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Hunters Being Sought To Kill Grand Canyon Bison Amid Objections

Hunters Being Sought To Kill Grand Canyon Bison Amid Objections GRAND CANYON, AZ — The National Park Service is turning to volunteer hunters to help control the bison population at the Grand Canyon, one of America’s most-visited national parks, but a leading national animal rights group says other, “nonlethal” measures should be taken instead.

The bison herd in the north rim of the northern Arizona national park is rapidly growing, as have concerns that the expected continued growth will impact the park’s water, vegetation and soil resources, the NPS said in its recent callout for bison hunters.

Also citing “visitor experience” and “wilderness character,” the NPS said lowering the size of the herd will “protect the park ecosystem, resources and values.”

The plan has been met with some pushback, however.

Stephanie Boyles Griffin, director of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States, views bison as “one of our nation’s most iconic species,” she said in a statement to Patch.

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“And the American public does not want to see them killed, particularly in one of our nation’s most cherished national parks,” Boyles Griffin added.

Bison overpopulation in the Grand Canyon’s north rim has been a growing issue for a number of years, according to the NPS, which said alternative ways to control the bison population have been implemented.

Grand Canyon biologists began a capture-and-relocation program in 2019, since then moving 88 animals from the park to American Indian Tribes through an agreement with the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, according to the NPS.

The capture-and-relocation program will continue this fall, when the hunters will be called in the supplement it.

Expecting a considerable interest from hunters across Arizona and other Western states, the NPS will randomly pick 25 applicants in a pool where the 12 most qualified will be selected. Candidates will only have a 48-hour period on May 3 and May 4 to apply.

Having a firearm safety certification, a high level of physical fitness and passing a marksmanship proficiency test will be among the requirements, the NPS said.