National Park Service and Arizona Bison

Discussion in 'Southwest Hunting' started by jls in az, May 16, 2017.

  1. jls in az

    jls in az
    Southern AZ
    New Member

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    Got this in email from Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation <>

    The National Park Service (NPS) has announced another environmental assessment of the buffalo herd that has taken up residence within the confines of the Grand Canyon National Park on the North Rim. Many of you will remember this herd as the "House Rock" herd. They've found the groceries are better on the Park, and no one shoots them there!

    What used to be 100 to 200 animals is now estimated to be triple that size and projected to grow considerably more if something isn't done. "We", including sportsmen and women, AZ Game & Fish Commission and Department, Senators McCain and Flake and Congressman Gosar for the last couple years have tried to instill some common sense into the NPS to address this "problem". We have suggested the NPS allow hunters (skilled volunteers that pass the buffalo class), pay Game & Fish for a tag that is selected in the draw, for the privilege of hunting these sought after game animals, which in turn would perpetuate this prized hunt and continue to fulfill lifelong dreams of hunting an Arizona buffalo. The only cost to the NPS would be supervising the operation and setting out some parameters in concert with the Game & Fish Department.

    The first round of bison EA discussion in 2014 got the ball rolling. Here we are three years later with some small "concessions", but we aren't yet where we need to be. Notably, it appears the skilled volunteers being proposed aren't under the control of the AZ Game & Fish Department, and if one of those skilled volunteers happens to harvest a buffalo, they cannot have the hide and horns. They may get some meat, but may have to share it with the group of people they might be selected to "hunt" with.

    You can find information on the EA and the process here: AND

    You can also learn more about what is going on by attending one or more of the following meetings:

    • Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Double Tree by Hilton, 1175 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001...6 pm to 8 pm
    • Thursday, May 18, 2017, Ben Avery Facility-Activities Center, 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85086...5 pm to 7 pm
    • Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Holiday Inn Express and Hotel, 217 South 100 East, Kanab, UT 84747...6 pm to 8 pm (UT time) (5 pm to 7 pm AZ time)
    • Tuesday, May 30, 2017, NPS web based informational meeting 5 pm to 6 pm AZ time, to register for the webinar go to
    What do we want?
    1. We want the NPS to work in concert with the AZ Game & Fish Department to manage and control these "hunts".
    2. We want the "skilled volunteers" to be selected by AZ Game & Fish through the draw process as they have in the past, to hunt this "sub-unit" of 12A.
    3. We want these "skilled volunteers" to be able to retain the entire carcass of any animal they successfully harvest.
    The comment deadline is June 7, 2017, and you can submit your comments in one of three ways:
    1. at one of the meetings listed above
    2. electronically here:
    3. or via US Mail to this address: Grand Canyon National Park, PO Box 129, Attn: Bison Management Plan EA, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
    And then from AZGFD:

    National Park Service seeks public comment on initial environmental assessment for bison herd reduction at Grand Canyon

    PHOENIX - The National Park Service (NPS) has made available for public review its Initial Bison Herd Reduction Environmental Assessment (EA), which evaluates management actions related to bison on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The public can view the EA on the NPS website and submit any comments through June 7.

    Since the 1990s, the bison population on the Kaibab Plateau herd has grown significantly, impacting Grand Canyon National Park resources such as water, vegetation, soils and archaeological sites. While they are negatively affecting habitat at their current numbers, bison can provide exceptional value to the visitor experience, when managed at appropriate numbers and distribution.

    The purpose of the actions evaluated in the EA are to (1) quickly reduce bison population density on the Kaibab Plateau through collaborative efforts and (2) protect Grand Canyon National Park resources and values from the impacts of a steadily growing bison population.

    According to a NPS news release, the NPS would work together with cooperating agencies and partners through the preferred alternative to reduce the bison herd to fewer than 200 animals using lethal culling with skilled volunteers and non-lethal capture and removal.

    A management action that is not included in the Park Service’s preferred alternative is reducing the bison herd through public hunting. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department have consistently advocated for a model that uses properly licensed hunters as a management tool and allows the hunter to keep the animal.

    “Several of the proposed actions in the Park Service EA will cost taxpayers far more than lethal removal by citizen hunters who would pay for the opportunity to assist the NPS,” said Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner Kurt Davis. “This will provide additional hunting opportunities consistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and help to properly manage the bison population. This approach just makes sense and supports efforts to alleviate park damage caused by bison, saves tax dollars, funds wildlife conservation and helps protect habitat for other wildlife.”

    The NPS will host three in-person open house meetings and one web-based meeting during the comment period. All times are Arizona time (Mountain Standard Time - MST) unless otherwise indicated:

    • 6 p.m. – 8 pm. Tuesday, May 16 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 1175 W. Route 66 in Flagstaff.
    • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at the Ben Avery Activity Center, 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd in Phoenix.
    • 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Mountain Time) (5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Arizona time) Tuesday, May 23 at the Holiday Inn Express and Hotel, 217 S. 100 East in Kanab, Utah.
    • 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 online. Registration for the web-based meeting and more information about the open houses can be found here.
    Comments can be submitted either electronically or via U.S. Postal Service at Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129, Attn: Bison Management Plan EA, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 or at one of the in-person public meetings listed above.

    Comments must be received by June 7. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email or by any method other than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
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