Big Bend Chat

Big Bend in the News => National Park News => Topic started by: mule ears on August 13, 2019, 03:02:35 PM

Title: Aoudad control starts
Post by: mule ears on August 13, 2019, 03:02:35 PM
Looks like there will be a lot of helicopter traffic over the Dead Horse mountains this coming week while they shoot as may Aoudads as they can.

Dagger Flat and Old Ore Road will be closed. (https://www.nps.gov/bibe/learn/news/closures-to-promote-desert-bighorn.htm)
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Al on August 13, 2019, 03:50:48 PM
We almost hit two in our truck last trip.  Sounds good!
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Flash on August 13, 2019, 04:10:36 PM
Quote
Ö and impair park visitorís ability to experience natural conditions and scenery.

A rather bizarre statement of presumption on the writer's part.  :icon_rolleyes:  I kind of think that seeing an aoudad is cool!   :great:
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 13, 2019, 05:15:28 PM
EXHASPERATION:

I have no "truck" with any Aoudad, but if they are going to shoot them anyway...

Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?  I am certain that the Park paid dearly for the helicopter shooters.

I would have paid to hunt the Dead Horse Mountains for sure.

Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Imre on August 13, 2019, 07:23:53 PM
Quote
Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?
Do you really want to set a precedent for allowing hunters to pay for the privilege of hunting in the national parks?
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: alan in shreveport on August 13, 2019, 08:32:12 PM
Quote
Ö and impair park visitorís ability to experience natural conditions and scenery.

A rather bizarre statement of presumption on the writer's part.  :icon_rolleyes:  I kind of think that seeing an aoudad is cool!   :great:

agreed
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: bcampbell on August 13, 2019, 08:43:35 PM
Quote
Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?
Do you really want to set a precedent for allowing hunters to pay for the privilege of hunting in the national parks?
Why not, it is after all the publicís land. And last time I checked, us hunters are also part of the public. Such a program could bring in much needed money at a time when such money is not always available due to crooked politicians.


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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: badknees on August 13, 2019, 10:07:21 PM
Quote
Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?
Do you really want to set a precedent for allowing hunters to pay for the privilege of hunting in the national parks?

Already happens on lands administered by NPS.

About 35 percent of the NPSí acreage uses hunting to manage game populations, - Mostly in Alaska.

However in this case due to the remote and tough environment, wholesale slaughter from helicopter may be the most effective method. Brutal but efficient.

Curious if theyíll recover the carcasses? If hunters were used they would be required to pack out the meat.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 13, 2019, 10:55:25 PM
Quote
Ö and impair park visitorís ability to experience natural conditions and scenery.

A rather bizarre statement of presumption on the writer's part.  :icon_rolleyes:  I kind of think that seeing an aoudad is cool!   :great:

agreed

I, too, enjoy all of the critters, even the feral donkeys.  BUT (the choice has already been made to shoot them), if they are going to pay to shoot them from helicopters, then some sort of precedent is already set.  A fair hunt is in no way less civilized (in fact, if you are sympathetic  toward the sheep, you'd really rather that I try to shoot one).

I doubt that the Aoudad have a preference.  Shot at random from a helicopter is barbaric as compared with a humane kill by a respectful hunter who appreciates what he is into.  We don't dance over our clean kills and we don't just fly away.

I just know that hunting the Deadhorse Mountains would be a big-time honor.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Meadows8903 on August 14, 2019, 07:05:30 AM
The Texas state parks manage their game populations with hunters that win the privilege through a paid lottery program. I sign up for several hunts every year but Iíve never had my name picked. It seems to work very well and brings in extra cash that Iím sure the NPS could use in one way or another.

Hunting Big Bend would be a thrill and truly an experience to remember for those of us that love the place. Iíve hunted feral hogs from a helicopter in south Texas. Trust me...itís definitely not glamorous and simply a means to kill as many animals as possible as quickly as possible. I think a lottery program where a small group of hunters take a couple of animals each over a week would be much more palatable.


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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Hang10er on August 14, 2019, 07:24:50 AM
The Texas state parks manage their game populations with hunters that win the privilege through a paid lottery program. I sign up for several hunts every year but Iíve never had my name picked. It seems to work very well and brings in extra cash that Iím sure the NPS could use in one way or another.

Hunting Big Bend would be a thrill and truly an experience to remember for those of us that love the place.


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Not going to wade into hunting vs helicopter management but the State of Texas has been extremely successful in their lottery hunts.   Like Madows8903, I've been registering for about 20 years and have NEVER been drawn.  You used to have to go to TP&W to get the "book" and mail in your application.  Then early fall I'd get that dreaded post card saying "You didn't get picked but we gave you a preference point for next year"!!!  Now they have it online.  Registration is instant, just push "send" and the money is sucked right out of my account.  Couple weeks ago I sent them another chunk.  Registered for whitetail hunt, exotics and a guided hunt for an oryx or something.

Interesting part of it is they usually include some data like how many permits they issued the previous year, how many this year, number of applicants the previous year and hunter success rate.  They have thousands of people applying in almost all categories.  It's a nominal fee to apply and then usually a little over a hundred if you're picked. 

Like DPrather and Meadows said, it would be neat to hunt the Deadhorse Mountains or anywhere in BiBE.  One of the hunts I applied for was actually Seminole Canyon.   
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: elhombre on August 14, 2019, 08:54:45 AM
As all hunters can attest to, shooting is the easiest part, cleaning is the toughest.  I can't imagine that the meat would be any good  after gutting and dragging a carcass around in the desert in 100 degrees.    Choot 'em all!

The area they are working is not really going to do much overall.  They have to get serious and work the entire park.  A few years back, Lance and I came across a herd of about 20 near Domiquez spring on Skull Ridge.  Seen them on top of Nuggent, Elephant Tusk, Kit Mountain and Burro Mesa.  They are everywhere.

My main concern is that the Park also see the elk as a invasive species.  Are they going to warrant the same treatment as stinky Aoudad?

God Bless the AR10!  And the AR15!   I know I personally wouldn't spend a bunch of my money to shoot them from a helicopter, but I know there are plenty of others who would throw down serious money for the opportunity.  That money could pay for a composting toilet up on the NE rim.   Call it "The Crap Shoot"       :great:
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Casa Grande on August 14, 2019, 09:19:27 AM


Call it "The Crap Shoot" :great:



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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: mule ears on August 14, 2019, 10:05:44 AM
As all hunters can attest to, shooting is the easiest part, cleaning is the toughest.  I can't imagine that the meat would be any good  after gutting and dragging a carcass around in the desert in 100 degrees.    Choot 'em all!

The area they are working is not really going to do much overall.  They have to get serious and work the entire park.  A few years back, Lance and I came across a herd of about 20 near Domiquez spring on Skull Ridge.  Seen them on top of Nuggent, Elephant Tusk, Kit Mountain and Burro Mesa.  They are everywhere.


It would be one really tough area to hunt on foot and to carry anything out.  I think the main reason they are working that area is it is also the only area with desert bighorn too so they want to take away the competition.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Flash on August 14, 2019, 10:39:39 AM
As all hunters can attest to, shooting is the easiest part, cleaning is the toughest.  I can't imagine that the meat would be any good  after gutting and dragging a carcass around in the desert in 100 degrees.    Choot 'em all!

The area they are working is not really going to do much overall.  They have to get serious and work the entire park.  A few years back, Lance and I came across a herd of about 20 near Domiquez spring on Skull Ridge.  Seen them on top of Nuggent, Elephant Tusk, Kit Mountain and Burro Mesa.  They are everywhere.


It would be one really tough area to hunt on foot and to carry anything out.  I think the main reason they are working that area is it is also the only area with desert bighorn too so they want to take away the competition.
According to the management plan document, the area restricted this week, the Deadhorse and Santiago Mountains, is the highest priority area because of the presence of bighorn sheep in the northern Deadhorse, as ME mentioned.

I have seen aoudad on Maverick Mountain near Indian Head.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 14, 2019, 03:32:03 PM
SLIGHT ALERATION OF SUBJECT: this has to do with  other hunting opportunities on federal lands in Texas  where there are no lotteries almost zero chance of not getting in.

Direct application to topic: it seems that the Feds in East Texas have worked out ways for their lands to be used by hunters  - why not BBNP?

The Big Thicket units of East Texas are underhunted.  They have lots of limitations (no real deer rifles), but the unit I hunt has no more than 12 or 15 sign-up every year and I can use a shotgun with slugs, archery, or black powder.  The cost is zero dollars and zero cents.  The squirrel hunting (with .22s and shotguns) is exceptional; the days in the woods are amazing - I literally never see another hunter.  I went in to visit with the rangers the other day when I was up near Kountze - they begged me to kill more hogs.

There are other federal lands that are open on the basis of just calling in and reserving a spot.  Some of those areas are sure-enough wilderness and require canoeing/boating in and out.



Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Jalco on August 14, 2019, 04:20:21 PM
Some of those areas are sure-enough wilderness and require canoeing/boating in and out.

Let's talk
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 14, 2019, 05:36:47 PM
Quote
Ö and impair park visitorís ability to experience natural conditions and scenery.

A rather bizarre statement of presumption on the writer's part.  :icon_rolleyes:  I kind of think that seeing an aoudad is cool!   :great:

Seeing a native Big Horn Sheep trumps seeing an invasive/exotic Aoudad.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 14, 2019, 05:41:37 PM
Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?  I am certain that the Park paid dearly for the helicopter shooters.

Because the public never can be allowed to do something the NPS defines as unsavory/unseemly.

Letting the public in on the action would violate both adjectives.

You must keep in mind: the public is nowhere near as smart or capable as the NPS, and therefore cannot be trusted to participate. Cost is not a factor even as they incessantly whine about their lack of funding. The NPS could have reaped some high dollar hunts if the agency wasn't totally anal about everything they touch.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 14, 2019, 05:43:33 PM
Quote
Why in the world did the powers that be not offer hunts that would require permits that would earn the Park money instead of costing the Park money?
Do you really want to set a precedent for allowing hunters to pay for the privilege of hunting in the national parks?

Why not? It already occurs in other NPS areas. Obviously, not something they crow about as it besmirches the cosmetic image they so carefully cultivate.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 14, 2019, 05:45:37 PM
If hunters were used they would be required to pack out the meat.

Not necessarily. Given where these animals hide the meat likely would spoil before being able to be brought out. After all, you'd have to hike in and out. This would be more in the mode of feral pig hunts...just get rid of them.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 14, 2019, 06:39:27 PM
If hunters were used they would be required to pack out the meat.

Not necessarily. Given where these animals hide the meat likely would spoil before being able to be brought out. After all, you'd have to hike in and out. This would be more in the mode of feral pig hunts...just get rid of them.

As per rangers on the East Texas Federal lands, re: feral pigs, "Shoot 'em and let 'em lay." 

Do rangers in East Texas and rangers in West Texas work for the same government?
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 15, 2019, 12:19:58 AM
Do rangers in East Texas and rangers in West Texas work for the same government?

Depends upon whether the rangers are federal folks or not.

NPS has units in east TX.

The USFS only exists in east TX, but they are federal as well; only they work in the Dept of Agriculture, while the NPS is in the Dept of the Interior.

Likewise, the state park rangers and game wardens are in their own world (state government).
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 15, 2019, 06:38:02 AM
Do rangers in East Texas and rangers in West Texas work for the same government?

Depends upon whether the rangers are federal folks or not.

NPS has units in east TX.

The USFS only exists in east TX, but they are federal as well; only they work in the Dept of Agriculture, while the NPS is in the Dept of the Interior.

Likewise, the state park rangers and game wardens are in their own world (state government).

I will say this.  There is a lot of common-sense, under-the-radar cooperation among the state and federal people in East Texas - they seem to be able to side-step a lot of stupidity.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: badknees on August 15, 2019, 07:54:26 AM
NPS may have considered that some yahoo might pop a Desert Bighorn instead of an Aoudad in a case of mistaken identity?
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 15, 2019, 03:02:53 PM
There is a lot of common-sense, under-the-radar cooperation among the state and federal people in East Texas - they seem to be able to side-step a lot of stupidity.

Likely comes from an understanding the agencies only manage the land, they do not own it.

A principle the NPS would do well to embrace, but never has.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 15, 2019, 03:06:21 PM
NPS may have considered that some yahoo might pop a Desert Bighorn instead of an Aoudad in a case of mistaken identity?

That would be an excellent excuse for the NPS to trot out (but, then, they've never needed nor offered any excuses for anything they do or don't do).

Responsible hunters don't make such errors and it isn't hard to identify a species in the open desert. Responsible hunters also don't take the shot if uncertain.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: mule ears on August 15, 2019, 03:27:57 PM
NPS may have considered that some yahoo might pop a Desert Bighorn instead of an Aoudad in a case of mistaken identity?

That would be an excellent excuse for the NPS to trot out (but, then, they've never needed nor offered any excuses for anything they do or don't do).

Responsible hunters don't make such errors and it isn't hard to identify a species in the open desert. Responsible hunters also don't take the shot if uncertain.

A lot of weight on "responsible" hunters.  When I lived in Utah they would have big signs up during hunting season with outlines of deer, elk, moose and COW so that the hunters didn't accidentally shoot the local cattle.   :eusa_doh:
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: badknees on August 15, 2019, 04:09:25 PM
NPS may have considered that some yahoo might pop a Desert Bighorn instead of an Aoudad in a case of mistaken identity?

That would be an excellent excuse for the NPS to trot out (but, then, they've never needed nor offered any excuses for anything they do or don't do).

Responsible hunters don't make such errors and it isn't hard to identify a species in the open desert. Responsible hunters also don't take the shot if uncertain.

Responsible hunters aren't the problem. However the world has a significant percentage of yahoos....Some shoot first and "ground check" after. Unfortunately even a good vet can't bring back a case of mistaken identity.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 16, 2019, 01:14:33 PM
A lot of weight on "responsible" hunters.  When I lived in Utah they would have big signs up during hunting season with outlines of deer, elk, moose and COW so that the hunters didn't accidentally shoot the local cattle.   :eusa_doh:

Folks needing silhouettes, and the behavior that makes such a crutch necessary, are not responsible hunters.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 16, 2019, 11:37:20 PM
Regarding irresponsible hunters - yea, there are some.  There are also irresponsible backpackers, and etc.

And that is another great reason to let ME hunt the Deadhorse Mountains.  LOOK...LOOK...I can be responsible (now only if I was a better shot)
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Reece on August 17, 2019, 08:20:36 AM
As someone who is familiar with the terrain in the Dead Horse Mountains, Mule Ears has it right. "It would be one really tough area to hunt on foot and to carry anything out." Can you imagine packing in a high powered rifle in addition to your other gear, all in hopes of getting a long range shot at an animal which is no threat to you and which you have no hope if acquiring for meat? And for all the "poor shots" among us. How about the joy of watching through your binoculars while a wounded animal thrashes around or manages to gain enough lame footing to scramble just out of sight, preventing your kill shot. And you are somehow supposed to derive pleasure from this? Best leave extermination to the exterminators. There are plenty of opportunities in Texas for responsible hunters.


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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Txlj on August 18, 2019, 08:30:32 AM
Ill take that shot.

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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Imre on August 18, 2019, 08:34:03 AM
Quote
Best leave extermination to the exterminators.
Well said.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Flash on August 23, 2019, 10:57:56 PM
Well, the week of closures on the east side is over now. I wonder what is the report?  :eusa_think:
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: steelfrog on August 24, 2019, 01:24:05 PM
They shot like 82 aoudad, left them where they were shot; and counted I think like 18 bighorn
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Reece on August 24, 2019, 02:17:29 PM
So itís aoudad racks for the taking, eh?


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Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Flash on August 24, 2019, 03:01:20 PM
They shot like 82 aoudad, left them where they were shot; and counted I think like 18 bighorn
Thanks for the info, Steelfrog! Hopefully, that might take the pressure off the bighorn sheep and their numbers eventually go up.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: steelfrog on August 24, 2019, 03:47:55 PM
https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/08/big-bend-national-park-ends-sheep-monitoring-and-removal-season
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: TexasAggieHiker on August 26, 2019, 04:45:34 PM
Thatís good news on all fronts.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 26, 2019, 10:08:34 PM
So itís aoudad racks for the taking, eh?

Well, given the NPS mindset on collecting anything....NOPE.

Even though they don't belong there, the attitude undoubtedly is 'they're part of the park and there's no collecting in the park.'
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 26, 2019, 10:13:57 PM
Thatís good news on all fronts.

Unless you are an Aoudad
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Hang10er on August 27, 2019, 06:56:55 AM
"remains will be left on the landscape and returned to the park nutrient cycle"


Truthfully, isn't this all you can really hope for. 
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Flash on August 27, 2019, 08:23:21 PM
I was browsing the mountains around and near Devil's Den with Lance's Google Earth Project, dreaming about a possible future hike, when I spotted what looked like trails winding around in the northern Sierra del Carmens. Not far from the upper end of Devil's Den, I saw very clear cut trails and a couple of intersections that started to look like aoudad crossroads (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=29.60644,-103.1016&z=19&b=hyb) (click link for a CalTopo map). In any case, my guess is these are well worn game trails into which lesser trails converge toward the water sources down in the Devils Den? Maybe a carcass or three might be found out there.  :eusa_think:
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Ranger Tim on August 28, 2019, 11:50:38 AM
Regarding irresponsible hunters - yea, there are some.

Unfortunately, our local Aoudad hunting guide service is one of the biggest offenders around. Given how segmented Terlingua Ranch has become, their entire business model is basically predicated on trespass and poaching. The owner of the company has all but admitted it, but the money is too good to stop so he plays whack-a-mole with the wardens and leaves caped and headless carcasses on private property across the ranch. Meanwhile, landowners who report or confront him face threats and live fire over their homes. I used to support private aoudad control until this outfit came into my life, but now I simply can't tolerate on my property.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: presidio on August 28, 2019, 02:03:28 PM

Unfortunately, our local Aoudad hunting guide service is one of the biggest offenders around. Given how segmented Terlingua Ranch has become, their entire business model is basically predicated on trespass and poaching. The owner of the company has all but admitted it, but the money is too good to stop so he plays whack-a-mole with the wardens and leaves caped and headless carcasses on private property across the ranch.

So, what does the Sheriff say about this?

I find it difficult to believe the game wardens cannot make a case.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Ranger Tim on August 28, 2019, 02:43:47 PM
The sheriff and the wardens are fully aware, but the way the law is written they basically have to catch them in the act, hence the whack-a-mole reference. Terlingua Ranch is over 200,000 acres in size and there is a single warden and a handful of deputies for the entire county. They simply don't have the resources and the hunt guides know it. There a few landowners that work with them, including my neighbor, but they typically only own a hundred or fewer acres and that's tiny by aoudad standards. The guides get paid big if they recover the trophy, so they poach. Simple as that.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: steelfrog on August 28, 2019, 02:47:25 PM
Maybe someone should sue their butts in civil court for false advertising.  Looks like on their site they claim they have access to a 250,000 acre ranch, although they say, they only have access to 10,000 acres on the tops of mountains, which they claim is all that matters since that's where the aoudad are.  There's the one there in Terlingua and the competitor out west that also runs hunts in Terlingua on a more limited basis.

$3,500 for a ram.  Decent money!
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: Ranger Tim on August 28, 2019, 02:53:51 PM
Hard to say what 250,000 acre ranch they are talking about,... there just aren't many ranches out here that size anymore. I suspect they're talking about Terlingua Ranch itself. Given that there are approximately 5,000 members who own the roughly 9,500 individual tracts that make up the Ranch, eventually they'll piss someone off enough to sue them into nonexistence... or worse.
Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: steelfrog on August 28, 2019, 03:11:54 PM
Agreed--I think that's exactly what they're talking about, TR.

And yes I get what you are intimating; maybe some of those TR residents may resort to self help, and if they do, they may be justified in so doing:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm

Title: Re: Aoudad control starts
Post by: dprather on August 28, 2019, 05:12:31 PM
Agreed--I think that's exactly what they're talking about, TR.

And yes I get what you are intimating; maybe some of those TR residents may resort to self help, and if they do, they may be justified in so doing:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm

Poacher control sounds a lot more exciting than Aoudad control - and I'm NOT in for that hunt