Gosar submits bill for cull hunt of bison at Grand Canyon

(Because of the deadline for this article, the office of Representative Gosar could not be reached for comment)

White Bison at Bearizona Wildlife Park.

White Bison at Bearizona Wildlife Park.

WASHINGTON — In 1906, Charles “Buffalo” Jones brought bison to northern Arizona in an unsuccessful attempt to breed them with cattle. The descendants of these bison have been managed since 1950 by the state of Arizona in the House Rock Wildlife Area (HRWA) on the Kaibab National Forest, through an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In 1990 the 1990 the bison started moving to the top of the Kaibab Plateau and into the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon National Park began a request for input on a Bison Management Plan that ended in June of 2014. The effort was an attempt to balance their mission to secure natural vegetation, archeological sites and water resources while maintaining the bison as wildlife.

On March 18, Paul Gosar [R-AZ-4] submitted H.R. 1443 (S. 782 in the Senate by McCain) to permit a cull hunt for Bison at the Grand Canyon National Park.

The bill calls for the Secretary of the Interior to publish a management plan for Bison no later than 180 days after H.R. 1443 is enacted. The plan would be to reduce, through humane lethal culling by skilled public volunteers and other non-lethal means the population of Bison in the park.

Skilled public volunteers are defines as those with a valid hunting license issued by the State of Arizona and other qualifications the Secretary may require after consulting with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Kirby Shedlowski, Acting Public Affairs Officer at Grand Canyon National Park, said, “In order have allowed cull, there’s usually a very large management planning process.”

She said, “There has never been a cull hunt for bison at the Grand Canyon. There has been a cull on the forest. On the Kaibab Forest on the north side.”

Kirby said she was not sure of cull hunts for Bison in other parks, such as Yellowstone. “There are different culling hunts in different parks for different animals. Rocky Mountain did it for elk. Rock Creek Park has done it for white-tail deer. Getteysburg has done it for white-tail deer. But, as far as Bison go—I’m not sure. But Grand Canyon National Park has never had a cull for Bison.”