Want to Hunt Bison? The National Park Service is Looking for Volunteers

A bison herd needs to be culled in Arizona, and you can be one of the volunteers. (Photo: Jack Dykinga, Public Domain)

The National Park Service (NPS) announced this week that they are looking for volunteers to help cull a bison herd located on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

The bison are not threatened by any natural predators, so the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the NPS entered an agreement to cull the herds in order to avoid the “refuge effect.” The herd currently stands at about 600 individuals but could grow to as many as 1,500 in the next ten years.

“Given the current distribution, abundance, density and the expected growth of this herd, the public and the NPS is concerned about increased impacts on park resources such as water, vegetation, soils, archaeological sites and values such as visitor experience and wilderness character. Reducing the herd size to under 200 bison will protect the ecosystem, park resources and values,” the agencies said in a joint press release last September.

Culling methods include live capture and translocations, hazing, and most pertinent to would-be bison hunters, lethal removal by “skilled volunteers.”

SEE ALSO: Wisconsin Wolf Hunters More Successful Than Anticipated: Culled 97 Over Quota

Interested hunters can apply here beginning at 12 a.m. midnight (Arizona time) on Monday, May 3, 2021. The portal will be open for 48 hours, and applicants will be chosen in a lottery as long as they meet certain criteria.

“Skilled volunteers” must meet the following criteria to be selected:

  • Provide a pictured proof of identity (driver’s license, passport)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Provide proof of successful completion of a firearms safety course (hunter safety course or similar)
  • Be willing to haul bison carcasses out of wilderness on foot without motorized assistance
  • Utilize park-approved, non-lead ammunition and firearms (see Firearm FAQs)
  • Agree to a firearm safety inspection by park staff prior to fieldwork
  • Actively participate in all training and safety briefings and follow Team Lead instructions.
  • Have strong verbal communication skills.
  • Sign up as an unpaid NPS volunteer (NPS VIP Program) for five days and participate in the full period
  • Sign a volunteer applicant affidavit of criminal history and lack revocable wildlife violation histories
  • Be able to pass, apply for, and purchase background checks that verify the lack of criminal and wildlife violation histories.
  • Self-certify a high level of physical fitness.
  • Provide own equipment, lodging, food, rifle (rifles must be at least .30 caliber with a bottlenecked cartridge), and non-lead ammunition (non-lead bullet that is at least 165 grains and is of a non-frangible design), and field dressing supplies.
  • Have a firearm safety certification and pass a firearms proficiency test (3 of 5 shots in a 4 inch circle at 100 yards)
  • Failure to successfully pass or agree to any of the listed requirements will eliminate an individual from further participation as a volunteer.

SEE ALSO: Germany Sees 25% Increase in Hunting Participation Driven By Hunters Seeking Ethically Sourced Food

Skilled Volunteers can bring Support Volunteers to help with the hunt and meat processing.

The hunt will take place in four “lethal removal operations” beginning in September of 2021: Sept 20-24, Sept 27-Oct1, Oct 18-22, Oct 25-29.

Volunteers cannot choose the dates on which they wish to participate and should expect to put in a full week of work (including training on the first day).

Meat and other bison parts will be distributed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department on the last day of each operation. Volunteer teams should not expect to receive more than one bison worth of meat. It’s unclear if volunteers will be allowed to keep the skull and hide.

Additional skilled volunteer FAQs can be found on this website.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Brian K Hartman May 5, 2021, 8:46 pm

    I have to agree with Michael and Jack. This would be a great opportunity for sure but I will pass and say transport them to other states for herd building and yes, the Native Americans should have a chance at it. And I want the man that can pack out like that on my side. And why not traditional rifles. good luck

  • Michael May 4, 2021, 10:03 pm

    Have they considered reaching out to any Native American Tribes or States with herds currently capable of taking live animals in for the purposes of increasing herd sizes or breeding programs helping preventing in breeding of their herds? Or Tribe’s and States interested in creating new herds themselves…I’m sure their are alternatives to killing off 2/3rds of the herd! That’s a rather large amount of animals to remove from the herd not knowing what may happen in the years ahead…drought, famine and disease among other things could kill that herd off!

  • jack May 4, 2021, 8:19 am

    Haul a 2000 pound animal out on your back??? No motorized vehicles allowed??? Even if you gut and quarter it, that’s about 250-300 pounds of meat per package, and if you have to haul it a couple miles……..I wanna meet the guy that can do that!

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