Hunting has changed

Antonio m

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I am a Sheep hunter and have watched it evolve, not for the better.
I live in Bighorn country, sometimes I can glass them from home, numbers are holding but tactics have changed.
These days the biggest rams live on mine claims and in Parks. Hunters wanting a B&C class ram hunt the boundaries and every year 2 or 3 ,180" + rams are taken like this. ( 180" is minimum for Boone and Crockett) Bighorn Rams don't get the growth ordinarily in other , wilder country within this vicinity.
We have a general open season on full curl rams and the season just closed.
Jack O'connor never took a B&C bighorn as far as I know, I wonder what he would think of things now. It does get stuck in my craw. Opinions on this ?
 

HARPERC

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Lots has changed most of us will never have the opportunity to hunt sheep. I'd say O'connor played a significant role in the current situation by over emphasizing the species into the "Grand Slam" etc.

There are numerous reasons sheep have lower modern numbers surviving to maturity.
Disease being high on the list. If we wish more opportunity to prey on sheep, the other predators out there need to be managed at lower numbers.

Eliminating all these auction tags would be a start in taking some of the ridiculous money pressure involved in the game.
 

Antonio m

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Thanks for your response.
I like Jack, have most of his books and I believe he didn't care for the "Grand Slam" effect . He liked hunting sheep because of where they live , firstly. His Wife ,Eleanor killed a Yukon Dall that is in the book.
His writing inspired most of us, our parents and Grandparents to pursue Wild Sheep. Luckily, we live in such country.
Different days, it has become too glitzy, imo
 

HARPERC

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...His writing inspired most of us, our parents and Grandparents to pursue Wild Sheep. Luckily, we live in such country.....Different days, it has become too glitzy, imo.....
That inspiration is what I was referring to. I've read many of his books, my daughter lived close to the O'connor museum for awhile, took my grandson last year. More fun for me was actually being able to watch the sheep from the front window of her house. Their use of terrain to avoid the heat, keying on the still green food source, travel route from bed to water to feed.

Also the tagging and collaring with helicopters in the spring. Perhaps one day WSU will come up with help with the various diseases that wipe out the herd on a regular basis.

His lengthy hunts were "glitzy" by the standard of those days.

With tags being once in a lifetime here I still apply, and it's for the easier hunts. Hopefully with some of the younger guys in the group for the heavy lifting. It definitely won't be the month long horseback, and backpack trip I dreamed of as a younger man.
 

Antonio m

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Sheep have regular die offs, domestic sheep in winter range are often pointed too- lungworm infestation.
I think our regulations requiring a mature ram usually over 10 years old, judged by our full curl requirements is very good.
I like the general open season, it is the right approach
It is pretty easy to assess when the rams get edgy, approaching the rut. The big rams sometimes get up and move to keep from being harassed. This is what these hunters are looking for, they move beyond the boundary. Then....
 

Hirschi1

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Food for thought, just my opinion.

I'm 47, born and raised in southern Utah. At a very young age I remember most everyone used a wood burning stove or fireplace to heat or assist to heat their home.

The school district gave the students a couple days out during the deer season. Many people relied on a little venison to help them through the winter.

My father hunted for trophy and meat. It was in the sixties that southern Utah and northern Arizona was experiencing an extreme drought. Multiple tags were issued for deer and the season extended so that the deer could be harvested instead of dying of hunger and thirst. Anyways, he killed 17 bucks that year filling his freezer and many widows. Smallest buck he killed that year was a 15" four point (for you easterners that is 4 points on each side).

It wasn't until I was 15 when I first learned about guided hunts. I know they existed long before, that's just how sheltered/primitive I was.

Fast forward to 2019 in southern Utah and northern Arizona. How things have changed including me. Very few people use wood to heat their home, I still do. The school district has taken away all hunting days from the students. If my children have A's and B's I will excuse them from school to hunt. Every summer/fall we run into paid guides making thousands of dollars from their clients.

The ways have changed for sure. Many still hunt in these parts. A lot of trophy hunters have been made. Some meat only hunters remain but not many. It's just so much easier to buy the meat from the store for most people. The hunt tradition still lives on, but the need has changed. It has become much more expensive. Most everything is a draw with only few tags available sold over the counter (mostly general season elk).

I'm likely going to take heat for this belief. However, I allow my children to harvest a small buck if they choose the first year they hunt. After that it is 4 point out better ( big 3's and old bucks are exceptions). We raise our beef, but we do eat the wild game we harvest.

We do hunt for the sport, adventure, and to help manage the wildlife.
Hunting is fast becoming a rich mans sport!!!!!
 

Hirschi1

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Lots has changed most of us will never have the opportunity to hunt sheep. I'd say O'connor played a significant role in the current situation by over emphasizing the species into the "Grand Slam" etc.

There are numerous reasons sheep have lower modern numbers surviving to maturity.
Disease being high on the list. If we wish more opportunity to prey on sheep, the other predators out there need to be managed at lower numbers.

Eliminating all these auction tags would be a start in taking some of the ridiculous money pressure involved in the game.
I've often though about the money part of hunting. Utah DNR just released 57 big Horn sheep into a new area that had no sheep. Largely because of the high money sportsman's tags. It's a love hate thing I know.
 

CO_Guy

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Trophy hunting and its' egocentric emphasis on the hunter vs nature is rooted firmly in money since the time the African and N American colonizers were taking game in both places, as clearly shown in Townshend Whelen's hunting anthologies and other books. Sad thing about it, is that even the hunters in Africa back during the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century, clearly noticed a reduction of the herds then and lamented about it. Not much has changed.
 

Antonio m

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"Head hunting" hasn't hurt game numbers, imo. Personally for myself, I seldom take a ram these days, even if legal. I am looking for the old" buster" ram , and old beaten warrior.
The part that bugs me a little is the status a hunter has as a sheep hunter, just because he killed one, but lacks the passion of the hunt.
I don 't own t.v. , but the hunting shows, glitzy magazines etc create a different mindset...it is a different day
 

piute

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Jan 21, 2011
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Lots has changed most of us will never have the opportunity to hunt sheep. I'd say O'connor played a significant role in the current situation by over emphasizing the species into the "Grand Slam" etc.
I grew up reading Outdoor Life and Field and Stream Magazines. The sheep hunting articles were always fascinating to me and I'd fall asleep dreaming of the hunt. Hunting in the most part has become a money driven experience "sadly". What bothers me are tags are limited and it take a some luck to get drawn in most states, but I hear of individuals with plenty of money getting hunts so they can complete their multiple grand slams!
 

azsugarbear

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I am a native Arizonan. Been hunting for some 50 years now, and I have seen lots of changes. In general, I have seen most types of hunting become more competitive. I suspect it has a lot to do with mass media and communications, in general. Back when I was growing up, there were very few, if any, hunting shows on TV. The internet was non-existent. The term "trophy" was largely defined by what we saw or red about in the local papers. Today, we are bombarded by all kinds of shows, videos and podcasts constantly showing us what a 'true trophy' looks like. I am as guilty as the next guy for allowing myself to be swayed by public opinion on hunting and trophies. The days when a trophy was any animal you worked hard to harvest are disappearing quickly. This is not necessarily bad IMO, just the natural progression of hunting.

What is lamentable, is that while big game hunting has become more competitive, hunter respect and overall conduct has declined sharply, especially with the younger generation. In recent years, I have become so disheartened by trail cameras being damaged or stolen by hunters (nobody else would hike that far back into rugged country looking for a big buck). I have been first on a water hole, only to be leap-frogged by other hunters who set up 300 yds off the same hole. (yes, they knew I was there. I went and spoke with them when they first showed up). I have had hunters walk right through my turkey decoys with me sitting in a blind 20 yds. away. I have been passed and cut-off by quads on a two-track trail in order for another hunter to race ahead of me to get to a stand first. I could go on and on. I hope such conduct is not a natural progression of hunting and that we can turn this around as hunters.

As far as sheep go, AZ has done a pretty good job of managing our sheep resources. Demand will always outstrip supply when it comes to sheep. Regarding the Utah sheep scenario, I see it not as a way for Utah to get more dollars, but rather a long-term project to make more tags available to future hunters. Those Desert Big Horn sheep transplants came from AZ, thereby reducing the number of tags available to AZ residents to hunt that year. But by sharing resources, we create a better situation for future hunters. AZ now has huntable numbers of Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep because of transplants from Utah.
 

John McLaughlin

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I live in AZ (Tucson). I lived in Flagstaff for the previous 40 years. Sooo, I've lived in some of the best Desert bighorn country. Unfortunately we can't "bank" wild sheep or any other wild game. In AZ G&F has been very active transplanting both Rocky Mtn and Desert sheep to historic ranges from which they had disappeared due to miners, disease and in some places loss of habitat. Because of the hard work of AZ Desert Bighorn Sheep Society members, and funds from auction and raffle tags (one each) G&F has been able to do this. There are now more tags available for both Rockys and Desert sheep here in AZ. Our draw is set up with bonus points. 20% of the tags can be drawn by those with the highest number of points. The rest (80%) are random. Folks draw with as few as 6 pts or lower every year, just luck for those.
I have had a bit of that luck over the years. Drawn and harvested both AZ Desert and Rocky Mtn sheep (one a B&C ) and drew and harvested a NR Colorado Rocky Mtn sheep. So it does happen. I've also taken a very nice full curl Alaskan Dall's sheep. Just so you won't be totally ****ed of at me, I've hunted Stone's sheep twice in one of the best areas in BC for 28 days total and couldn't find a legal ram, never popped a cap.
Put in for the draws and you may get a surprise like the guy I personally know who drew an AZ Rocky tag with only 6 pts. It can happen to you. Get started. JM
 

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