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Dall Sheep (Ovis dalli dalli)

Dall sheep are a valued game animal. In 2007, 916 Dall sheep were harvested in Alaska, which is very close to the five-year average. Alaska’s Dall sheep are popular with nonresident hunters, and the harvest is split fairly evenly between residents and nonresidents. In 2007 nonresidents took 403 sheep, while resident hunters took 513, about 57 percent.

Dall sheep produce excellent meat but are relatively small in size (usually less than 300 pounds (136 kg) for rams and 150 pounds (68.1 kg) for ewes), and it is difficult to retrieve meat from the rugged alpine areas which they inhabit. These factors have limited sheep hunting to a relatively few, hardy individuals whose interest is more in the challenge and satisfaction of mountain hunting and the alpine experience than in getting food. Recreational hunting is limited to the taking of mature rams during August and September. Many recreational hunters are very selective and choose not to kill a ram unless it is unusually attractive. Instead, these hunters often choose to watch sheep and share their environment.

In some communities of the Brooks Range, Dall sheep are hunted for subsistence. These hunts commonly take place during winter when snow machine travel makes it easier to reach the sheep and retrieve the meat. Subsistence regulations commonly allow taking of all sex and age classes of sheep. Populations which support subsistence hunting must be closely watched to assure that populations are not overexploited.

Photography of Dall sheep is popular for many visitors and residents of Alaska and is not limited by season.