« Oregon Officials Kill Three Cougars By Mistake | Main | Armed Citizens Stops Memphis Street Shooting »

March 08, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Field Notes at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes.

Discussion Topic: Should Hunters Thin Park Herds?

There are too many elk in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and there’s been a push in both to allow private hunters—instead of sharpshooters--to thin the herds. So far, however, the Park Services’ answer has been, “Sorry, we can’t do that.”

Not according to this Bismarck Tribune article:

The National Park Service appears to have the authority to allow elk hunting in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, congressional researchers say. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said in a letter to Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., that federal law allows "authorized agents" of the National Park Service to thin animal herds. That means qualified private hunters with authorization from the agency could be used to help control the elk population in southwestern North Dakota national park.

So if they can, is there any reason they shouldn’t?

Comments

Brian

No Brainer!!

js

There's not any reason NOT to allow hunting to thin the herds by private hunters.
Hunters will pay for the privlege, eat the meat and help out the herd in the process.
I agree with Brian, this is a no brainer. Which is probably why it won't happen, the govt has no brains.

HOBO

BRIAN HAS NO BRAINS.THEY SHOULDNT BE THINING PARK HERDS.ALL IVE BEEN HEARING LATELY IS THE WOLVES ARE KILLING ALL THE DEER.THIS IS STATED BY HUNTERS ON ALOT OF THESE SITES.SO,IF THATS THE CASE,WE SHOULDNT NEED TO THIN ANY HERDS,NOW SHOULD WE????

Chris H.

Take it easy Hobo, no need to scream at us. Some herds are being thinned out by wolves. Apparently this is not the case in the story above. The question was not "do the elk herds need to be thinned?". What is up for discussion is whether qualified hunters should be allowed to assist in thinning the herds or should the "sharpshooters" be doing it. I'd like to know where these sharpshooters are coming from. Are they military sharpshooters? I assume these qualified hunters are the same folks hunting elk in other places outside the national parks. Something doesn't make sense to me. What is behind the push for sharpshooters to thin the herd? Is it about accuracy? I know we have all heard about one person or another that can cut holes in paper targets but misses when they try to shoot a deer. They could test each hunter at various ranges before allowing them to hunt in the parks. This would not only save money but could potentially increase revenues. Seems to me to be the best choice.

BarryC

There is every reason to allow qualified hunters into a park to thin a herd, and if necessary set special limits (calibers, locations, times, etc.)(have an orientation before the hunt) for the park environs. (They do this on govt. installations like army bases, etc.)

It could be a money maker (although should not be so expensive that average hunters should be excluded - these are after all taxpayer owned and sheiks and rich guys shouldn't be able to buy their way in to a trophy hunt! But, compared to the $400,000 Rocky Mountain Nat. Park already spent to determine if a birth control dart would work, vs. a placebo dart, any income would be a huge savings. (The dart keeps the Elk from ovulating, but still allows the males to see her as attractive and wants to mount them.) at the cost of over 10k per animal. A $2.00 lead injection will permanently end the ovulation cycle of any elk.

Indeed, 1/2 the meat could be mandatorily turned over by hunters, after cleaning, to public or non-profit agencies that would feed homeless, or poverty stricken. (i.e allow each hunter 2 animals.

The idea that hiring 'sharpshooters' at exhorbitant rates to cull herds anywhere is an absurd waste of taxpayer money. Ethical and well advised hunters can do the job. During the hunts the park area or the whole park can be closed.

Note many of the 'sharpshooters' are being allowed to cull at night with lights or Night scopes. This unnatural predation might actually interrupt the normal behaviors of deer/elk, and increase dailight deer/man interactions!

It ought to be a law, that they MUST let hunters be the first to help, as a matter of public policy. What a collosal waste of taxpayer money to let Park Officials try to lower herd populations with unnatural methods like Birth Control, when their mission is to preserve land and wildlife in a natural setting!!! They are not running a zoo for craps sake!. The fact that they have a no hunt policy (for years and years) is the reason, in part that there is so many elk!. Either introduce some four legged predators - wolves, bear, etc. (to the extent that they are, or had been, a usual part of that ecosystem or periodically bring in the top of the food chain to do its job!!!

And, lets be realistic, this is a cull! No trophys, no virile males. Cows, calves, and any sickly, very old, or genetically challenged males only. (Any male would be taken with a bioligist pointing him out for a hunter to take.) For politcal correctness, it might be necessary to omit calves, but hunt will then haveto be in fall after calves can survive. Ideally, you'd kill in the early spring before herd heads up the hill to the summer and calving ranges, and you'd get some prego females, (2 for 1 cull) and give the newly thinned herd the whole summer to get healthier on an ecosystem that is not stressed anymore.

End of story. Discussion closed. That oughta be the last word on it.

Mike Diehl

Hunting should be allowed in all National Parks if populations will sustain the hunting pressure. With respect to Barry C I don't think there is a compelling reason to burden the taxpayer by assigning a biologist to every hunt. Just issue a requisite number of tags appropriate to the demands of the population and have at it.

Matt

We shouldn't allow Government hunters to exist at all. They do this in Australia and it keeps average everyday people from having recreational hunting oppurtunites like we have here. Although I see Hobo's point about all the wolf haters complaing about wolves killing of herds and I believe in wolf restortation. However, if the herds in the parks are to big, hunters should be allowed to help manage them.

James

The only reason deer and other animals come to these parks is because they know it is a safe place for them. If hunters were alowed to take a couple of animals I think that the deer might not think it is safe and move on.

HUNTINFOOL

I LIKE TO HUNT AND I ALSO LOVE WILDLIFE.BUT I AGREE WITH HOBO 100%. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE IF YOU HAVE HUNTERS COMPLAINING ABOUT NO DEER OR ELK AROUND, AND I READ THAT ARTICLE IN OUTDOORLIFE ABOUT THEY SHOULD OPEN A HUNTIN SEASON ON THE WOLVES.YET IN THE SAME STATES THEY WANT TO USE SHARPSHOOTERS.MORONS THE WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM.THE PEOPLE THAT MANAGE THESE PARKS MUST BE DUMB REDNECKS.HAHAHAHAHAHA

josh

Again, hunters should absolutely be allowed to thin excessive numbers of animals in parks. The national parks system is flawed in that they assume their was a time in which humans were not present on this landscape with the animals that currently present. Historically it can be shown that is is most likely that humans were always present with wlk deer, etc., in north america. So it makes no sense that humans are not allowed to interact naturally with the wildlife populations in parks. And as mentioned in an earlier statement above, the average hunter should in know way priced out for these opportunities. Theodore Roosevelt would without a doubt turn over in his grave if 'the rich' were only allowed the opportunity!

josh

...there are not "WOLF PACKS" at TR national park. it is usually advised to have an idea of what you are talking about before trying to be smug.

Matt

Well then why not put wolf packs in TR?




Our Blogs



Syndicate