WYOMING GAME AND FISH CONDEMNS GRAND TETON GOAT GUNNING – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGF) has publicly condemned Grand Teton National Park’s (GTNP) chosen method of eliminating mountain goats in the Tetons. The original plan was scheduled for early January, but postponed due to weather. WGF seeks to make this an opportunity to speak for hunters.

Two key communications have been made from WGF to GTNP personnel. WGF Director Brian Nesvik wrote an official letter to  Gopaul Noojibail, GTNP Acting Superintendent. WGF also drafted a Commission Resolution on the matter. The resolution passed unanimously on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

WGF Director Nesvik expressed to GTNP A/Superintendent Noojibail:

“However, we have serious concerns with the method of removal NPS is proposing to utilize. I strongly recommend you reconsider your decision to use aerial lethal removal to achieve your objective. As we have indicated in past conversations and correspondence, the Department recommends NPS use skilled volunteer hunters to lethally remove mountain goats from the affected area.”

The Commission Resolution begins:

“The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (Commission) hereby condemns Grand Teton National Park’s (GTNP) planned action to kill mountain goats in GTNP by the use of aerial gunning. The use of aerial gunning by GTNP personnel to remove these goats is inconsistent with all notions of game management, fair chase, and totally inconsistent with years of GTNP management of big game animals in the GTNP.”

Jackson Hole News & Guide reported on further commenting. Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for Grand Teton, commented on Thursday, Jan. 16, that WGF’s appeals have not spurred any change to GTNP’s plans this winter; however, Noojibail and Nesvik have continued to discuss. Germann expressed that GTNP’s method is the most efficient and effective way to cut down the 100-plus-animal goat herd. She said:

“We do plan to continue with the aerial, lethal removal. We need to move quickly.”

WGF Commissioner Mike Schmid hasn’t bought the urgency argument. He expressed that GTNP has dragged its feet for years. Plans to eradicate these goats began in 2013, over 6 years ago. Schmid said:

“That’s laughable to me that they want to get this done as fast possible. I think overall it flies in the face of Wyoming values. Shooting stuff and leaving it lay on the mountain.”

Germann could not say if any other alternatives to aerial gunning may be used or when the park might employ them.

”Aerial operations will continue as weather conditions allow,” Germann said. “And we will use the right tool at the right time in light of safety, and that includes the skilled volunteer program. Relocation is a tool and if those opportunities arise we will use that tool as well.” Per the Idaho State Journal.

What do you think? Is the urgency there? Should hunters have more chance at these goats?

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