters dream, hit the country and pick up three rams...shoot you've got tons of time to do it and you can do it from a snowmachine...horns never fall off meat would be great and the hides would be awesome!!

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    Better check that book again BR...............ain't any sheep in 22.
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    yep my bad, started my counting to early, thanks.

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    Red face Sheep regs

    375:
    Thanks for the excerpt. I think one of those authors conducted a lot of sheep research and could provide valuable perspective on the reasoning for the reg. Just curious, it looks like you are in BC. Do you have the same sheep harvest regs in Canada as we do in AK? Cause people seem to comment on the great sheep hunting there.

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    brno cant' you hunt sheep in some areas in canada in july??

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    Default Sheep hunting in B.C./Canada

    BRWNBR

    I believe you can hunt Dall's in the NWT in July, but I do not know for sure. There is a new DVD released by the Lancasters showing Dall's hunts in the NWT; The Guide's Eye: "Nahanni Twisters" Vol XIV. Absolutely beautiful country and some very nice rams.

    Sollybug

    We in B.C. are fortune enough to be able to hunt Dall's, Stone's, Rockies, and Cali's. Bag limit is one sheep but region 7 has a one in three years limit. I know at one time the bag limit used to be two, and it was any ram. Resident sheep hunters number about 1850 while non-res are around 400 (based on the number of sheep tags purchased). All sheep must be compulsory inspected within 10 days of kill.

    Hunting for true Dall's ( pop. 500) is by Limited Entry Hunting (draw) only, in the Tatshenshini area. Odds are quite good at 2.0:1 and 7.7:1.

    Stone's (pop. 14500) have a GOS though there are some draws for parks, like the Spatsizi. Odds are low there as well at 3.6:1.

    The season for Thinhorns is Aug 1-Oct 15, and can only be harvested if they are full-curl or mature (8+ yrs old). The reasons why the odds are low for the above draws are: 1. Access is difficult 2. The areas are at the completely other end of the province, away from the population base. (We're all lined up along the 49th parallel, waiting to invade ) 3. There are so many other places to go without a draw and 4. With only one application per species, some hunters put in for the extremely high odd areas for the "once in a lifetime hunts", like Kamloops Lake for Cali's at 600:1. The reason this area has high odds is because access is extremely easy, the area is central to the population, and it is managed for trophy rams.

    There is a GOS for Cali's and Rockies ( pop. 3600 and 3000) in some management units with a full-curl restriction, and I know one place that has a mature ram area. There is a LEH in other areas, allowing for any ram, or a 3/4-curl, or a ewe/lamb, or the draw is before the general season opens, or after it closes. The 3/4-curl allows hunters to harvest mature rams as most Cali's reach full-curl at 6 years, and then broom off. There are Cali's that are both broomed and full-curl. Everyone is looking for those. The season runs from Sept 10-Oct 20th (or 25th in some mu's). There was a huge die off of Cali's in the late 1990's in the Okanagan that ended the GOS and now a LEH has been in place for about three years. There is a transplant scheduled for January to put eggs in more baskets, so to speak, and to hopefully create another area to hunt sheep.

    We do not have an organized wolf kill, but there is a season for wolves. Back in the day they used to be poisoned. Coyotes are predators as well, and prey on lambs. Good winter range and mild weather help sheep the most to make it through another year.

    Habitat has been created artificially in the north through burns, and besides helping sheep, it has helped the elk there as well. The one good thing about the north is that it is barely populated, so no one complains about smoke, air quality, trouble breathing, etc. However, in the south, where the troops, ...er..I mean, the population is denser, burns have not been completed as often as they should because of high winds, extremely dry conditions, complaints because of smoke, etc. The problem is actually man made because of fire suppression to "save the trees". Instead of fighting the forest fire, nature should have been left to run it's course. All the brush would have been cleared, and more grassland would have been created. Instead, brush over took grassland, decreasing habitat, and at the same time, provided more fuel for the next fire, which was fought, etc, etc, etc. It turns out that the brush fires before fire fighting days would not kill the trees, but would just blacken them. Hindsight is 20/20.

    One more problem is the transfer of disease from domestic to wild sheep. Education is the key here.

    Draws here are only open to residents (ok, raise your hand if your heart just sank), and all non-residents must hire a guide/outfitter. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wild/non...outfitters.htm Each g/o has their own territory, and hires guides, ass't guides, wranglers, cooks, etc. Species such as sheep, goat, and grizz are under quota based on 3 years, but it will go to 5 years in 2007. G/o's are on a ten year contract with the province for their territory.

    For a non-res to hunt sheep, it would cost about $25,000 US, plus flights, hotels before and after, etc. My hunting license is $25 + $7 for the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and $1.92 in taxes. A sheep tag is $48 + $12 for the HCTF and $3.60 in taxes for a grand total of $97.52. (ok, raise your hand if you are moving here). Outfitting oneself for sheep hunting is another matter completely...

    One last thing that I will mention is that a special LEH has been created for both sheep and elk. Applications are $15 (plus tax of course) and the number of times an individual can enter is unlimited. The winner is allowed to take one more animal for that species in that year. Even though the bag limit is two for this person, there can only be one uncancelled tag in their licence booklet at one time. It gives the animals a sporting chance. From what I understand, this was put in place to raise money and even the playing field for resident/non-res opportunities. It is the response to the equivalent of a "governor's tag". One sheep for a non-res, and one for a resident.

    I hope this gives some insight to sheep in B.C., and I would be happy to answer any more questions.
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    Smile bc sheep

    Interesting. The low percentage draws sound ominously familiar. I like the every two or three years concept better than a draw if we ever have to restrict harvest further here in Alaska. We have the same problems here in Southcentral Alaska with fire supression and loss of habitat but lately interior Alaska has been burning like a torch. The moose will love it. I also didnt know that most of the sheep are not actually Dall. Sounds like there is a lot of hunting in BC and the price is right for locals. I dont know what Alaskas ratio of resident to nonresident hunting is but I wish it was similar to yours where the residents get most of the opportunity. Thanks for the info.

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    Sollybug

    I too would rather have an open season rather than a LEH. With an open season hunters can learn an area by being able to go in every year and not being restricted to only when they get the draw. You can read all the books you want, but nothing beats experience. It also allows hunters to be choosey. Instead of smacking the first small young full-curl they see because they are afraid it will be their only chance, they can wait and look for a 10+ year old. Leave the young one to get older and grow bigger.

    Lack of experience will also lead to a smaller success rate. The "problem" resident sheep hunters are facing in some areas here is they are not making their quota. Because of this, the g/o's are convincing the gov't to let them have some of the resident share, and to get in writing a guaranteed harvest percentage. I personally do not see it as a "problem" as long as there is not a risk to specific sheep populations through disease or starvation because of overcrowding. The first priority of the Ministry is conservation, so why not let the ram live another year to get bigger? It will not benefit the g/o (or the gov't) monitarily, but his reputation for big mature rams will circulate. If I was a g/o I would push for more quota as well. It is a buisness and I understand that. The one thing that is missing from the new proposal is a guaranteed percentage for residents. That is the biggest reason why hunters are upset. Just because residents do not meet their harvest numbers, does not mean that they did not have an opportunity to pull the trigger. I know many hunters who pass on young small legal rams in search of the monarch (some Stone's have been known to reach full-curl at 5 years of age when there is abundant feed with high nutrient value). Unfortunately in the questionaire we get for harvest stats, the question "Did you have an opportunity to harvest a ram?" is not included.

    So if this proposal goes through (and it looks like it will), what action does the resident have to ensure future hunting opportunity? As far as I can tell, there are two: 1. In areas where resident quota is not being met, shoot the first legal ram you see. It is not the correct path to take imo. 2. Bite the pillow and try to convince the gov't to give resident's a guaranteed minimum before all opportunity is lost in some areas AND hunt areas with low sucess but only harvest the old boys. Quota's will be reviewed and reset every five years.

    There is one area that I wish to hunt and it is only available through LEH. Resident success is low and quota is not being met, so in theory there should be some nice rams in the area. It would be better if the area was open to a GOS but because it is in a park, opportunity is limited. Access would best be served with horses, though there is a lake to land on and a river to take a boat up, but there is still a lot of walking after that. It isn't a place to go alone.

    On another note, the provincial average for sheep harvested by non-residents is approximately 55%.

    Feel free to say what you like or dislike about how the system is set up here. If you see a way to improve it, tell me.

    Happy new year everyone.
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    Default 3 sheep limit

    According to ADFG these are registration hunts, at least in 26. In 26 only one sheep "reported' killed in last 3 years. Either people dont report or it is not worth the effort Im guessing. No planes allowed in 26A and the season don't start in 26B and 26C until OCT 1st. Cold

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    Numbers wise we are smoking them! Both guided and none guided. Start charging 25k or so for a dall and you'll start to see more sheep survive! (HOPEFULLY).

    I for one don't like the one every 3 years being a strictly bowhunter for sheep. At my current rate I've shot or had the opportunity to shoot one only once in a 3 year period (pretty selective in shot selections!). So I've I shot one this year, the way my personal averages goes, it would take another 6 years on the average for me just to have the opportunity at a legal ram! Maybe we should make it a one every 3 years with a gun. And if you killed one with a gun, you cannot switch over to a bow in the other 2 "off years" ?

    Also I believe canada has a pretty tight stipulation on how many sheep each outfit (guide) can shoot out of an area. Something Alaska should start considering, to help keep outfitters bouncing around the state, taking 20 or 30 people a year, scoring 100% on a yearly basis, moving operations around to accomadate sheep kills. Something about being conservationists of the resource here that doesnt jive imho!

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    whos moving around after they clean an area out?

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    Tradbow

    The one in three is for Region 7, but I can still take a ram out of the other regions every year.

    I think it would be hard to enforce a rule that stated you could still harvest a sheep every year in a 1 in 3 area if you used a bow. An early bow season or a bow only area may be a start. It would really depend on the ethics of the hunter. You should never believe sheep hunters anyway.
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    it's a not so uncommon known fact of guides using and abusing areas, only moving onto others. I would hope these are the minority however putting numbers of outfits to the table could only be a stab in the dark. I do know of a couple outfits doing something similar, though not illegal, it raise's atleast my eyebrows!

    That said, lets look at something else before we give up a 1 sheep and 3 years off ideal for the DIY'rs.

    The number of resident vs guided hunters and the success rates of resident vs guided hunters. Again I can't justify taking away from not only the smaller of the two groups (not taking into account those who have tags and DO NOT hunt!) but which also has the lesser of the two success rates.

    As far as the bow deal, just my person passion and observations! Maybe we should start going buy rifle and bow liscense's. Not to mention upping draw fee's and making non residents send the full amount for the tag into fish and game before the deadline! (making sure the tag gets paid for 1 and to help accure interest on the total sum). This is another hole ideal though, moving into tomorrow instead of living in last years shoes!!! Stands to reason fish and game is frustrated with the BOG/BOF and our current directions we are headed.

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    as far as bow tags for sheep go, in 14c i'd like to see the archery only tag dates moved up to the first two weeks of august, rather than the end of the regular season. having a bow season after a rifle season for an animal like that don't make much sense as far as success goes, but i know thats not why they offer these hunts.
    Tradbow, do me a favor if youwould and pm the names of the guides you think are using,abusing and moving. its a hard concept for me to figure out since guides only operate in three areas per year and don't like to take clients to unfamiliar ground. be curious to look into it more.
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    I saw a guy shoot a "texas dall sheep" on a hunting show once then they pulled the pick up around because "boy is that gonna look good on his wall" whats worse is that it was a kid who shot it.

    As far as the 14c bow season go's theres a reason the permit has the highest draw rate of any sheep permit, its a **** hard hunt. There are a lot of sheep in 14c but not that many.
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    There are a lot of sheep in 14c but not that many.[/QUOTE]

    what? lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    as far as bow tags for sheep go, in 14c i'd like to see the archery only tag dates moved up to the first two weeks of august, rather than the end of the regular season. having a bow season after a rifle season for an animal like that don't make much sense as far as success goes, but i know thats not why they offer these hunts.
    Is it because sheep are on winter range and rutting? Why not have a bow season that opens up before AND runs longer? More opportunity for the resident, and for a form of hunting with a lower success rate so there would not be any risk of overharvest.
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    thats what i'm saying have the season earlier. rather than oct when the snow is coming and the sheep are super spooky from getting shot at and hunted for two months. but more sheep would get killed so they'd give out less tags and that probably wouldnt' sit well with folks. i think people are happy to have a decent chance at drawing a tag, even if they have a less than decent chance at actually getting sheep.
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    here is a copy of a comment made years ago on one of the boards made by the biologist that did the study. To me makes it alot easier to agree with the full curl rule.


    To All:
    I'm the biologist responsible for the full curl regulation in Alaska. Here's a brief history of how it happened:
    When I started studying Dall sheep in 1971, Alaska had the 3/4 curl rule. We'd inherited it from Wyoming via Washington DC during territorial days. The 3/4 curl might make some sense for bighorns in Wyoming, but the regulation was equivalent to "bucks only" or "cocks only" harvest rules which really had no biological justification. They were just more conservative than open seasons when populations were scarce.
    My early field work in Alaska consisted of studying a bunch of collared ewes I'd "inherited" from an unusually far-sighted biologist named Jim Erickson. Jim was killed on a sheep survey in the Brooks Range in 1970. He and my original partner had trapped and collared about 200 ewes in the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. That's where I got my start. As part of our work, we kept track of these ewes and how they did reproductively. What we found was that they often had lambs early (delivering at 2 years of age), but seldom had lambs two years in a row.
    That population was a high density one, and subjected to an intense 3/4 curl harvest. Initially, managers thought the poor reproduction was due to crowding and insufficient food to go around. However, during our work (which included lots of winter backpacking to determine home winter ranges in the study area---radiocollars had not been invented yet) we noticed that the ewes weren't weaning lambs in October as they should have. They were carrying them on milk all the way through to April. Usually extended nursing periods are signs of good range...ewes don't nurse lambs very long on poor quality food. Also, the fact that many yearlings were being bred suggested food wasn't limiting. Usually early breeding is a sign of good, not poor range.
    So, what were we to do? The data didn't suggest a nutritional problem, but the population was at high density. Eventually, I prevailed on the managers to let me do a comparative nutritional study on a population which was in about the same conditions weather wise but was 150 miles east of the study area. This area is now called the Tok Management Area, and has been managed for trophies since 1974...about the time I went there to work.
    When we looked at ewes there (where populations were not dense, and horn growth was fantastic) we found they virtually never bred till the age of three years, and then had a baby every spring. They also ended nursing "on schedule" in October.
    Before we got into a wholesale slaughter of ewes in the original study area, we compared the nutrition available to each group. There was no difference!
    This meant that the most likely explanation of why one population was outreproducing the other had to do with something other than food. The obvious difference between the groups was the number and age structure of rams. The good group had many more rams, and way more old rams...because it was managed for trophy hunting by the state's first full curl rule...which came along in 1974.
    Through a series of biopolitical events which are too complex to discuss in this biological story, we eventually changed the regulations in the poor area to 7/8 of a curl. That fixed the "early breeding" and "alternate year" reproduction problem, but the harvest of 7/8 curl rams didn't increase any over what it had been at 3/4 curl.
    Eventually we figured out that the reason we had more lambs but not more rams to shoot was that the survival of the lambs to 7/8 curl size was poor. As it turned out, the young rams were becoming active as social dominants (and breeders) before they should have because old rams (full curls) keep the youngsters in their place till they are physically and socially ready to breed. Once any ram starts breeding, his life expectancy is short. The stress of breeding kills them in only a few years. If they start at about 8 years (normal full curl age--except in the Brooks Range where it takes 10 years on average) the oldest survivors will be about 12 when they die. If they start at 2.5 years of age, they will die at about the age when they would normall be reaching 7/8 of a curl.
    All this took about 20 years. The first full curl reg was in the Tok Management Area in 1974. Then a couple of units went full curl as an experiment about 1984. We went statewide (except for the Brooks Range--again for political not biological reasons) in 1989, and finally statewide in 1993 or so...if my memory serves me correctly. If you want specifics, email me at .
    When we went to full curl, we noticed that given the same ewe base (population size) our harvests soon went up by about 35 percent. Subsequently, as others in this forum have pointed out, bad weather and high predation depleted the populations to where we are in a real mess now. Unless fish and game (I retired three years ago). I now serve as a Director of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. Thanks to Paula Karres from Foundation Headquarters in Cody WY for turning me on to this forum.
    If you want to know more about management of wild sheep in North America, I suggest you contact Kevin Hurley of the Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council.... Kevin is executive director of the Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council, and can put you onto the latest and most complete book on sheep management in North America. It came our of a conference we had in Reno during April of 1999. The whole story about Alaska's full curl regs is there, along with much, much more.
    Thanks for reading. Keep thinking and asking those questions. Regards to all. Wayne

    -Pat
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

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