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Thread: What is your definition of "opportunity"??

  1. #1

    Default What is your definition of "opportunity"??

    This question has kind of come up in another thread so I figured I would start another dedicated to this.

    What do you feel is hunter opportunity. The amount of time you are able to hunt for the animal IE length of season. Access?? The easier to access the area the greater to opportunity?? Transportation, no limit on what mode of transportation you can use in a given area means more opportunity?? The type of weapons used for the hunt like rifle is greater opportunity to take game generally than a bow??

    I feel that if you increase opportunity in one area it decreases it in another. Lets use an extreme case for example, if you would make the moose season a bow only season state wide the hunting season would likely be allowed to extend to atleast 3 or 4 times its current length based on hunter success rates with bows only in order to harvest the same amount of animals. This may give what many would consider more opportunity to hunt. However the success from that opportunity to hunt would likely be diminshed due lack of opportunity to use an easier means to take a moose (rifle) as well having strictly rifle hunters would have the opportunity to hunt at all while bow hunters would have MUCH more opportunity.

    Would you rather have a longer season with LOTS of opportunity to hunt or a shorter one with only 3 weeks to hunt but you would get to use a rifle?? Both have greater opportunity in different areas.

    Or take access for example. Non-motorized areas give those willing to hike great opportunity to get out away from the crowds while those that would rather use another means of transport would view it as a lack of opportunity. Those that like to hike view CUAs as an opportunity whereas those that don't feel as though that area lacks any opportunity.

    Another example would be that the late season Chugach sheep bow hunt is a great opportunity and it is as it extends the season.......if you happen to be bow hunter, certified, and own a bow. Obviously based on harvest results from this hunt the past several years F&G is OK with a few sheep taken on this hunt. So wouldn't it increase a greater portion of the hunting population of Alaska's (non-bowhunters) opportunity if they had a chance at this hunt if you limited to say 5 rifle tags instead of a bunch of bow only tags. The number of bow hunters in AK pales in the number of rifle hunters yet the vast majority of rifle hunters are excluded while a MUCH smaller group get this opportunity.

    Another example could be the haul road. We all know it is bow only within the 5(its really a 10 mile corridor IMO), but not for safety reasons as the pipeline doesn't stop where the DHCUA stops However if everyone, rifle hunters & bow hunters alike, were given the opportunity to hunt the corridor you could imagine that it would be another Chicken ridge or 40 mile event making for a traffic night mare up there and possibly shutting down the road for hunters use all together.

    So would it be more fair to just offer a number of draw tags for different windows of the year that the season is open to any weapon within the DHCUA corridor to perhaps better control the # of folks up there at a given time so that anyone rifle or bow hunter can hunt the corridor rather than restrict it to those that like to hike the 5 miles beyond with a rifle and archers???

    I have my own thoughts on each scenarios but I won't give my opinions on them just yet. Just threw them out there to get the ball rolling and provoke some thought on this.
    I guess my point is that you can't simply that you always argue for more opportunity. When you ask for more opportunity at times it takes opportunity away from others. I think that greater opportunity isn't as cut and dry as some believe.

  2. #2

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    To me this best describes "hunting opportunity". Lots of wild open space, lots of critters, year around season, bag limits, no other hunters and speedy and reliable transportation. When any of that changes you start loosing "opportunity". That is evidenced as soon as you read the hunting regulation's now as compared to when they were first put out. Lots of restrictions in the length of seasons, special seasons for different kinds of weapons and user groups, limited number of draw permits, the setting aside of a certain number of permits for non residents, antler restrictions, and transportation restrictions when hunting. I am not saying this is wrong for this day and age, just stating a few facts. Still, if you are strong, healthy and determined Alaska is the best thing the U.S. has to offer, enjoy it while you can and the "opportunity" is still here.

  3. #3
    Member kantill's Avatar
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    I can speak from a state that trys to limit the time, area and what and how you can hunt and I can tell you it sux. In fact right on the hunting forum that I belong to here in washington there is talk about a boycott next season. Opportunity is just that giving the hunter opportunity to hunt adding crazy laws that "manage" the animals "better" only take away the hunters opportunity.

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    AL you said a mouthful for sure - opportunities seem unique to the area one hunts and the game that is being hunted.
    For instance - here in C IL to hunt deer you either buy some land, buy a lease, or have some great connections to get a piece of land to deer hunt on. However, many landowners would gladly let you hunt coyotes for free!
    One thing that I would like to see change is we have some public lands that support deer hunting - however the use of any motorized vehicle is prohibited. Now, I would like to see that changed so that a hunter "could" use a vehicle to "retrieve" a dead deer. I have reached a point in my life that dragging a dead deer for several hundred yards is not going to happen. So, there are several hunters that loose the "opportunity" to hunt because they could not retrieve the game - that's sad.
    I am afraid as population numbers continue to grow we will all face a serious decline in opportunities.... Not sure how many people are enough but IMO we have went way beyond a good target number worldwide. When animal populations hit overload bad things happen to them - last time I checked we are also animals????
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I believe hunters will always have game on the plate through planning and knowledge of area hunted. I have hunted in moose seasons that only lasted four hours because the limit was reached due to advance research of the game. I think priority has more to do with it all then ways,means,days open etc
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    I will agree that opportunity is not a simple thing. For one thing its definition varies depending on who you are talking to, and what there preferred method of hunting and choice of game is. The health and sustainability of game populations is a PRIORITY I want to do this with my kids in twenty years. When it comes to the actual hunt, For me it is mostly about filling the freezer for me and my kids. Second would be quality of experience hunting, everything else like variety, challenge, and type of hunt (weapons, restrictions etc. ) comes after and while it is important it varies depending on what my freezer looks like and my health at the time. For example I will do the 40 mile hunt this winter. It is not an ideal situation for me, it's crowded, high pressure, and low on the peaceful experience scale but My freezer is empty and we need meat. The game population can withstand the hunt and my success rates on this hunt are pretty high. So I will go. Would I rather hunt a more ideal setting, you bet but this is what is available right now based on my situation. So I will do my best to take advantage of the opportunity. Some times I have the ability to hunt more along the lines of my ideal situation sometimes I don't. The fact is there are only so many critters and hunts have to be designed to preserve long term hunt opportunities. And I don't deserve anything more than anyone else. In an ideal situation I would rather everyone have the same opportunities then success depends on them and their commitment and willingness to hunt. As far as management goes I think it is a tough job to try and balance everything, when everyone wants a piece and many want an advantage. Almost Everybody has some reason why they feel they deserve something more, but when you open that can of worms where does it stop.... I think we are seeing the anwser right now in the way hunts are designed.
    60% of men don't know what they have until they lose it
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The opportunity that matters most to me is ability to go afield in pursuit of game. An example of a recent change that has curtailed this form of opportunity in favor of a different form is the change of portions of Units 13 and 14 from harvest ticket to drawing permit for sheep. The opportunity to harvest trophy quality rams will likely go up due to the new regulations, but now folks that have traditionally hunted that area can no longer go afield in these units. If we continue down this path in other sheep areas, soon the opportunity to hunt sheep yearly will be gone. Personally, I would rather have the opportunity to hunt sheep every year even if it meant more hunters and smaller rams as opposed to only being able to hunt when I draw a permit but being able to chase truly large rams. I'm not opposed to all drawing permits, but with sheep and moose, harvest can be controlled via size restrictions in order to provide more opportunity to go afield.

  8. #8

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    I kind of like the idea of a longer season with weapon's restrictions. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I would probably be in favor of a 2 or 3 month archery season instead of a 1 month rifle season. I go through withdrawls from not being able to hunt for so long. I'm not saying we should get rid of the rifle season, but I could see the advantage of maybe a 2 week rifle season and a 2 or 3 month long archery season. Our seasons are way too short in my opinion. Please, don't everyone yell at me at once. I know I'm gonna get some guff for this one.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    State law requires the Dept. to manage on a "maximum sustained yield" principle. F&G conducts counts and surveys. It then figures allowable harvest.............which would hopefully be a maximum sustained harvest. If the actual harvest each season is close to the "allowable harvest" then one could argue we are getting the maximum opportunity the resource can sustain.
    There are certainly means (CUAs, special weapons hunts) to increase certain opportunities without increasing harvest. That is where politics and the public come in.
    Join the local AC or attend the meetings. Put your 2 cents worth in.
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    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    Got to agree with Marten Trapper on this one... I just got back from the ac meeting up here in fairbanks. Wish I had gone sooner. The info was great, yeah some parts are dry but the comment was good and I got info I had a hard time acquiring otherwise. The ac members were available to talk to, and my questions were answered and comments heard. Crowd was sad though as ac members out numbered audience. There is nothing like hearing it from the horses mouth, I will be a regular attendee after tonight (Thanks Vince for the push) Attending really helped me see what was the thinking, politics, or science behind the decisions on issues presented. Plus there were smoked salmon sticks and coffee.... Way better than cookies :-)
    60% of men don't know what they have until they lose it
    15% aren't sure but figure it's better than nothing
    25% know exactly what they have and would do anything to lose it or give it to someone else

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akfishfool View Post
    Got to agree with Marten Trapper on this one... I just got back from the ac meeting up here in fairbanks. Wish I had gone sooner. The info was great, yeah some parts are dry but the comment was good and I got info I had a hard time acquiring otherwise. The ac members were available to talk to, and my questions were answered and comments heard. Crowd was sad though as ac members out numbered audience. There is nothing like hearing it from the horses mouth, I will be a regular attendee after tonight (Thanks Vince for the push) Attending really helped me see what was the thinking, politics, or science behind the decisions on issues presented. Plus there were smoked salmon sticks and coffee.... Way better than cookies :-)
    man! we had a crowd tonight...wait till next month.. election day on the 8th... there will be 70 folks there all lined up with a list of names in their hands... and five slots up for bid this year...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't sleep :-)

    70 You sure thats not wishful thinking! I don't envy those on the lists. What a thankless job, but I have to say Certain members apparent commitment seemed strong, people like that usually get my respect even when I disagree. At least they take the time to do what they can. I look forward TO BEING MORE EDUCATED AND being able to contribute when I can. I may only be one, but I will take part, who knows maybe in a few years we can get one more.
    60% of men don't know what they have until they lose it
    15% aren't sure but figure it's better than nothing
    25% know exactly what they have and would do anything to lose it or give it to someone else

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default well I'll probably take flak for some of this <grin>

    In talking about hunting opportunity, I think it's important to look at how the common man/woman hunter has lost opportunity elsewhere in the past.

    The biggest reason for lost opportunity in the lower 48 is loss of big wild public lands through privatization, urban/suburbanization and widespread development and exploitation.

    So my definition of opportunity revolves around what we need first and foremost...those big wild public lands that hunters have access to, in some form.

    Secondly, I firmly believe that each individual state should give a clear and heavy preference to resident hunters over non-res hunters as to harvest allocations. The fact Alaska hasn't yet capped non-res dall sheep allocations at 10-15% statewide is not only a travesty, but it clearly doesn't fall in line with what our own state constitution demands.

    Many of the problems we have with lost opportunity for sheep, for example, stem from the power and clout of the guide industry in Alaska, and too many years of unlimited guide numbers and general non-res open seasons. The real reason the sheep hunt Brian mentioned got to the point it did was because of this. It's going to happen statewide in the future too, and will happen a lot faster if we don't cap the non-res allocation as other states do. That's the right and fair thing to do imo. But if you look at what orgs are fighting against that, you will understand why things haven't yet changed and where all the real power is and just what industry can influence things the most. Not bashing guides here, many are friends and it is certainly an honorable profession, but I am continually shocked that so many resident hunters don't see the big picture on this and continue to support orgs and policies that actually work against their Resident-First interests.

    Overall, if you take a hard look at how we allocate game to non-residents in this state...why would we allow any non-res opportunity in IM areas that haven't yet met the objectives? How can the state claim that IM law and predator control to meet those objectives is all about "putting food on the tables of Alaskans" when the state allows unlimited non-resident hunting opportunity of, say, the Fortymile herd? It's crazy. Same thing goes for moose in other IM areas that are below objectives, why would we allow non-resident opportunity in those areas? (the answer is really about "money" - but there are ways for us to pony up more ourselves in order to have a clear resident preference and opportunity)

    Often too, imo, too much opportunity in terms of means of access ends up leading to lost opportunity. Just look at how many of the CUAs were initially formed and who supported the formation of those...it was mostly local Advisory Committees concerned that too much access was leading, would lead, to lost opportunity and success.

    And here again the Fortymile registration hunt is another example. Because of the problems associated with that maximum opportunity for all (unlimited # of registration permits, including non-residents, and unrestricted ATV access), the August 10th opener has now become an August 29th opener. What that did is take away youth hunting opportunity by making the season after the school term begins. Sure, some will still take their kids out of school to do the hunt, but many won't or can't. And in talking with ADFG staff about that particular herd and hunt and what we will do once it reaches the IM population goal...well it's turning into a deal where they are afraid to again open it wide to everyone in early August on the roaded zones.

    As said, opportunity is many things to many people. Some want walk-in-only oppportunity, some want guaranteed ATV access with no restrictions. Some want fly-in access, some want to spot sheep from the air and pick out individual rams. And for some, just the opportunity itself is enough without being successful.

    Overall though, what happens when we make things "easier"? What happens when we allow unlimited means of access with no restrictions? What happens when, as the Delta AC chair once pointed out at a BOG meeting, we allow ATVs up to the sheep country?

    Open the Dalton corridor to snowmachine or atv access, as has been pushed in the past...does that end up providing more or less real opportunity ten years down the line?

    Same could be said for the way we managed the Mulchatna herd...the state went for "maximum opportunity," even went so far as to allow SDA "meat" hunts, and now look what we've got. It is our own greed, as I've said before, for maximum opportunity (including maximum means of all access), that often comes back to bite us down the line.

    And for Brian...I think we should seriously discuss sometime on this forum the notion that antler/horn restrictions alone can control harvests to where we have sustainable healthy populations. I don't believe that always can work. And I have become very concerned about how that is working with moose in some areas like out here, with all the legal bigger bulls getting shot out and the cows then breeding with the younger bulls (or not getting bred at all) who may not carry those same genetics. I think there is a point we reach with certain populations where horn/antler restrictions aren't enough to ensure sustainability that leads to continued opportunity and continued health/purity of the overall game population.

    Just my humble opinion <grin>. Apologies to the non-res hunters out there if this came across harsh, love to have you guys come hunting up here and experience Alaska and contribute to our fish and game funding and local economies, just want our state to do as yours do and fairly limit non-res allocations so us year-round residents have a clear hunting opportunity preference, especially when it comes to sheep/goat and any game population below objectives.

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    Holy wow!....I couldn't agree with you any more Mark!..

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post


    Same could be said for the way we managed the Mulchatna herd...the state went for "maximum opportunity," even went so far as to allow SDA "meat" hunts, and now look what we've got. It is our own greed, as I've said before, for maximum opportunity (including maximum means of all access), that often comes back to bite us down the line.
    I'll disagree with this part, Mark.
    Allowable harvest figures were set for the Mul herd and seasons bag limits made to allow for that harvest. If human harvest had anything to do with the herds decline, then it wasn't greed that caused it. It was mistakes on the Dept.s part. If the dept. harvests goals are proper, allowing maximum opportunity to achieve those goals is not green. It is compliance with the law.

    By and large, most all decreases in opportunity here, and in the lower 48, come from population increases. Human pop. that is. More hunters, more harvest. Plain and simple. Want to increase sheep hunting "opportunity"? Keep more sheep hunters home!!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  16. #16
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Mike, yeah I hear ya, but I think with the Mulchatna herd the allowable harvest figures were based more on greed (need for more DWC revenues from non-res license/tag fees particularly) and a "get 'em while they are out there in such numbers" push from residents and guides and air taxis, and not sustainability and future continued opportunities on a more moderate scale. I definitely believe that human (over) harvests greatly exacerbated the decline, of which non-resident hunters played a big role, even though those harvests were within the scope of the newer legal bag limits etc approved by the Board of Game.

    Other factors played a role for sure, habitat and weather and predation factors...but the state was too late in recognizing how bad it was getting before shutting it done severely.

    One other point if I may, I do think it's important to recognize that we don't manage game in Alaska on the MSY basis and nowhere is that enshrined in state law that I know of. We've had many discussions on that point here, wrapped around what it says in Article 8 of our constitution and why the founders did not choose to use the word "maximum" in front of "sustained yield" in our constitution. So it's "sustained yield" for the "maximum benefit" of the people (meaning Alaskans!)

    IM law definitely leans toward an MSY philosophy but even in that statute it refers to managing "consistent with sustained yield through active management" etc. I know this seems like a minor point, but actually biologically speaking it's a really large difference in mgmt philosophies and outcomes between a sustained yield mgmt policy and a MSY policy.
    Cheers,

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