Park Service Will Seek Volunteers to Thin Grand Canyon Bison Herd

A bison herd has taken up residence on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. | Flickr user K O

The National Park Service has approved a plan to reduce the number of bison on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

And soon, the Park Service will be seeking a few good hunters.

As the Associated Press reported last week, the agency this month approved a plan, up for comment earlier this year, to thin the non-native North Rim herd to no more than 200 animals within three to five years. That's a decrease of at least 50 percent from the 400 to 600 bison estimated to currently roam that section of the Kaibab Plateau.

The details of the plan are still being finalized, but it's expected to include shipping some of the bison out of the area, the AP reported. Some of those that remain would then be further culled by volunteer hunters picked via a lottery. (The bison are managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and are hunted legally in the state, but hunting is currently prohibited within park boundaries, where the bison now spend most of their time.)

Much of the hunting would be done between October and May, when the North Rim is closed because of snow. As such, snowmobiles, sleds and even helicopters would be used to remove bison meat, the AP reported. Parts of the bison, such as the head and hide, would then be given to local tribes, while each volunteer would get a portion of the meat.

The AP says the Park Service plans to seek hunters who can manage the hostile winter conditions. Requirements might include being able to hike 8 miles in a day, carry a 60-pound pack and shoot a paper plate five times from 200 yards away.

National Park Service sites in Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas have used similar methods for elk reduction, the AP reported.


Shouldn't be shooting Buffalo with anything but a Camera

Please explain how shooting a buffalo with a camera will keep the herd size within the carrying capacity of the park and prevent environmental damage to fragile ecosystem caused by overgrazing.

I volunteer. 505-883-4111

I am willing to guess they would make excellent mating stock for ranchers who grow for marketing. Sure bison hunting if limited, but sell a large portion to small farm concerns across the country & Canada or maybe even South American countries.

How about giving Native Americans the first choice of taking them to their reservations to restore what was taken from them by the slaughter of the herds, to force them into submission? They traditionally use the whole buffalo. Why would the Park Service only give them the heads and the hides, instead of the whole buffalo, or better the living animal? How nice that Trophy hunters will be awarded, by lottery, hunting permits. How about including Native hunters as well, and awarding them half of the permits, for free. They could feed their people, help their elderly, and teach their young how to traditionally hunt, and process a buffalo. As well as being their protectors, making sure they stay healthy, and at a healthy and sustainable number.

Your idea is wonderful. I'd like to send it to the Park Service to see what they'd think of it. There are better uses for these grand animals.

I am available to volunteer and meet the qualifications. Please contact me at [email protected] Thank you

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Im able to volunteer, also to provide for my tribe. Please email me information at [email protected] Thank you..

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