Primarily because aerial surveys were conducted last fall for the first time since 2010, the DFW will be recommending to the Commission a nice increase in the number of tags for the 2016-2017 season.
Upon approval by the Commission, seventeen tags will be available in the draw, vs just twelve tags last year. In addition, yet another tag will return, as the Random Draw tag is back!.
In other words, the average guy/gal now has a shot at eighteen sheep tags this year.
Don't forget the Random Draw as well as the regular draw. There is no residency requirement for the Random Draw tag winner!
When we get back up to twenty tags in the regular draw, TWO non-resident tags will once again be available. I think that could well happen by next year. Once we get another aerial survey in the books, DFW will feel more comfortable in adding more tags.
Last fall I asked the lady who's in charge of the sheep program if she would be cautious in moving the tag numbers all the way back to where they'd been based on just one new aerial survey. I was thinking she would want at least one more survey to validate last fall's survey. She said that was exactly what her approach would be.
So if we get as good or better results from the surveys this fall, I would expect to see a few more tags added back next year.
I have no idea what you're talking about.
And what have you heard about the areas hit by the Mycoplasma outbreak?
No new areas this year, but in 2018 I think there's an excellent chance we'll be getting a new unit opened.
We'll be surveying the Rodman's, Newberry's and Ord's this fall and are fairly confident there are enough sheep there to call for new Hunt Zone. If this fall's survey finds enough sheep, the department will likely want to fly it again in 2017, just to make sure they've got enough information to keep the anti's from challenging a new zone.
We'll also be flying the Chemeuevie's and the Chuckwalla's this fall. If this survey produces good numbers, it would be flown again next year to validate the numbers. If we get lucky, those areas could also become hunt zones.
In a few weeks, the Department will be doing a ground survey in the Old Woman's. We know there's sheep there, but we don't know how many. They're looking for volunteers to help with that, so if you're interested, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the person who's leading that effort.
I'd like to stay on message with this thread.
If you want to discuss something else, please start your own thread.
I'm pretty wired into what's going on with Wild Sheep in CA and I've never heard anyone mention anything about what you say. Not one word.
I spent :30 on the phone yesterday talking with the guy at DFW who manages the big game planning in CA. Much of that time was spent talking about sheep. Not one word.
I had a quarterly conference call with the guys from SCBS last week and no such issue was raised. Those guys know EVERYTHING about what's going on in the SoCal desert, esp. if it has to do with habitat loss and destruction due to solar energy, wind farms and the like. The issue never came up. Not one word.
I talk with the sheep managers at DFW regularly. They've never brought this up. Not one word.
When something that threatens sheep in CA comes up, DFW generally contacts me very quickly to inform me about the issue and ask for assistance. Yet nothing on this has been brought to my attention. Not one word.
So color me skeptical when a guy from Alaska who doesn't even use his real name to register on this site shows up out of nowhere claiming such knowledge.
Or just innuendo and rumors?
Any chance we'll see a raffle tag again? Or any zone-only auction tags?
PM me your e-mail and I'll pass it along to Paige @ DFW for future surveys.
After all these years of having no one, we've finally got a DFW sheep-dedicated biologist in the desert! She just recently came on board, but so far, I am VERY impressed with her knowledge and energy.
Per my post above, there will be a raffle tag, aka a "Random Draw" tag available for the coming season.
What's more, rather than it being good for one hunt zone only, this time it will be good for three zones; the Marbles, the Clippers and the South Bristols.
There are some great sheep in both the Clippers and the Marbles, and the South Bristols have some fine sheep as well.
As far as a single zone auction tag, I'd be surprised if we don't have one next year. The law says no more than 15% of the tags can be fundraising tags, with a maximum of three such tags. So all we'd need would be to add one more tag to the entire pot and we'll have that third tag back!
In respect to your concerns, I e-mailed some questions regarding the issue you raised to the four people at CA DFW who are the most 'in the know' about everything and anything that has to do with wild sheep in CA. I did so because any issues that might possibly effect wild sheep are of very high importance to me and who knows, maybe I've missed something.
Better safe than sorry.
The first reply was an automated, "I'm out of the office until April 4," response. I'm sure I'll hear back from her early next week.
The second response was hilarious, but out of respect to you, I won't post it unless you ask me to do so.
I've not yet heard back from the other two folks, but expect I will in the next few days.
this is the dummy version, requires less googling!
Here's the reply I got from one of my 'Cronies' at the DFW who knows 100X times more than you do about everything in the CA desert:
"“Sounds like an over-stimulated Donald supporter to me….haven’t heard any such thing...."
CA has taken very aggressive steps towards regulating ground water usage under the 2015 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
I'm happy that California has 20 sheep tags available and one of them is available for a non resident! That's great!
Best of luck!
As always thanks so much for your dedication and info on Wild Sheep Kyle!
Good luck, Robb
PS ~~ Now wonder you are BOD on WSF
Thanks. Unfortunately (for me at least), I'll be off the board at the end of April due to term limits, which I support.
It's been an enjoyable nine year run and it's been very rewarding to see WSF make such incredible progress in those years.
I'll be staying involved to one degree or another, it appears, so I hope to be able to continue to do whatever the Board Chair asks me to do.
I'll remain active in CA of course, as there's a lot to be done there.
Interesting you should mention Dr. Vern Bleich, one of the foremost experts on wild mountain sheep in the world!
I hate to tell you this, but Dr. Bleich has been my mentor on wild sheep issues for the past 15 years. He's a dear friend and I talk with him all the time, including just two days ago.
Yet he's not said a word to me on the issue you raised.
Needed to change the subject, huh?
When I founded CA WSF, was that the result of a long-term vision or not?
When WSF initiated the Thinhorn Summit, was that long-term vision or not?
When WSF started the Legislative Affairs Committee to fight back in the disease issue, was that long-term vision or not?
Now, as to your referring to 'corrupt leaders of 501(c)(3) organizations,' be a man and tell us which 501(c)(3)'s you're talking about and name the corrupt leaders.
May I also ask what YOU have done for conservation?
You're sounding more and more like a troll.
If you're going to come on a public forum and accuse organizations and their leaders of corruption, you really ought to name names, not just paint with a broad brush.
OTOH, yesterday you referred to the wild sheep professionals I work with the most as 'cronies.' So by your definition, Dr. Bleich is a 'crony?' Really?
Where's Kosina Creek? I assume you're referring to my Dalls hunt, but all I know was that it was in the Talkeetnas.
Nothing on the horizon for there that I'm aware of. But I'll pass your information on to the DFW sheep people.
I got a quick reply to your question from one of the top two or three sheep folks at DFW:
"Sounds like area around the East Chocolate Mts. That population had declined at last check but it’s another range that we will get around to surveying when we are fully up to speed."
When CA held its first sheep hunt of the modern era in 1987, the East Chocolates were a hunt zone.
To my knowledge, the population decline is mainly a water issue.
The head of the sheep program mentioned to me a year or so ago that she wanted to take a look at the East Chocolates again.
Now that we've finally got the helicopters back in the air and also finally got a dedicated sheep biologist in the desert (she's a real crackerjack, from what I've seen so far), I think we'll be able to start doing this sort of thing again after a long hiatus.
Sounds like things are on the up and up for you guys!
Idyl, you may have a point but I don't think there is a single lion that has ever been harvested in that unit. The only lions ever taken from the general area have been lethally removed for sheep depredation across Highway 95 to the east in the KOFA by AZGFD, AFAIK.
Leon's one of my conservation heroes. I last saw him last spring in Borrego Springs at the biennial meeting of the Desert Bighorn Council. He's alive and kicking, but old age is limiting his mobility.
On water issues, we mostly work with SCBS, which has been building drinkers in the CA desert since 1964.
Next week the WSF board will hold a board meeting in Las Vegas. Then on Saturday, we will be helping the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn build a drinker.