Alaska board reaffirms ban on using planes to hunt sheep

Dall sheep. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

KENAI, Alaska — The Alaska Board of Game has reaffirmed that using an airplane to spot Dall sheep while hunting is illegal.

The board recently narrowly shot down a proposal that would have repealed the regulation on using planes to hunt the sheep, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

The ban was put in place in 2015 and has since survived much scrutiny. It was instituted on grounds that airplanes give certain hunters an unfair advantage and lead to crowding in sheep hunting areas.

John Frost, however, who wrote the proposal, said the regulation itself causes crowding – and safety issues. His proposal also claimed the ban is redundant to another federal regulation that already bans harassment of wildlife by airplane.

The board voted 4-3 in favor of keeping the ban.

Board chair Ted Spraker voted against repealing the regulation, in part because of survey data requested by the board showing that only 14 percent of Alaskan hunters owned an airplane in 2014, so the prohibition of airplanes to spot sheep would help put residents and nonresidents on a level playing field.

Board member Teresa Sager Albaugh of Tok supported repealing the ban, saying the proposal caused public division and conflict with the board and was difficult for the Alaska Wildlife Troopers to enforce.

Board members also shot down a proposal that would have loosened the distance requirement for hunting coyotes with the use of an airplane.

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