The first buffalo hunt in Grand Canyon National Park seeks volunteers to kill HUNDREDS of animals

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Grand Canyon National Park’s first buffalo hunt seeks volunteers to kill HUNDREDS of animals running through dense forests and over-grazing fields

  • The National Park is looking for volunteers to support the Arizona bison herd
  • The hunt is scheduled for fall, but volunteers can register from the beginning of May
  • Hunters must be at least 18 years old to participate in the fall hunt
  • A total of 12 archers are chosen through a lottery in the summer
  • Officials are on the hunt to reduce the herd to about 200 – that’s about 500

The National Park Service is holding the first controlled bison hunt in Grand Canyon National Park with the goal of reducing the herd of House Rock bison by more than half.

The clearance, according to officials, is due to concerns about ecological consequences from storms through dense forests, intense overgrazing and wonder around the canyon rim.

Aerial surveys observed about 400 to 600 bison in this particular harsh environment, which could increase to about 1,500 in the next 10 years.

Within the Grand Canyon, shooters will be selected by lottery to bring the number of bison roaming the far northern reaches of the park to no more than 200.

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The National Park Service holds the first controlled bison hunt in Grand Canyon National Park with the goal of reducing the herd of House Rock bison by more than half

The National Park Service holds the first controlled bison hunt in Grand Canyon National Park with the goal of reducing the herd of House Rock bison by more than half

The Grand Canyon National Park says hunters who meet the requirements can apply online in early May.

A pool of 25 qualified candidates is selected and then 12 people are chosen by random lottery to participate in the hunt.

The hunt will take place this fall for five weeks: September 20-24, September 27-October 1, 18-22, 25-29. Future dates are announced.

The Grand Canyon Bison are descendants of those introduced to Northern Arizona by rancher Charles ‘Buffalo’ Jones in the early 1900s.

Aerial surveys observed about 400 to 600 bison in this particular field, which could increase to about 1,500 in the next 10 years

Aerial surveys observed about 400 to 600 bison in this particular field, which could increase to about 1,500 in the next 10 years

The Grand Canyon National Park says hunters who meet the requirements can apply online in early May.  A pool of 25 qualified candidates will be selected and then 12 people will be chosen by random lottery to participate in the hunt

The Grand Canyon National Park says hunters who meet the requirements can apply online in early May. A pool of 25 qualified candidates will be selected and then 12 people will be chosen by random lottery to participate in the hunt

Some say that Jones cared for 150 buffalo at one point and that 15 percent of the current herd would be their offspring.

In 1902, USA. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Jones as Yellowstone’s first gamekeeper after the park’s official establishment in 1872.

As one of his first official acts, Jones obtained three proven bulls from Goodnight’s buffalo herd. The following year, the Chief Superintendent of Yellowstone proudly reported to Washington that the herd is doing extremely well, “under the immediate direction of Mr. CJ Jones.”

Jones held the position for five years, but years later collected and bred buffalo.

Fast forward to the present, the 500 House Rock bison herd is wreaking havoc in the park.

The state of Arizona now owns them and has an annual draw for tags at the Kaibab National Forest.

“Graze and wallow in park meadows, stomp through dense forests and occasionally venture along the edge of the canyon,” the National Park shared in a statement.

Concerns about ecological impacts and impacts on archaeological sites have grown over the years as these bison begin to congregate around natural water sources and change their migratory behavior to remain within park boundaries for extended periods throughout the year.

The clearance is due to concerns about ecological impacts from storms through dense forests, intense overgrazing and wonder around the canyon edge, officials say.

The clearance is due to concerns about ecological impacts from storms through dense forests, intense overgrazing and wonder around the canyon edge, officials say.

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 conduct a controlled hunt on 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 candidates 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 transport the carcass without motorized assistance.

The hunt will take place for five weeks this fall: September 20-24, September 27-October. October 1, October 18-22 and October 25-29. Future dates are announced.

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