The National Park Service (NPS) has announced another environmental assessment of the buffalo herd that has taken up residence within the confines of the Grand Canyon National Park on the North Rim. Many of you will remember this herd as the "House Rock" herd. They've found the groceries are better on the Park, and no one shoots them there! What used to be 100 to 200 animals is now estimated to be triple that size and projected to grow considerably more if something isn't done. "We", including sportsmen and women, AZ Game & Fish Commission and Department, Senators McCain and Flake and Congressman Gosar for the last couple years have tried to instill some common sense into the NPS to address this "problem". We have suggested the NPS allow hunters (skilled volunteers that pass the buffalo class), pay Game & Fish for a tag that is selected in the draw, for the privilege of hunting these sought after game animals, which in turn would perpetuate this prized hunt and continue to fulfill lifelong dreams of hunting an Arizona buffalo. The only cost to the NPS would be supervising the operation and setting out some parameters in concert with the Game & Fish Department. The first round of bison EA discussion in 2014 got the ball rolling. Here we are three years later with some small "concessions", but we aren't yet where we need to be. Notably, it appears the skilled volunteers being proposed aren't under the control of the AZ Game & Fish Department, and if one of those skilled volunteers happens to harvest a buffalo, they cannot have the hide and horns. They may get some meat, but may have to share it with the group of people they might be selected to "hunt" with. What do we want? 1. We want the NPS to work in concert with the AZ Game & Fish Department to manage and control these "hunts". 2. We want the "skilled volunteers" to be selected by AZ Game & Fish through the draw process as they have in the past, to hunt this "sub-unit" of 12A. 3. We want these "skilled volunteers" to be able to retain the entire carcass of any animal they successfully harvest. The comment deadline is June 7, 2017, and you can submit your comments in one of following ways: 1. electronically here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=79883 2. or via US Mail to this address: Grand Canyon National Park, PO Box 129, Attn: Bison Management Plan EA, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Thanks for making this happen Marvin!
Let's hope the NPS lets the folks that understand wildlife management do so. It will be a win-win if they do.
I don't see why it wouldn't, as long as it is conducted by the Game and Fish Dept. Currently, I believe any hunt with more than one permit, regardless of species, allows non-residents.
The National Park Service (NPS) has extended the public comment period on the Initial Bison Herd Reduction Environmental Assessment (EA), which evaluates management actions related to bison on Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The EA will now be available for public review and comment through June 14, 2017.
The comment period was extended because of an update to the NPS Planning, Environmental, and Public Comment (PEPC) website which is being used to accept electronic comments related to this EA.
Interested parties can still submit comments electronically on the PEPC website through June 14, 2017 at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca_bison. Parties can also submit comments via U.S. Postal Service at Grand Canyon National Park, PO Box 129, Attn: Bison Management Plan EA, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.
The purpose of the actions evaluated in the EA are to (1) quickly reduce bison population density on the Kaibab Plateau through collaborative efforts and (2) protect Grand Canyon National Park resources and values from the impacts of a steadily growing bison population.
According to a NPS news release, the NPS would work together with cooperating agencies and partners through the preferred alternative to reduce the bison herd to fewer than 200 animals using lethal culling with skilled volunteers and non-lethal capture and removal.
A management action that is not included in the Park Service’s preferred alternative is reducing the bison herd through public hunting. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department have consistently advocated for a model that uses properly licensed hunters as a management tool and allows the hunter to keep the animal.
“Several of the proposed actions in the Park Service EA will cost taxpayers far more than lethal removal by citizen hunters who would pay for the opportunity to assist the NPS,” said Arizona Game and Fish Commission member Kurt Davis. “That option would provide additional hunting opportunities consistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and help to properly manage the bison population and protect park resources.”