American hunter | Grand Canyon National Park is seeking volunteers for bison reduction
The National Park Service, in collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), is looking for qualified volunteers to help remove bison on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in the fall of 2021. Those interested should read this announcement carefully and the information in the links below.
Given the current distribution, abundance, density, and expected growth of bison herd at the North Rim, the NPS is concerned about the increased impact on park resources such as water, vegetation, soil, archaeological sites, and values such as visitor experience and wilderness character. Reducing herd size protects the park’s ecosystem, resources and values.
People who would like to apply as a volunteer can apply on the following website (azbisonstewards.com) starting on May 3 at 12 p.m. (Arizona time) through May 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Volunteers must:
- Be a US citizen 18 years of age or older with valid photo ID
- You have the option to acquire and pass a background exam and have no criminal or wildlife abuses
- Certify a high level of physical fitness yourself
- Have firearms safety certification and pass an marksmanship test (3 out of 5 shots in a 10-inch circle at 100 yards)
- Provide your own equipment, firearms, accommodation, food and bandages. See Firearms FAQs.
- Be available for lethal removal for the entire duration of one of the assigned deployment periods. Individuals are not allowed to participate in more than one: 20.-24. September 2021; September 27 – October 1, 2021; 18.-22. October 2021; 25-29 October 2021
- Meet any additional requirements on the NPS FAQ page and on the application (the application is available at www.azbisonstewards.com when the application period begins).
Only 25 applicants will be selected to form the pool from which 12 qualified individuals will be selected to become a qualified volunteer. The volunteer pool will be selected by a random lottery system and selected people will be contacted by the NPS by May 17, 2021. At the end of the week, volunteers up to a bison can be handed in against removal by the AZGFD. National Park Service or other Home Office personnel, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials or members of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission are not eligible.
Future deportations of volunteers will be announced at a later date and require a separate volunteer application. Please note that this is not an AZGFD permit hunt or drawing application and the application or selection for this opportunity for qualified volunteers has no effect on bonus points, counts towards the lifelong species restriction or invalidates a big game tag or an application by a person to AZGFD.
It is not possible to correct applications that have already been submitted. You can find detailed information on the NPS FAQ page and is also on the application page under azbisonstewards.com as soon as the application period begins. All questions should be sent by email to [email protected].
These efforts to reduce bison to a more manageable herd size are supported by consultations with the public and traditionally associated tribes, as well as the 2017 environmental assessment conducted by the NPS, the state of Arizona, and the US Forest Service.
In addition to removal, Grand Canyon National Park biologists began piloting live trapping and relocation projects in 2019. Since the program began, 88 animals have been captured and relocated to five Indian tribes through an agreement with the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council. These animals will complement existing herds managed by these tribes. In addition, NPS and USGS biologists attached GPS collars to 25 animals to aid with population estimates, migration patterns, and temporal locations. The Grand Canyon will resume live acquisition and relocation operations in the fall of 2021.
For more information on the effects and monitoring of bison, see: nps.gov/articles/bison-impacts-and-monitoring.html.