Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
August 2017

New guide available for Dall sheep hunters

By Mike Taras

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently produced an identification/hunting guide for Dall sheep hunters. Dall Sheep Hunting, Full-Curl Identification Guide (2017) should be available at area ADF&G offices during the first week of August. Call or email any area office to receive a copy of the guide by mail. View the guide online on the Dall Sheep Hunting pages of the ADF&G website.

This 40 page, pocket-sized guide provides an in-depth review for determining if a Dall sheep ram is legal under the full-curl regulation. The book reviews the three methods used by ADF&G to determine whether horns have grown through 360° of a circle, thus reaching full curl. The horns only need to be deemed full curl by one of the methods but using more than one method is highly recommended. The methods covered include:

  • The Perfect Circle View
  • The Stick Test View
  • The Horn Base/Horn Tip Angle View

The guide contains numerous images and graphics to help explain these methods as well as pictures of sheep in the field to test your ability to distinguish legal and sublegal rams.

There is also a section dedicated to aging Dall sheep by using horn annuli. Dall sheep have reasonably stable periods of seasonal horn growth. Horn growth generally starts in early spring and ends in late fall or early winter. The time between growth periods is usually marked on each end by a well-defined groove referred to as a true (primary) annulus. By identifying and counting these annuli, the age of an animal can be determined.

A sheep that is 8 years old or older is legal under the full curl regulation but ADF&G does not recommend using this method in the field. Sheep horns also have false annuli and it can be very challenging to determine whether you are accurately counting the correct age of the sheep, particularly from a long distance through optics.

Get your Dall sheep hunting guide. Study it well. Take it to the field. Be confident that you are harvesting a legal animal and leave the marginal sheep to grow into an obvious full curl in future years.

For more information about this hunting guide please contact (907) 459-7230.

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