Alaska Sheep woes

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
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7,126
Location
Chugiak, AK
Some of you may be following what's happening up here, but for those that don't know. Sheep numbers in AK are worse off than MT mule deer. Its estimated that we have maybe 50-60% of of the sheep we had 10 years ago statewide, some areas its even worse. The winter of 2012 and again last year in 2021 have really put a damper on the population. There are very few bright spots, and most areas will take decades to recover, if they ever do. The harvest this year was the lowest on record ~400. Harvest used to be around 800 (and at one time 1200). We'll likely see similar harvest for the next couple years as we cycle through some easy winter lamb cohorts, then will drop off a cliff as we catch up to the down years of lamb production. I'm guessing 200-300 rams a year if that. Winter is the biggest killer of sheep, and climate change seems to be playing a role, or at least the "wet" warm cycle in recent times, is to blame. Will the sheep bounce back? I have my doubts they will in my lifetime. I'm grateful that I got in on some good years of hunting, and am hopeful that my kids will get a chance to chase sheep, even if its a limited population comparatively. I wouldn't be surprised to see many closures occur in the near future, especially on federal lands. Although personally, I don't think limiting ram harvest will really have any effect on rebounding the population.

Sheep hunter participation will likely continue to decline, which will reduce competition for what few legal rams are out there. In the mean time, its time to focus on what we can do, shoot wolves and coyotes. :D

If I had a Dall sheep hunt booked, I'd be seriously considering getting my money back, unless you like rolling the dice, and just want to shoot a ram. I probably have more full curl rams hanging on my wall than there are in some GMUs in the state right now. Yep guides killed sheep last year, and their success rate was 59%. Spending $25k for a 60% chance of killing a sheep? ouch... Some areas were much lower, some were higher.

A good synopsis can be found here: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/...rd/pdfs/2022-2023/sheep/adfg-presentation.pdf
Hopefully they get the youtube version up soon.

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Times, they are a changing.

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Movi

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Sep 10, 2022
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if we don’t get them with a bullet something else will. You’re not taking my #fullcurlfriday away from me. I ain’t a wannabe sheep hunter who chats in an unlimited thread all year to only bitch out two days in and post pics of me eating a burger.

Closing it down is a feel good measure. First thing we should do is stop the archery only areas for sheep. Archery “hunters” wound more than they kill. It’s criminal. Use technology to make a clean kill.

Second make it against the law to share the pics online. Sheep hunters have the biggest egos right behind bowhunters. If it’s criminal to share photos most are going to stop. Especially sheep hunters who carry bows. Insert stupid gif here of tombstone bye.
 

Chugach

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Nov 2, 2022
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3
Hope we are seeing the bottom and the trend turns around.
It will take quite a few years of good winters to turn it around much at this point. This year we hunted one of the areas that allegedly wasn’t hit very hard and we saw more 7 plus year old rams than we did lambs. The next year or two won’t be too bad but after that it looks pretty bleak.
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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1,443
I am blessed to have seen much of the sheep country in the early 60s, Dad would stick me in the Beaver when he flew out of Ft. Wainwright to one village or another. He loved sheep hunting then. They seemed to be everywhere.
I’m thinking Alaska may be the Canary in the coal mine. The king run; Sheep; Caribou on the peninsula, what’s next? I need my first cup of coffee for sure.
 

BradA

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Jan 23, 2021
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588
I’m very interested to see what they decide if that means closing the GMUs or going to a draw.
 

wllm

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Dec 9, 2015
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Boston
if we don’t get them with a bullet something else will. You’re not taking my #fullcurlfriday away from me. I ain’t a wannabe sheep hunter who chats in an unlimited thread all year to only bitch out two days in and post pics of me eating a burger.

Closing it down is a feel good measure. First thing we should do is stop the archery only areas for sheep. Archery “hunters” wound more than they kill. It’s criminal. Use technology to make a clean kill.

Second make it against the law to share the pics online. Sheep hunters have the biggest egos right behind bowhunters. If it’s criminal to share photos most are going to stop. Especially sheep hunters who carry bows. Insert stupid gif here of tombstone bye.
Have you ever considered the efficacy of cyber bulling? My boy Robby S has got it all worked out.
 

rjthehunter

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Oct 23, 2019
Messages
1,221
Location
Minnesota
if we don’t get them with a bullet something else will. You’re not taking my #fullcurlfriday away from me. I ain’t a wannabe sheep hunter who chats in an unlimited thread all year to only bitch out two days in and post pics of me eating a burger.

Closing it down is a feel good measure. First thing we should do is stop the archery only areas for sheep. Archery “hunters” wound more than they kill. It’s criminal. Use technology to make a clean kill.

Second make it against the law to share the pics online. Sheep hunters have the biggest egos right behind bowhunters. If it’s criminal to share photos most are going to stop. Especially sheep hunters who carry bows. Insert stupid gif here of tombstone bye.
Yeah, there's a huge population of archery hunters going after Dall sheep in AK. It's definitely causing the population to drop everywhere!!! Lets get them!!!!


You should start a thread about how much you hate bow hunters instead of spewing it everywhere.
 

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Carnage2011

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Sep 28, 2012
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1,460
Location
Whitehall, MT
I killed the only ram shot in the unit I hunted last year. This year the outfitter didn’t even hunt it due to sheep numbers. He said those sheep are “effectively gone” and that it could take years to get a huntable population back.
 

oldbutnotdead

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Feb 15, 2022
Messages
561
IMO the only way to fix these types of problems is to stop hunting them at all, 100% just stop. We all know the money hungry people of those states with animals in this predicament won't ever let it happen. People suck a lot when it comes to greed.
 

rjthehunter

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Oct 23, 2019
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Location
Minnesota
11 sublegal guided rams. I thought I had read that is why NR requires a "guide" for sheep in AK, ya know, to make sure it was legal and what not..............
Right. A good guide would say "I'm not 100% sure it's legal, so we're not going to shoot it". Might as well let us go up there unguided if the guides don't second guess themselves.
 

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
Messages
7,126
Location
Chugiak, AK
11 sublegal guided rams. I thought I had read that is why NR requires a "guide" for sheep in AK, ya know, to make sure it was legal and what not..............
There is likely a few more. The total in those slides only accounts for about 75% of the harvest.

I have no idea what will happen, but of I had to guess the W$F will lobby to keep NR hunting open, and not close anything. Really shooting rams isn't the limiting factor, or so they say.

If NR aren't put on a quota, there is no hope for management for the people. Residents cut back, but guided hunts were nearly as high as years past. Kill em at all costs.
 

mulecreek

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Nov 16, 2010
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Location
Rock Springs, WY
Outfitter I went with in 2008 would take 10 sheep hunters per year with greater than 90% take most years. I saw this year he took 4 hunters with 50% take.
 

Dinkshooter

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Oct 5, 2005
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Location
Colorado
Still funny, at least 11 people paid big $ for a sheep hunt and got to take home zilch. Why don’t those outfitter reviews ever make the sheep hunter forums and groups?

$220,000 ish in services for no dice.
 
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