hunting states

Volunteers Wanted to Thin Out Grand Canyon Bison Herd

The National Park Service is looking for volunteer hunters.

The National Park Service wants to thin out a bison herd in the Grand Canyon, as it's damaging the park and its resources. The plan is to relocate some of them and then enlist volunteers to hunt the rest.

The Park Service would select hunters through a lottery (you can watch for details about that here). A lucky few selected would have permission to hunt a herd of bison in the northern reaches of the park. The goal is to bring the herd down to fewer than 200 in the next five years.

Currently, the northern portion of the park is home to about 600 animals, according to WWMT, and the number of bison would continue to grow if unchecked. Biologists say the population could hit 1500 in 10 years without the hunting.

The Park Service is still working out the details of the programs, but WWMT says they'll will focus mostly on non-lethal removal, according to Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club. The rest of the program will work similarly to Park Service hunts in Colorado, the Dakotas, and Wyoming.

Bison hunting is allowed in the state of Arizona, which holds annual drawings for 122 available tags, but hunting within the Grand Canyon is not currently allowed. Part of this hunt's appeal is that through the state, each hunter is only allowed one bison in his or her lifetime. Volunteer hunts don't count toward this.

Volunteer hunters would be able to work with park employees to harvest a bison. So, if you're interested, the hunting requirements aren't that unreasonable. If you can hike 8 miles a day while carrying a 60-pound pack and you can hit a paper plate five times at 200 yards, you're fit to hunt. Also, it's worth noting you won't be able to keep the hide and head of your bison.