By Tom Knighton
Have you ever wanted to hunt bison? More specifically, have you ever wanted to hunt bison smack dab in the Grand Canyon? If so, here’s a golden opportunity for you.
You see, it seems that the massive animals have been damaging vegetation and causing problems in the national park for a while now. That means something has to be done to reduce their numbers. While National Parks Service personnel are working to relocate some of the animals, there’s only so much that can be done on that front.
That means some of the rest need to be hunted.
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.
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, Click to see the original article