Wanted: Volunteer shooters to thin Grand Canyon bison herd

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by EC, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. EC

    EC 12 pointer

    Jul 13, 2003
    Louisville, KY.
    Wanted: Volunteer shooters to thin Grand Canyon bison herd
    Associated PressSeptember 11, 2017
    View photos
    FILE- In this Aug. 26, 2010, file photo provided by the Kaibab National Forest, bison in the national forest adjacent to the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona group together. The National Park Service has a plan to thin the bison population around the Grand Canyon through roundups and by seeking volunteers who are physically fit and proficient with a gun to kill the animals that increasingly are damaging park resources. (Kaibab National Forest via AP, File)

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The National Park Service plans to thin a herd of bison in the Grand Canyon through roundups and by seeking volunteers who are physically fit and proficient with a gun to kill the animals that increasingly are damaging park resources.

    Some bison would be shipped out of the area and others legally hunted on the adjacent forest. Within the Grand Canyon, shooters would be selected through a lottery to help bring the number of bison roaming the far northern reaches of the park to no more than 200 within three to five years.

    About 600 of the animals now live in the region, and biologists say the bison numbers could hit 1,500 within 10 years if left uncontrolled.

    The Grand Canyon is still working out details of the volunteer effort, but it's taking cues from national parks in Colorado, the Dakotas and Wyoming that have used shooters to cut overabundant or diseased populations of elk. The Park Service gave final approval to the bison reduction plan this month.

    Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club says she's hopeful Grand Canyon will focus mostly on non-lethal removal.

    The Grand Canyon bison are descendants of those introduced to northern Arizona in the early 1900s as part of a ranching operation to crossbreed them with cattle. The state of Arizona now owns them and has an annual draw for tags on the Kaibab National Forest. Nearly 1,500 people applied for one of 122 tags this year, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    The bison have been moving in recent years within the Grand Canyon boundaries where open hunting is prohibited. Park officials say they're trampling on vegetation and spoiling water resources. The reduction plan would allow volunteers working in a team with a Park Service employee to shoot bison using non-lead ammunition to protect endangered California condors that feed on gut piles.

    Hunters cannot harvest more than one bison in their lifetime through the state hunt, making the volunteer effort intriguing, they say.

    "I would go if I had a chance to retain a portion of the meat," said Travis McClendon, a hunter in Cottonwood. "It definitely would be worth going, especially with a group."

    Grand Canyon is working with state wildlife officials and the Intertribal Buffalo Council to craft guidelines for roundups and volunteer shooters, who would search for bison in the open, said Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson.

    Much of the work would be done on foot in elevations of 8,000 feet or higher between October and May when the road leading to the Grand Canyon's North Rim is closed. Snowmobiles and sleds would be used to remove the bison meat, and helicopters in rare instances, park officials said.

    Carl Lutch, the terrestrial wildlife manager for Game and Fish in Flagstaff, said some models require volunteers to be capable of hiking eight miles a day, carrying a 60-pound pack and hitting a paper plate 200 yards away five times.

    The head and hide of the bison would be given to tribes, or federal and state agencies.

    Lutch said one scenario discussed is splitting the bison meat among volunteers, with each volunteer able to take the equivalent of meat from one full bison. Anything in excess of that would be given to tribes and charities, he said. A full-grown bull can have hundreds of pounds of meat.

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota used volunteers in 2010 for elk reduction, selecting 240 people from thousands of applicants, said park spokeswoman Eileen Andes. Some quit before the week was over, she said.

    "We had quite a bit of snow, so you're not in a vehicle, you're not on a horse," she said. "You're hiking through snow to shoot elk and haul them out. It was exceedingly strenuous."
  2. 120+

    120+ 12 pointer

    Sounds like they are trying their best to take any possible fun out of it for the hunter.
  3. Duster

    Duster 12 pointer

    Sounds like some of the deer reduction deals I worked. We had to donate the meat to charity's after inspection by the USDA and any antlers went to the state. It did lead to getting paid after a few years with a company that did those reductions.
  4. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

    Nov 17, 2007
    California ky
    I don't understand why they dont just open up that part to hunting for a few years and issue more tags specifically for that area. Weird.
    barney likes this.
  5. Marsh CallUser

    Marsh CallUser 12 pointer

    May 20, 2011
    Bowling Green, KY

    Because that makes too much sense. Gov't has to regulate the type of hunter the let hunt their pristine lands.

    Edit: I should say "our land".
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    EC and EdLongshanks like this.
  6. reivertom

    reivertom 12 pointer

    Dec 17, 2007
    Greenup Co.
    I wouldn't mind doing it if they would drag them out for me. That would be quite a haul!
  7. Drahts

    Drahts 10 pointer

    Apr 7, 2015
    Well if you decide to do this hunt expect to bring home less than 20% of the meat but doing all the work, skinning, gutting and packing out the quarters on your back. Oh and you don't do that for just yours but others hunting during the time your there. I have a friend that works the park service that told me how it works. Or doesn't work like the hunter wants it to. They will tell you a good story but you won't be happy with the end result.
  8. Duster

    Duster 12 pointer

    He is right on that. It can turn into a major job and not near as fun as one would think.

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