The National Park Service received over 45,000 applications from people looking to volunteer for the bison cull taking place in Grand Canyon National Park. The application process only ran for 48 hours. During that timeframe, the NPS saw a rash of activity as people rushed to apply. The odds are extremely long but many volunteers are holding out hope that they will be selected.

The extreme turnout of applicants can be contributed to the confusion between what many are calling a hunt and others calling it a cull or reduction process. The National Park Service has been adamant that is not a hunt, but rather a lethal removal of bison. Likewise, the NPS has stated this will not be considered fair chase and that volunteers will have to shoot the first bison the find. There will be no looking over animals and picking out trophy bulls. Also, the volunteers will not be able to keep the hides or heads of the animals that they take.

Bison Management by the NPS

However, the NPS has stated that at the end of the lethal removal operations the AZGFD may distribute hides, heads and some meat to “skilled volunteers” at the AZGFD’s discretion. It has been rumored that officials will do their best to distribute these items but there is no guarantee that the volunteers will get much for their efforts.

Even with the above information being known, many volunteers are very excited about the prospect of “hunting” bison. People applied from all across the country to get a chance to chase these bison through the northern Arizona landscape.

“Just keeping my fingers crossed that I’m one out of 12. You can’t win unless you play.” – Applicant, Rich Dawley Jr., 29-year-old farmer outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The bison within the park originally come from bison were released in northern Arizona in the early 1900s. Since then many of the bison have moved into the park and have created havoc. The herds have begun causing excessive erosion, destroying archaeological sites, and spoiling waterholes.

“It needs to happen for management purposes. And if it’s going to be somebody, it may as well be me.” – Applicant, Matt Mallery, 49, Archaeologist from Flagstaff, Arizona

In the next few weeks, the NPS and AZGFD will select 25 individuals to be reviewed. Once that review process takes place, they will thin that selection to 12 volunteers. At that point, those 12 volunteers will be contacted by officials to let them know they are a part of the removal team.

“I just thought it would be a cool experience. I’m an avid fisher, hunter. Going to Grand Canyon to hunt bison would be absolutely awesome.” – Applicant, James Vasko, 27, from Omaha, Nebraska.

The lethal removal operations will happen over the course of four five-day periods. Those time periods are as follows: Sept. 20-24, 2021; Sept. 27-Oct 1, 2021; Oct. 18-22, 2021; Oct. 25-29, 2021. You can find out more information about the bison removal by checking out an earlier article that we reported on by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on this bison herd removal? Did you apply to be a volunteer? Let us know in the comments!




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