This news is a couple days old, but sheep hunters who relied on aerial spotting will not have that luxury, the Alaska Board of Game confirmed.
From the Alaska Dispatch:
At a town hall meeting with the board earlier this year, Mike Meekin, owner of Meekin’s Air Service in Sutton, emphasized the importance of giving state biologists the chance to figure out what’s causing sheep populations to decline.
“It seems to me this is about sheep, not so much allocation. We just don’t have the sheep,” Meekin said. “I’ve been in valleys (where) 40 years ago, guys, there was 100 ewes and lambs. Now there’s nothing.”
Rough Fish and Game estimates show the Dall sheep population dropped from almost 57,000 in 1990 to about 45,000 in 2010. Biologists blame declines in part on warmer weather dumping wet snow on coastal mountains, covering forage, setting up the potential for icing or avalanches and forcing sheep to struggle for food on normally windblown mountain ridges. Many hunters say predation is a problem.
Of about 90 comments received before this week’s special meeting, about 20 favored the ban and most of the rest opposed it, Probasco said before the vote.