National Park Service Buffalo Bison hunt Grand Canyon
(AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
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Grand Canyon National Park has itself a bison problem. The population of the big herbivores has grown to over 600 and the National Park Service is looking for volunteers to gradually take that number down to about 200 through a combination of culling and relocation over the next five years.

But when they put the word out that they were looking for hunters to be part of the NPS’s “lethal removal” process, they probably weren’t expecting the kind of response they got.

From the Idaho Statesman . . .

All 45,040 people applied with the Arizona Game and Fish Department during a 48-hour window. People were then selected in a lottery draw.

“The lottery … will send applicants to the park for provisional selection,” the National Park Service said. “Final selection will be contingent on meeting the volunteer qualification criteria.”

The final dozen hunters selected for the herd management program will have to have fairly flexible schedules and will be pretty much on their own.

During the 2021 season, there will be four five-day periods when volunteers will remove bison. Volunteers have to complete training on the first day and can’t select which week they participate in.

People who are chosen are then responsible to gather three to five “support volunteers” to help them during the week. They can be family members or friends.

Volunteers also need their own camping equipment, firearms and non-lead ammunition.

Somehow we don’t think any of that will be a problem.

As you can imagine, the Park Service’s bison management plan was not well received by everyone.

From the Sacramento Bee . . .

Alicyn Gitlin of the Sierra Club told The Associated Press last year that she would rather the bison be removed from the area entirely.

“I’m very nervous about there being a perpetual dependency on this use of people having to go into the park and shoot,” she told the AP.

In 2017, The Humane Society of the United States said the plan was unneeded and unwarranted.

“If it happens, the NPS will not only be targeting the very symbol of the agency itself and our national mammal, but spilling their blood in or around yet one more jewel of our nation’s most beloved network of federal lands,” the group wrote.

Do you know anyone who was lucky enough to have been selected?



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  1. Hunting them and relocating are both proper techniques to control the population. Question is, are there areas of the country that can support more of these critters? If so, that’s fine, establish more herds where and when possible.

    And manage them to a good size to support more opportunities for Americans to hunt them.

    See there? The point is that good wildlife management both maintains healthy critter populations AND tries to provide more opportunities for Americans to enjoy them.

    Come to think of it, I haven’t eaten Buffalo since I was a teenager.


    • Some grocery stores in my (eastern) neck of the woods sell buffalo as the other red meat. They are really lean and tasty. Highly recommended! I’ve got an air frier that makes meats slightly crusty and very juicy and have been thinking of trying buffalo steaks sometime.

      • It’s been many years but I paid good money at a restaurant for buffalo steaks and didn’t really care for it. Mine was very chewy and kind of nasty tasting as was my dates.

        That being said whoever wins the lottery, good luck on the hunt.

    • Virtually impossible in practice. Bison can basically only exist in national parks these days. Due to the risk of brucellosis, ranchers won’t allow them to become established anywhere else. In fact, a move to establish herds outside of YNP on tribal land in Montana was recently shot down.

      • There are plenty of bison ranches around me. Bison are more difficult to control than cattle and need sturdier fencing, but it’s doable.

      • No sir. There are lots of bison ranches. There’s one not five miles from me. I see them everyday.

      • There are buffalo ranches around here too. Some have been going 20+ years.

      • We have a customer who raises bison, a small place with half a dozen at a time. Huge chunks of meat for sure, and tasty to boot.

      • Got an exotic animal ranch not too far from me, bison, zebras, etc, nothing too crazy. A lot of people raise odd ball animal in the area like white tail and breeder deer, fencing is top quality for liability reasons and it’s definitely doable.

        I’m taking notes on the setup because I eventually want my own white tail for meat when I fence in several acres here. 🙂 Bison are too much to manage and fairly dangerous.

  2. I applied, along with just about everyone else I know that hunts. The winners are to be notified sometime next week.
    I wonder how many of the 45k that applied will actually be able to haul out an entire bison, much less multiple animals. The rules are that all parts of then animal be removed, entirely on foot, and with an average elevation of 8k feet. That makes hauling an elk look easy.

    • JWT,

      Will NPS allow horses / mules?

      We’ve hunted in the Bob Marshall Wilderness using horses for transportation and as pack animals…but then, the U.S. Forest Service has always had a more mature and accommodating nature than the NPS.

      • No animals or vehicles allowed. You are allowed a team of 5 support people to help haul.

        • Yup that’s how our draw hunts are. Ya need good friends and family to pack an elk out in terrain.
          I didn’t put in but wouldn’t mind going in with someone to help if I knew them. It’s be a pretty cool experience.

      • Took a nice bull with a bow on the plains of Wyoming several years ago. Quite an experience stalking up to get a 40 yd shoot when there is really very little cover

    • Yup. I put in also.
      Now I have to find a hunter safety course. Never needed one.
      Going to start hitting the treadmill for longer and more elevation.
      I’ll be shooting my Ruger #1 in .375 H&H.

    • “I applied, along with just about everyone else I know that hunts.”

      Do you know if a winner can sell, auction, or give away their winning tag to someone else?

      Because that makes a tempting way for someone to make a *very* tidy profit, if they were so inclined…

  3. You know, I used to admire John Muir, read Muir’s works, and generally about him. I think he, as a practical Scot, would be disgusted with today’s Sierra Club! Preservation is good, but preserving everything to the detriment of mankind is stupid. “Climate change” is simple: 10,000 years ago there was an ice age and there were lots more glaciers, we hit a glacial maximum, and it has been warming more or less ever since. Global temperatures, though are cyclical and within 10,000 years or probably a lot less it will start cooling again. Oh, buffalos are majestic, but they are also dangerous and they really taste good.

    • Scott, thanks for providing the info on climate change!

      Just for clarification, where did you receive your degree in climate science and what particular area of climate and meteorology do you specialize in?
      Could you provide a link to your peer reviewed research papers you have authored so we could review your data, thanks!

      • Pfft. Don’t need to do any of that nonsense. Just look up Climate Discussion Nexus on you tube. John Robson does all the heavy lifting. Isn’t that your way miner? In this case, however, the reference being cited (Robson) gets it correct.

        You, on the other hand:

        • I tend to give more weight to the professional opinions of people whose models can actually explain the behavior of the thing they’re modeling.

          The “science” of anthropogenic global climate change is 90% bunk — as shown by the fact that 100% of the global climate changes predicted by their models have failed to materialize.

        • “So you don’t actually have any actual climate research scientist to cite?”

          Of course not. Pfft again. You like to look things up, so you find them if you don’t like Robson, although his stuff can get you started. I do trust a guy who monitors the studies and journals, and looks at them with a big picture perspective, and is able and willing to point out all the inconsistencies in both the studies and the data. You’re kinda like that, except you seem to have chosen the dark side on so many issues.

          I have access to many of those journals, and I have read many of the studies that he discusses, and so far I have found him to be correct in his judgments. Most of it is junk science, plain and simple, that is manufactured to garner continuing support for a research industry and particular world view.

      • The records for climate in the past 10,000 years and other data are preserved in ice cores and other ancient preserved specimens of those time periods.
        You can Google all sorts of data on the subject coorelated by major Universities and leading academic professors, with the Internet access and peer review, it is not difficult for anyone to access reliable proven data.

  4. As the article itself calls them, they are bison, not buffalo as the headline states.
    There is a difference.

  5. ROAST BUFFER HUMP cooked over hickory charcoal slowly is to kill for. mine was courtesy of a kenworth in delta alaska,he sure didn’t do the KW.any good either..

  6. At least it’s hunting. When my uncle did it 20 years ago he backed his trailer up to the corral they had the herd in, they let one into the chute and into his trailer, and he shot it right there. Lol

    • Yep, that’s how it was done.

      There was a great movie put out about 50 years ago regarding this practice, with the title right out of the Bible:

      “Bless the Beasts and Children”

  7. The world has a Human problem, they’re much more destructive and numerous then feral swine.
    Not good for the environment at all.
    Culling them back to 1.5 million would be a start.

    • You may be on to something…we could have an administrative Capitol
      – and 12 maybe even 13 Districts – coordinating production and distribution from District to District. Heck, we could even have gladiatorial contests between Districts. To make it really interesting we could have our children fight as avatars for each District…golly, we could even sell the rights to broadcast the event worldwide.

      Naw, wouldn’t work…human nature would encourage the Elite of such a Society to create a two-class system akin to nobility and serfs.

      But, you’re correct in that we need more and larger windmills to protect our environment thus keeping raptors and songbird populations in check. I can envision hundreds of thousands of acres covered with solar panels shutting the light from reaching the earth below them with the benefit of that ground laying fallow for generations. Going back to one of Edison’s less popular ideas we could install micro-electric plants in neighborhoods to assure a redundant, well-linked power infrastructure. Fossil fuels will remain in the ground where they were intended to stay…forever. Census taking will be a on-going project after all inhabitants are given RFID implants…just think how convenient it will be for Congress to be able to reapportion Seats on a moment’s notice in response to the ebb and flow of Humanity within our borders…speaking of borders, we doan need no stinking borders. They are artificial constructs that deny people their natural given Right to follow their heart’s desire on where to live and work…think of it as the World hosting a more mobile workforce. The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals clearly outline how to attain a veritable Utopia on Earth in our lifetimes…the major impediment to this carefully crafted World vision is the United States…and that small setback is rapidly being resolved on a daily basis by the true believers in Government and the largest (mostly peaceful) corporations.

      Back to your original statement: 1.5 million is below the sustainability figures for the Elite Common Peoples of the World to enjoy the fruits of other’s labors…300 – 400 million will allow for a healthy diversity in serfs workers while strictly enforced Eugenics programs will ensure that no unwanted or unnecessary people are burdening Mother Earth’s resources.

      G’nite – this was a fun exercise in mental gymnastics and predictive fiction…Work Makes You Free.

      • “Census taking will be a on-going project after all inhabitants are given RFID implants…just think how convenient it will be for Congress to be able to reapportion Seats on a moment’s notice in response to the ebb and flow of Humanity within our borders…”

        I’m looking forward to the announcement that Washington state has gained another representative seat based on the fact that the Rolling Stones are playing the final show of their 19th farewell tour in the Gorge Amphitheatre.

        Which district are we in over here, anyway? Was District 6 the one with all the trees?

        • Na, most of WA would fall within District 7 – the lumber provider.

          I’ve been to the Gorge…awesome concert venue!

          I noticed that the Santana & Earth, Wind and Fire concert scheduled for June 2070 has already been cancelled..shucks, was looking forward to that one…

  8. The Sierra Club at one time was a friend of the animal kingdom. But now the Sierra Club is not a friend at all of the animal kingdom. Good luck to the hunters. I’m not a hunter. But I support the culling of all animal populations. For the health of each species.

    • “But now the Sierra Club is not a friend at all of the animal kingdom.“

      Please help me to understand what actions the sierra club has taken that show it is not a friend of the animal kingdom, thanks!

        • Thanks for the links.

          Interesting reading…no real surprises.

          As a very Progressive organization they periodically revise their policy statements…and always include the Libbie provisio “…believe and support, but…”

        • I don’t see anything in either link that shows the sierra club is somehow “not a friend of the animal kingdom”.

          Your first post shows the sierra club opposed to using dogs to hunt bears:

          “Richard J. Garcia, who chairs the Sierra Club’s Black Bear Task Force, stresses that the organization doesn’t oppose bear hunting, just the use of hounds and tracking collars. He told the Sonora Union Democrat this week that the Sierra Club contends that forcing dogs and bears into “violent interactions” violates animal cruelty laws.

          “If you’re going to kill our bears, do it humanely,” Garcia said. “We’re not calling for a halt of bear hunting.”

          Your second link is even more baffling, it doesn’t have any connection at all whatsoever to the sierra club’s relation to the animal kingdom.

          You seem to find fault with a member of the sierra club board of directors supporting a more equitable justice system in the United States, one that treats all minorities fairly.

          So I would ask again, how has the sierra club shown themselves not to be a friend of the animal kingdom?

        • Well, it’s simple really. According to the science, the most effective and efficient means of reducing the bear population in question was hunting with dogs. That’s settled science, and had been for decades, and still is. The Sierra Club would have preferred other means that were determined by their collective feelings to be more animal-friendly, which is hogwash. Nature does not operate on “feelzgood” principles, only humans do. One of the first things taught in wildlife management programs is that the idea of the soft brown fuzzy is a myth.

          Regarding the issue of bison on the North Rim area, one of Sierra Club’s representatives would prefer utilizing a method other than hunting to reduce the population, again, less effective and efficient.

          The second link points to an article that suggests the Sierra Club is heading even farther down the leftist trail, away from its roots. They are moving away from hard science and towards feelzgood claptrap.

        • “According to the science, the most effective and efficient means of reducing the bear population in question was hunting with dogs.”

          That’s what you’ve got, “effective and efficient”?

          How about the fact is, the sierra club cares about the welfare of those bears and thinks that a quick clean shot from a high-powered rifle is a much more humane method of culling the herd as opposed to a pack of dogs engaged in a bloody fight to the death.

          I understand many weak-assed shooters who consider themselves a ‘great white hunter’ may have difficulty actually locating a bear without dogs, but your incompetence doesn’t somehow justify a pack of dogs and a bear engaging in a bloody fight.

          And I would guess you are plumb scared of being surprised by a bear in thick brush and need a pack of dogs to run interference for you, never mind that one or more of them may get disemboweled in the process.

          Word to the wise, hunting is a ‘sport’, not search and destroy by any means necessary.

          Like the joke goes, maybe we should arm bears and even things up just a bit to put the sport back into it.

          In case you didn’t notice, you failed at attempting to show how the sierra club doesn’t care about the animal kingdom.

        • There is nothing “humane” in nature. Any wildlife biologist who is being honest will tell you that. The soft brown fuzzy is a myth, a wholly human construct. Wildlife management is a balancing act, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. We have accomplished some spectacular things the past century or so, being funded largely by hunters who appreciate the natural world and the science we use in managing it.

          Contrary to what you apparently believe, bear hunters don’t want their dogs to fight bears to any great extent, certainly not to the death, because their dogs would be the ones dying. The dogs locate bears and chase them, usually up trees or into places where they can be shot. The goal is not to tear up any animal, dog or bear. You probably haven’t thought about this too seriously or you’d realize that your preferred method of hunting hadn’t been working all that well in the referenced area, hence the need for dog hunters. Perhaps you should have bought a tag and helped out with your quick clean shots?

          The belligerence of your response is telling. You don’t know me, and you write as if you have little real working knowledge of this topic. You are reacting like a myriad of fools and simpletons who preceded you, unsheathing your sword for lack of argument. I suggest you stop digging, because your hole is getting deeper.

    • I saw a movie once and the women in the movie shoved them up their arses.
      Miner probably does wear them around his neck like a dirty uneducated hippy.
      Miner49er you have brown stains on your Tie-dye and you smell bad.

      • Once more, you offer an interesting insight into your interior world of Homo erotic delights.

        I find it fascinating that many seemingly masculine individuals on TTAG find such a joy in Homo erotic jesting.

        As for myself, I dig chicks but whatever floats your boat is fine by me, just wipe that stuff off your chin before you go back upstairs into your mom’s living room.

        • My balls are brown because my girlfiend doesn’t have time to wipe her a$$.
          It’s an old joke about a guy going to the doctor

  9. Paying for wildlife management. We have had this debate in the “gun Community” before. Regarding the tax on ammunition and guns. But most people don’t know that this money is used to support conservation efforts in the United States. I support this particular tax. Because I don’t think it’s such a good idea that 50 different states have 50 different ways of funding the efforts in maintaining animal populations. And outdoor recreation.

    Or we could simply let all of our wild animal population become extinct? Is that a Libertarian Or Conservative option? Which would happen if we had complete unregulated hunting across the country.
    How would not having any wild animals effect our Environment?

  10. Good luck! Carry out on foot! MAY BE ABLE TO KEEP ONE BISON PER TEAM! Recipe for disaster. Count me out!!!

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