The National Park Service is holding the first controlled bison hunt inside Grand Canyon National Park that aims to cut the House Rock bison herd by more than half.
The cull, according to officials, is due to concerns of ecological impacts as a result of stampeding through dense forests, intense over-grazing and wondering around the rim of the canyon.
Aerial surveys observed about 400 to 600 bison in this particular hard, which could increase to about 1,500 in the next 10 years.Within the Grand Canyon, shooters will 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.
The Grand Canyon National Park says hunters who meet the requirements can apply online in early May.
A pool of 25 qualified applicants will be selected and then 12 people will be chosen by random lottery to participate in the hunt.
The hunt will take place over five weeks this fall: September 20-24, September 27-Octobr 1, 18-22, 25-29. Future dates will be announced.
The Grand Canyon bison are descendants of those introduced to northern Arizona in the early 1900s by rancher Charles ‘Buffalo’ Jones.
Some say that at one point Jones was caring for 150 buffalo, and 15 percent of the present-day herd are said to be their descendants.
In 1902, US. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Jones as Yellowstone’s first game warden, following the official establishment of the park in 1872.
As one of his first official acts, Jones obtained three breeding bulls from Goodnight’s buffalo herd. The following year, Yellowstone’s superintendent proudly reported to Washington that the herd, ‘under the immediate charge of Mr. C.J. Jones, is doing exceedingly well.’
Jones held the post for five years, but collected and bred buffalo for years afterward.
Fast-forward to present day, the 500 House Rock bison herd is wreaking havoc on the park.
The state of Arizona now owns them and has an annual draw for tags on the Kaibab National Forest.
‘Grazing and wallowing in park meadows, stampeding through dense forests, and occasionally venturing along the rim of the canyon,’ the National Park shared in a statement.
‘Concerns of ecological impacts and effects to archaeological sites have increased over the years as these bison have begun to congregate around natural water sources and change their migration behaviors to stay within park boundaries for longer periods throughout the year.
In 2019, park officials moved 88 bison to five Native American tribes and a year later, the park service and Arizona Game and Fish agreed on a plan to hold a controlled hunt at the North Rim.
According to a press release from Grand Canyon National Park, hunters who meet the requirements can apply online in early May.
A pool of 25 qualified applicants will be selected. From that pool, 12 people will be chosen by random lottery to participate in the hunt.
The goal is to reduce the herd by 200 animals. The hunter must be able to haul the carcass without motorized assistance.
The hunt will take place over five weeks this fall: Sept. 20-24, Sept. 27-Oct. 1, Oct. 18-22 and Oct. 25-29. Future dates will be announced.
This article was first published by The Daily Mail on 1 May 2021. Lead Image: The National Park Service is holding the first controlled bison hunt inside Grand Canyon National Park that aims to cut the House Rock bison herd by more than a half.
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