Horn plugs

jofes

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Jul 23, 2014
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Listening to episode 109 of Tundra talk today, they get into the sealing of sheep horns and the lack of need to put in a plug. Being new to the world of sheep hunting, is this something that is commonly held as necessary or a good thing? Ive seen alot of sheep hunting videos and they normally end with the plugging process and they always make it look like a positive thing/something they are proud to do.

To those who have harvested sheep.

Do you like the horn plug?
 

Jimbob

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Smithers, BC
When the inspector put in the plug for the sheep in my profile pic he did a bad job. It was sticking up a 1/4" and looked horrible. I went home, removed it and drilled it out better and installed it just below flush. Two years later the same inspector did my son's stone ram and it was a good job. Once it is installed flush I don't mind it.

I am sure that everyone is VERY proud to have their ram inspected and plugged in the sense that everything is legal and good to go. Of the two rams I have been part of harvesting, there was a certain level of ever-present anxiety until it is inspected. There are some horror stories of great rams being confiscated then long court battles afterwards. Getting the plug in is almost like a sigh of relief and confirmation and everything you just accomplished, that's my feeling anyway.

Now, is it necessary? I'm not sure. I bring my mountain goat horns to get inspected and they don't get a plug why not? Just a sheep thing that everywhere does so we keep doing it? Does it help with catching poachers? Maybe.

Overall I'm fine with it. It feels dam good walking away from the inspection station with a set of plugged horns. Also, it is a cool talking point to non-hunters when they ask about the plug and what it is for.
 

Bambistew

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Alaska
Some people are bothered by the fact that someone drills a hole in their horn. Those that are proud, are just boasting or making film. I'm not sure it makes any difference one way or the other. The premise is that it will reduce poaching because all sheep should have a plug. However not every state requires a plug for pickup/dead heads. I'm skeptical that it really does much to curb poaching.

I'm indifferent to them, and don't notice them on any of my mounts/skulls.
 

Nick Muche

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What value does the plug provide that a locking tag couldn't, similar to what is required on every other sealable species in AK, and similar to what they did in 2004/2005 for sheep.

Dead heads in AK do not require a seal/plug... Thank you to WSF for funding the plugs, but what do they do?
 
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ram94

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Jul 24, 2019
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I believe part of the reason for plugging is to collect DNA samples from the horn to aid in poaching investigations should any evidence come to light to suspect it.

Which I am 100% okay with. Anything to deter poaching of rams.
 
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jofes

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I believe part of the reason for plugging is to collect DNA samples from the horn to aid in poaching investigations should any evidence come to light to suspect it.

Which I am 100% okay with. Anything to deter poaching of rams.
How does this help if "dead heads" don't have to be plugged?
 

ram94

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In Alberta they do. That's my wheel house. Not up on laws in other areas.
 

william schmaltz

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I can't make and sense of it. They can "make it official" without drilling a hole in your horns.

You can print off as many sheep tags as you want and just keep knocking em down once you get one home. Even if you shoot a sublegal sheep, all you really need to do is get it home. If someone is really into poaching sheep, plugged horns are the least of their worries. I can't seem to connect the dots to collecting DNA samples of a legally killed sheep to catch poachers. If that's the big reason, we can get DNA from a straw someone drank out of so they should be able to get it from a fresh skull cap......
 

Molon Labe

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Feb 17, 2017
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I kind of like the process and dont care if there is a plug in the horn. Something special i guess?

Although on my buddies CO bighorn last year...new f&g guy was starting way up top so i stopped him and pointed to the spot he needed to drill. he then used the wrong depth of drill bit...i mentioned that it probably wouldnt be flush with that bit...maybe get a different bit. He didnt. Well he glued and stuck the plug in...stuck out 1/8"...of course.
So then asked if we can remove the plug drill it out correct and sink it in flush...he didnt know. Got a warden and we got a written permission to remove plug and place it flush.
kind of a shitshow...
 

ram94

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It definitely isn't a perfect system. There is always going to be ways to break the law, but I guess it is better than nothing. I know in Alberta, we have lots of areas that are off limits for sheep hunting and the borders of those areas get hit hard. People have been prosecuted when a carcass is found inside a sanctuary zone and they can match up dna to any recently plugged rams. Sure the dirtbag could take it home without registering, but I am guessing most guys wouldn't want a non-plugged ram in their living room. They would most likely just lie about where it was shot.
 

Nick Muche

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You don't need to drill a hole into the horns to make the Ram legal. There are less destructive ways to do this, like they used to and like they do for every other animal that requires a seal. I think that is Tyler's point.

Me... I could go either way, it doesn't bother me much, but I see his and the others point. It's unnecessary and provides no value, scientific or otherwise.
 

alexanderg23

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Wasilla, AK
I think it’s cool, but also think someone at AK F&G has the holy grail of all the data collected from the drilling/ check in’s.
 

Nick Muche

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Check in's and Sealing are not the issue in my opinion, sealing is important and certainly reduces poaching, etc.

And yes, they do have the holy grail as it pertains to sheep and harvest locations.
 

william schmaltz

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I think it’s cool, but also think someone at AK F&G has the holy grail of all the data collected from the drilling/ check in’s.
I've often times considered submitting a FOIA for that sucker. I'm not sure what's all protected and how, but I get them sent to me for my projects with seemingly no limit on how much info I'm required to fork out. A friend of mine that used to work at the ADFG was joking about finding my bear baits that way and sounded pretty confident he could do it.
 

alexanderg23

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Wasilla, AK
FOIA won’t get you anywhere. We need Russian hackers...



I've often times considered submitting a FOIA for that sucker. I'm not sure what's all protected and how, but I get them sent to me for my projects with seemingly no limit on how much info I'm required to fork out. A friend of mine that used to work at the ADFG was joking about finding my bear baits that way and sounded pretty confident he could do it.
 

bearcreekbandit

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May 5, 2015
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Fairbanks, AK
The only reason we have the plug here in Alaska is because WSF pushed it, and although I’m sure WSF likes the idea of having each set of horns serial numbered and tied to location for eternity, it doesn’t do anything to curb poaching or provide any valuable samples or information to the state of AK beyond what sealing with a simple locking tag in the skull cap can provide. They’ve been doing it long enough to have people conditioned into being indifferent about whether someone takes a DEWalt to their horns for no good reason. Other states can do what they want, but there’s no plug for mountain goats or any antlered animals, and virtually all other required seals can be removed when tanning begins. I think they should at least give people the option to decline the plug. If that plug is such a source of relief that your sheep was deemed legal, you need to be more careful about the sheep you’re shooting, and a locking tag and state record of sealing does the same thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Blockcaver

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Sep 9, 2012
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BC

DNA studies...one of the uses for the cuttings gathered from plugging sheep. There are a lot more studies out of Univ of Alberta using the DNA and thousands of horn samples that are available from across the sheep range. I support plugging, DNA studies, etc.

University of Alberta research sheds more light on Thinhorn sheep subspecies​

Author of the article:
Ainslie Cruickshank
Publishing date:
Jun 13, 2016 • June 13, 2016 • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Dall sheep.
Dall sheep. PHOTO BY CONRAD THIESSEN/B.C. MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS

Article content​

When two groups of Thinhorn sheep were separated during the last ice age, two subspecies, one light and one dark, developed.

Using DNA from 55 Thinhorn sheep from British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Alaska, a University of Alberta researcher has uncovered new insights into the evolutionary biology of the white Dall sheep and the darker Stone sheep.




University of Alberta research sheds more light on Thinhorn sheep subspecies​

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“We’re always interested in variation within a species and how species split into subspecies and subsequently into two species,” said Sim Zijian, a PhD candidate in the department of biological sciences at the University of Alberta.

Usually, this type of study would use fossils to trace a species evolution, but fossils don’t form well in the icy, rocky, mountain-top habitats where Thinhorn sheep live, Zijian said.

Instead, Zijian used DNA from shavings taken from sheep horns.

Hunters bring the horns from any sheep they kill to government agencies for inspection to ensure the sheep are within the age limit that’s allowed to be hunted.
 
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