Here are the issues that I see. 1. They are going to be trapping and taking herds from Joe public to introduce to private land owners, therefore reducing the opportunity for hunters to access sheep and be successful.
2. More importantly, they are going to be HEAVILY allocating percentages of these once public tags to landowners (67 private 33 public with 100% of the ewes going to the public OR 75/25, 100% of ewes going to public). So I see the rich getting richer, as they now have access to an introduced sheep herd, sell licenses, and or lease grounds for more profit. The regular hunter gets less opportunity to not only harvest, but draw AND we get to kill all the ewes, further making our habitat threatened, and theirs (private) better.
3. Landowners who want to be part of this program get to apply to have their lands approved for these types of herds. Then if approved, they only have to fund a "portion" of the expense to relocate public herds to their private properties.
Let me tell everyone what is happening here. Sheep on public ground are being located onto private. Private property owner now can receive higher allocation of tags to harvest said sheep, sell licenses, make tons and tons of money, and we get to fund this transplant...and at the same time give away hunting opportunities, and have less of a herd because the ewe allocations are all for the public. The rich get richer boys and girls. And the Division is part of this...
Please take the time to review this in detail. If you disagree with me, that is fine, no bashing just good discussion. Maybe someone can sway my thoughts, but I have read the entire discussion and can't see how this benefits anyone accept ranches, landowners, and guides.
Please read pages 2/45 through 3/45 and let me know what you think. If you agree, make sure to contact the folks mentioned as authors to this discussion AND your local DOW. I just can't see how this benefits the normal MAJORITY... Convince me I'm wrong here. I'm all ears...
If they are going to transplant them for this option/opportunity then I don't enjoy using public tax dollars to benefit private LO's.
Interesting none the less.
Good luck, Robb
It's hard to believe that there is more private ground available to protect wild sheep vs. public ground without domestic sheep populations.
There has to be something in it for the DNR or they would not proceed.
And I'm unhappier still about the state getting involved, using taxpayer dollars, to actively relocate the Public Resource onto private land UNLESS a provision has been made to preserve Public Access to the Public Resource... FOR FREE... and on an equal basis... And I've seen some of these arrangements in action before... Like driving around down south looking for a place to hunt doves and seeing the "cooperative" signage all over the fences, indicating how well the landowner was working with the state to preserve and improve habitat... except for the fact that the hunting rights to those properties had all been leased out. That's the landowner's right, of course.. I just don't understand why they're getting public dollars to increase the value of the lease.
And on the other hand... A lot of private landowners will state (truly or otherwise, and I'm sure there are plenty of each) that they simply cannot afford to do the right thing for wildlife unless there is a financial off-set. So maybe the state $$ is a good idea just to get them STARTED??? But once the lease is worth too much to put the land back into production....???
Too... Sounds as though these sheep are recovering well enough to allow removal of herd-sized (starter herds??) numbers of animals from the areas where they're well established and that the numbers are STILL high enough to support the harvest of ewes. So basically, there's a sheep surplus in some areas and the animals are not taking it upon themselves to disperse into new territory without a kick in the pants. Either that, or the state just wants to split the eggs into a bunch more baskets so as to reduce the probability of a catastrophic die-off due to disease and overcrowding....
So you have to take the long view here... From a glass-half-full perspective, the state has enough sheep to warrant redistributing them. In fact, they may well believe that it is necessary to do this fairly quickly in order to prevent a disaster. If they move them onto private land, then landowners have a financial incentive to welcome the sheep in (and, to a degree, to keep an eye out for any poachers). And assuming that the state will continue to manage them for an increase in numbers, then those small herds on private land will grow large enough to spill over onto public land, where they will become accessible to the public for free..
And you have to remember that sheep range Up High for most of the year, and private land tends to be Down Low...
So maybe this will work out - LONG TERM - a lot better than you're fearing...
Worst-case scenario, of course, is that this winds up as it is with posted-land whitetails, where "Sportsmen" have "enhanced the habitat" for the purposes of "QDM" - or, in plainspeak, they've set up private, for-profit deer farms... and they won't let anybody onto the property to take out the numbers of deer that would be necessary to keep the place balanced, so they get an overpopulation and end up shooting them on ag-damage permits.
Anyway, I'm hoping that this will work out. Probably the best option is to give it a shot on the principle that everybody benefits from a larger, healthier and more stable sheep herd... and then watch closely to see how it all shakes out...