A herd of Dall sheep graze on the side of one of the peaks in the Mystery Hills above the Skyline Trail in September 2017 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A herd of Dall sheep graze on the side of one of the peaks in the Mystery Hills above the Skyline Trail in September 2017 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

State Parks seeks information in sheep poaching case

Alaska park rangers are looking for tips on who might have poached a Dall sheep in the Cooper Landing area.

Alaska State Parks rangers found evidence of someone illegally shooting a sheep during the closed season on Kenai Lake between Porcupine Island and Primrose Campground, east of Cooper Landing. The incident happened the first week of March, said park ranger Tom Anthony in an email.

Dall sheep in the Kenai Mountains migrate down from high elevations where they roam in the summer to lower rocky outcroppings in the winter.

“The sheep are about 150 yards off the lake right now,” he said. “… They’ve very vulnerable.”

Park rangers have leads but are asking for information from the public and the Cooper Landing community on a possible suspect. Anthony said anyone with information can contact him at 907-262-5581 or tom.anthony@alaska.gov.

Dall sheep are a highly valued sport hunting species. Most are taken by out-of-state hunters in guided hunts in the mountainous areas of Alaska, including the Kenai Peninsula. The hunting season is open in the fall from August through September, based on a permit draw system. Dall sheep populations in Alaska are generally regarded as healthy though past reports from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have noted that subpopulations are declining. Harvest numbers have also been declining.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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