I'm wondering who knows the logic or reasoning behind the requirement for guide for nonresidents hunting sheep or goats in Alaska? (I'll skip the bear hunting requirement since there is an aspect of dangerous game involved in that hunt.) I'm a long-time resident of AK and I have been able to enjoy week-long hunting trips for sheep simply by loading up a pack and picking up a harvest ticket. Now I may be moving to the lower 48 and if I do I will not be able to hunt sheep in AK without hiring a guide for about $10,000+.
My first thought is that there is a safety aspect to the guide requirement. But that makes little sense because I can still load up my backpack and travel in the backcountry for as long as I want and I do not need to hire a local guide. I can also hang out in the high country and photograph those same sheep, again without hiring a guide. So if I can travel freely in that backcountry as a nonresident, why do I suddenly need a guide if I want to hunt sheep or goats? Furthermore, I know plenty of long-term AK residents who know little about backcountry travel, etc. yet if they decide that they want to hunt sheep all they must do is buy a general resident license and pick up a harvest ticket.
My second thought was that perhaps the guide requirement is to make sure that non-residents only harvest legal sheep. But again there is little logic to this point. First, non-residents don't need a guide to hunt moose, even though most hunting areas have size requirements for legal bulls. Second, there is no requirement for residents to have a guide to ensure that they shoot legal rams.
It seems like the State has essentially set up a system to ensure income for guides, while taking away opportunities for many hunters. (I don't want to begrudge any of you guides from making a living and I know that many people enjoys lots of benefits from hunting with guides.) I'm wondering what others think about this situation.