Dall Sheep Hunters Required to Seal Horns
Most Dall sheep hunters this year need to comply with a new regulation requiring that the horns be sealed after the hunt. The horns of rams taken in units where a horn size restriction is in place must be sealed. Horns of sheep taken in units where any sheep is legal do not have to be sealed.
Sealing can be done at Alaska Department of Fish & Game offices or any post of the Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement. Staff at these offices will ask the hunter several questions about the date and location of harvest and then will lock a plastic seal to the skull. Horns must remain attached to the skull plate for sealing and horns must be sealed before a taxidermist can process them.
The new sealing requirement was adopted by the Alaska Board of Game at its spring meeting in an attempt to reduce the take of sub-legal rams in Alaska.
In most of Alaska a legal ram is one with full curl or larger horns, or a ram at least eight years old, or a ram whose horns are broken on both sides. Horn size restrictions were designed to allow most rams to reach maturity before being harvested, to help conserve breeding males and the sheep population. Hunters are allowed to take smaller rams or ewes in some areas and in some specific permit hunts.
It typically takes a ram seven or eight years to develop horns with a full curl. Some reach full curl in as little as six years, while others with unusual horn configuration may never reach full curl.
Over the past five years, hunters have taken an average of about 900 sheep per year statewide. In most of the state, the season runs Aug.10-Sept. 20.