DSC applauds Representative Paul Gosar (R), along with co-sponsors Trent Franks (R), Tom O’Halleran (D) and David Schweikert (R), for introducing the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act on June 22. The bill would authorize the use of science-based wildlife management and sustainable-use conservation techniques to control the bison over-population within Grand Canyon National Park (Park). DSC, a leader in advocating for hunters’ rights, strongly supports the proposed legislation.
The National Park Service (NPS) recently issued a draft environmental assessment that recommended 400 excess bison inside the Grand Canyon be culled, at taxpayer expense, through the use of paid sharpshooters. While the Park’s enabling legislation does not authorize hunting, it is an established and effective management tool on 51 million acres of NPS lands on 59 properties. Representative Gosar’s bill would authorize limited hunting of bison in the Park to prevent the destruction of critical habitat for other wildlife.
Specifically, the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act would require both the U.S. Department of Interior and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to coordinate on a plan to manage the bison population utilizing volunteer sportsmen holding a valid state-issued hunting license. The volunteer hunters, who would pay for the privilege, would then be allowed to cull bison and remove the harvested animal from the Park. Wildlife surveys estimate that about 600 bison reside in the Park and NPS biologists say the ecosystem can support around 200.
“This bill is good for wildlife conservation, preservation of biological diversity, taxpayers, as well as western big-game hunters, many of whom have waited decades for the opportunity to hunt a wild bison,” said DSC President Craig Nyhus. “DSC greatly appreciates Rep. Gosar’s sponsorship of this important legislation and we look forward to working with him to move the bill through the House and on to the Senate.”