AK Sheep BOG Comments due Oct 13

wildwilderness

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wildwilderness

wildwilderness

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Eagle River, AK
Alaska sheep are hurting pretty bad after a couple bad winters. Something needs to be done if it will ever recover.

Here are some points I submitted-

Need to stop all subsistence hunts

Need to proactively help sheep populations, like Western Brooks not just say- its the weather and do NOTHING like the past 20 yrs

Money to fund this can come from increased locking tags fees for Non-Residents AND actually add a locking tag fee for Residents! will cut down on opportunist sheep kills and create a new source of revenue for Sheep only. Increase fines for Sub-legal Harvest! make it a real penalty! And suspend sheep hunt privileges for years. Guides will also need to pay a substantial fine if a client kills a sub legal, maybe should be a fine as big as what they charged the client?? Yes!

Ideas for proactive action-
Habitat improvement! actively light fires to clear brush and create food, especially in winter range!
Transplant sheep from non-huntable herds, Nat'l Parks, private lands. some areas may have numbers so low its not possible to repopulate otherwise.
 

bpietila

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Northwest AK
The way I understand it is subsistence hunts in Alaska will always trump “non subsistence” or sport hunts.

I am curious on ways to proactively help sheep populations. I hear predator control would help. I think it could, but the western brooks is a huge area with difficult access.

There are not a lot of escape features where the sheep are by me. I’m sure the wolves get after them pretty good. I’m also curious about bears. I regularly find bear eaten caribou calves in the spring.
 
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wildwilderness

wildwilderness

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The way I understand it is subsistence hunts in Alaska will always trump “non subsistence” or sport hunts.

I am curious on ways to proactively help sheep populations. I hear predator control would help. I think it could, but the western brooks is a huge area with difficult access.

There are not a lot of escape features where the sheep are by me. I’m sure the wolves get after them pretty good. I’m also curious about bears. I regularly find bear eaten caribou calves in the spring.
Fish and game claim depredation does not help. Evidence is based on units where extensive depredation work (bears and wolves) had been done for moose and caribou herds. Sheep in these same areas did not show any population advantage to other sheep areas without depredation efforts

A glaring hole though in any sheep depredation study is Golden eagles! Of course they haven’t tested killing eagles in Sheep range,BUT with Goldens at an all time high in the last 50+ years there may be a conflict….
 

BrooksRanger

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I definitely support the idea of a locking tag for residents and non residents for sheep. I'd go even further and suggest a fee for resident sheep tags as well. I know that will probably never happen, but given the enormous investment most residents have to go hunt sheep what would $20 or $30 dollars mean....
 
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wildwilderness

wildwilderness

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I definitely support the idea of a locking tag for residents and non residents for sheep. I'd go even further and suggest a fee for resident sheep tags as well. I know that will probably never happen, but given the enormous investment most residents have to go hunt sheep what would $20 or $30 dollars mean....
I saw make it at least $200-300 for residents and $2000-3000 for non residents!

Another proactive action would be to provide extra minerals for sheep! It will definitely help in overall health of the animals. Like vitamins. Probably increase lambing rates and survival…. At least a study needs to be done on it.
 

fatbacks

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If the meeting is non-regulatory, will they take any actions?

I would like to see depredation in the area where I hunt, although not sure the Feds would allow it. We saw a lot of wolves and they were hunting sheep.

I like the idea of locking tags - maybe just do it like Grizzly bears where they're only required in certain units with declining sheep populations.

I wish the AK WSF would take the lead on what to do proactively to help sheep populations. They have a big fundraiser every year and then crickets for the most part the rest of the year.

I would love to see something about more stiff penalties - even if you self report - for shooting sub legal sheep. Wait 4 years to hunt again and more fines. I know how hard it is to walk away from squeaker rams, but man, I saw a few photos of some taken this year that were confiscated and it blows my mind that someone would think they're legal.
 

Movi

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Just shut sheep hunting down 100% across the state. If you truly care about dall sheep you shouldn’t have an issue with it. Any other action is just a feel good measure.

Sometimes if you love something and really care for it you have to let it go. Good bye sheep hunting. It was a good run.

With love,
Movi
 

JBrown1

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Just shut sheep hunting down 100% across the state. If you truly care about dall sheep you shouldn’t have an issue with it. Any other action is just a feel good measure.

Sometimes if you love something and really care for it you have to let it go. Good bye sheep hunting. It was a good run.

With love,
Movi
Nearly all dall sheep hunting removes only surplus rams. So how would closing down all dall sheep hunting help sheep populations?

It would leave more mature rams on the mountain, but what effect will that have on overall sheep populations?

I'm having trouble understanding your logic.
 

Movi

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Nearly all dall sheep hunting removes only surplus rams. So how would closing down all dall sheep hunting help sheep populations?

It would leave more mature rams on the mountain, but what effect will that have on overall sheep populations?

I'm having trouble understanding your logic.
How do you truly know how many are “surplus”?

Do you think there’s no negative affect to targeting the mature rams year after year? Imagine if you did that to the human population and left a bunch of teenagers/young adults to run everything.

Are all those sublegals surplus? What about the pile of 7 year olds killed this year? Surplus?
 

JBrown1

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How do you truly know how many are “surplus”?

Do you think there’s no negative affect to targeting the mature rams year after year? Imagine if you did that to the human population and left a bunch of teenagers/young adults to run everything.

Are all those sublegals surplus? What about the pile of 7 year olds killed this year? Surplus?
I'm don't want to get off into the weeds discussing the finer points of sheep management, I am just interested in understanding your position that we should support a statewide hunting ban. But you didn't answer my question, so I'll ask again:

You said: "Just shut sheep hunting down 100% across the state. If you truly care about dall sheep you shouldn’t have an issue with it. Any other action is just a feel good measure", so again I ask: if we leave more rams on the mountain, what effect will it have on sheep populations?

Do we have any evidence to suggest that the effect would be positive rather than negative?

Or to put it another way: is there any proof that a hunting ban would actually help sheep populations, as opposed to just being another feel good measure?
 

Movi

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I'm don't want to get off into the weeds discussing the finer points of sheep management, I am just interested in understanding your position that we should support a statewide hunting ban. But you didn't answer my question, so I'll ask again:

You said: "Just shut sheep hunting down 100% across the state. If you truly care about dall sheep you shouldn’t have an issue with it. Any other action is just a feel good measure", so again I ask: if we leave more rams on the mountain, what effect will it have on sheep populations?

Do we have any evidence to suggest that the effect would be positive rather than negative?

Or to put it another way: is there any proof that a hunting ban would actually help sheep populations, as opposed to just being another feel good measure?
I answered your question so answer mine.

What positives are there to the sheep by killing them?

You said there’s a surplus, how can there be a surplus when the population is down everywhere? Look where our current “surplus” management practice has gotten us….

Next you’re going to tell me the old rams don’t matter?

How are we going to get the mature rams back when half the harvest is 7 year olds?

You want “proof” from me but show my your “proof” that there are surplus rams. Just because a ram doesn’t get shot at 8 or 9 (and now 7) makes it a “surplus”.

Stop the sheep hunting, it’s the right thing to do. Find other ways to boost your 4 day pack outs and Xxx miles back in.
 
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JBrown1

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I answered your question so answer mine.

What positives are there to the sheep by killing them?

You said there’s a surplus, how can there be a surplus when the population is down everywhere? Look where our current “surplus” management practice has gotten us….

Next you’re going to tell me the old rams don’t matter?

How are we going to get the mature rams back when half the harvest is 7 year olds?

You want “proof” from me but show my your “proof” that there are surplus rams. Just because a ram doesn’t get shot at 8 or 9 (and now 7) makes it a “surplus”.

Stop the sheep hunting, it’s the right thing to do. Find other ways to boost your 4 day pack outs and Xxx miles back in.
I was mistaken, you did answer my question, but I didn't recognize your answer because I had worded my question too vaguely.

What I should have asked was: How do we know that leaving more surplus(mature) rams on the mountain will have the effect of increasing the overall sheep population?

I am interested to hear your answer for the simple reason that I can't come up with an answer myself.

To answer your questions:
Are there positives to killing older(8+yo) rams, as opposed to leaving them alone?
- One positive that comes to mind is the fact that fewer rams on the mountain leaves more resources(food) for the lambs and ewes. More resources should mean better lamb survival and less winterkill, which should led to more sheep, including more young rams.
*But, I am not saying that this means that fewer rams is better, or worse, for the population.

Regarding "surplus" animals. You and I are referring to different definitions of the term surplus. I was referring to what the biologists call "surplus rams", meaning rams that are mature(8+) and are theoretically not necessary to the breeding capacity of the herd due to ability of the younger rams to breed in place of the older rams. So the term "surplus ram" means the rams that are surplus to the breeding requirements of the herd. I don't know that I can prove to you that there are surplus rams, but I'm sure that you(or anyone) would agree that rams past a certain age are not necessary to the herd(8yo is the current accepted age, but anyone might claim a different age as the cutoff)
*This has been the agreed upon science for decades, but I am not saying that it is correct.

I have no idea if "old rams matter". I will say that there is no hard evidence to support it, but why else would sheep have evolved to run in bands that consist of multiple age classes?
*side note: "Old Rams Matter" should be printed on shirts BLM style.

I agree that killing 7yo sheep isn't good.

To be honest, I see closing sheep hunting as a "feel good measure" because there is no science to suggest that it would have the desired effect. Does this sound like a plea backed by science or emotion? "Stop the sheep hunting, it’s the right thing to do."
 
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CHL

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100% correct above. “Stop the Sheep hunting … it’s the right thing to do” is all emotional. Gotta take the emotion out of it and apply good logic and science. Whatever that might be, I’m sure AK F&G and those biologists will render some good decisions. 🤞🏻
 

Movi

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I was mistaken, you did answer my question, but I didn't recognize your answer because I had worded my question too vaguely.

What I should have asked was: How do we know that leaving more surplus(mature) rams on the mountain will have the effect of increasing the overall sheep population?

I am interested to hear your answer for the simple reason that I can't come up with an answer myself.

To answer your questions:
Are there positives to killing older(8+yo) rams, as opposed to leaving them alone?
- One positive that comes to mind is the fact that fewer rams on the mountain leaves more resources(food) for the lambs and ewes. More resources should mean better lamb survival and less winterkill, which should led to more sheep, including more young rams.
*But, I am not saying that this means that fewer rams is better, or worse, for the population.

Regarding "surplus" animals. You and I are referring to different definitions of the term surplus. I was referring to what the biologists call "surplus rams", meaning rams that are mature(8+) and are theoretically not necessary to the breeding capacity of the herd due to ability of the younger rams to breed in place of the older rams. So the term "surplus ram" means the rams that are surplus to the breeding requirements of the herd. I don't know that I can prove to you that there are surplus rams, but I'm sure that you(or anyone) would agree that rams past a certain age are not necessary to the herd(8yo is the current accepted age, but anyone might claim a different age as the cutoff)
*This has been the agreed upon science for decades, but I am not saying that it is correct.

I have no idea if "old rams matter". I will say that there is no hard evidence to support it, but why else would sheep have evolved to run in bands that consist of multiple age classes?
*side note: "Old Rams Matter" should be printed on shirts BLM style.

I agree that killing 7yo sheep isn't good.

To be honest, I see closing sheep hunting as a "feel good measure" because there is no science to suggest that it would have the desired effect. Does this sound like a plea backed by science or emotion? "Stop the sheep hunting, it’s the right thing to do."
Thanks for the reply. I can definitely see your point of view. My thoughts are as follows:

The problem with the surplus comment is everyone says it in terms of breeding. Yes younger rams can do the breeding. But 12 year old rams will rut as hard as any other rams. Take breeding out of it. what about the knowledge older rams surely possess? Such examples could be places to go when the snow gets deep, kicking young rams out so they have to go to new areas. The list can go on and on. I can’t help but to compare it to humans to simplify it. The older generation knows a lot of chit. You cant take out/target one sector of age class. There will be negative affects.

I don’t agree with your comment of killing rams will help because of food. I would agree with that if populations are high but that is not the case and hasn’t been the case for over 20 years. There’s currently no area that habitat is an issue at current numbers. Yes the brush line has moved up in many areas but still plenty of alpine for them.

There are a lot of things that can be done before we have to close sheep hunting. I was just joking but coksliders get offended easy. All the “solutions” out there do nothing for increasing sheep populations. The only thing we can do is manage harvest. I would like to see harvest managed so there is an appropriate % of each age class.

Sheep hunter numbers are already down but if we can limit hunters to get the age class back it’s a start. Let’s do the following:

1) make it illegal to post sheep pics on social media. If you can’t post it will you want to do it?

2) get rid of full curl Friday. That would happen with the above but just to make sure it’s really dead let’s do it.

3). You kill a 7 year old you sit out 5 years. Sublegal 5 years

4). You kill a ram you sit out a year

More rams after the season is start. It sure as hell isn’t a bad thing.
 
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wildwilderness

wildwilderness

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Thanks for the reply. I can definitely see your point of view. My thoughts are as follows:

The problem with the surplus comment is everyone says it in terms of breeding. Yes younger rams can do the breeding. But 12 year old rams will rut as hard as any other rams. Take breeding out of it. what about the knowledge older rams surely possess? Such examples could be places to go when the snow gets deep, kicking young rams out so they have to go to new areas. The list can go on and on. I can’t help but to compare it to humans to simplify it. The older generation knows a lot of chit. You cant take out/target one sector of age class. There will be negative affects.

I don’t agree with your comment of killing rams will help because of food. I would agree with that if populations are high but that is not the case and hasn’t been the case for over 20 years. There’s currently no area that habitat is an issue at current numbers. Yes the brush line has moved up in many areas but still plenty of alpine for them.

There are a lot of things that can be done before we have to close sheep hunting. I was just joking but coksliders get offended easy. All the “solutions” out there do nothing for increasing sheep populations. The only thing we can do is manage harvest. I would like to see harvest managed so there is an appropriate % of each age class.

Sheep hunter numbers are already down but if we can limit hunters to get the age class back it’s a start. Let’s do the following:

1) make it illegal to post sheep pics on social media. If you can’t post it will you want to do it?

2) get rid of full curl Friday. That would happen with the above but just to make sure it’s really dead let’s do it.

3). You kill a 7 year old you sit out 5 years. Sublegal 5 years

4). You kill a ram you sit out a year

More rams after the season is start. It sure as hell isn’t a bad thing.
I don’t agree with a 100% shutdown of sheep hunting at all.

That is what anti hunters would say, and DO say about many species and Africa etc. the hunting has been the best conservation success there

Stopping all hunting will cause lost interest and decrease revenue.

The problem is Bureaucracy! The state thus far does not care much about sheep, will not put any money into pro active help.

You need to first create a revenue source from sheep, then they may take interest, and actually care to do something.

They should also allow NGOs do more to help. Lots to do.

I do agree about limiting tags, but a complete shutdown is draconian
 
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