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April 03, 2007

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South Dakota To Join Push for National Park Elk Hunting

If you’ve been following along, you know that both Colorado and North Dakota are pushing to allow private hunters (as opposed to sharpshooters) to help thin burgeoning elk herds in Rocky Mountain and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks (see here). Now South Dakota is looking to join the cause.

From The Rapid City Journal:

A state wildlife commissioner from Rapid City wants South Dakota’s congressional delegation to push for hunting seasons in Wind Cave National Park to control the park’s expanding elk herd. . . .

“I think the time is right, with North Dakota and Colorado pursuing it,” said [South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission Jeff Olson]. “I know the (GF&P) staff in Pierre is working on it. Obviously, Game, Fish & Parks would support hunting. The specifics are the big question. It’s a touchy issue.”

Comments

tom

hey come on. get with the program. get some wolves brought in from Canada, like they did in Yellowstone Park and in less than a decade, your elk herd will be reduced by 60%. add some grizzly bears, that can take up to 40% of the elk calf crop each year and in no time at all, elk will be the least of t your problems.

Matt Mallery

Wow Tom. That sounds real scientific. Where did you get your biology degree? If the wolves in Canada and Alaska are so terrible for the big game populations, then how come so many hunters spend big money to go there?

Also, Africa is crawling with large predators. And yet again, it is a huge draw for hunters because of it's healthy big game populations.

You have been tricked into thinking the ranchers are your friends. They have convinced you that predators are bad for the game, and yet cattle do more damage to wildlife habitat that you can imagine.

tom

Matt- i am fully aware of the value of predators in the ecosystem. that is why i suggested using "natural" predators to control excessive elk populations. it was also a bit tongue in cheek, because i cannot imagine the NPS doing anything that radical, or CO and SD wanting it. but for the record, it doesn't take a biology degree to see the correlation between the introduction of wolves into the Yellowstone system and the plummeting elk populations. in 1995 there were 19,000 plus elk in the northern herd of Yellowstone. that was the year 40 or so wolves were introduced. in 2006, the northern herd was around 6500 head and there are 150 or so wolves.

josh

the size of some of these parks are relatively small, (nothing like yellowstone) so introducing wolves/grizzlies would hardly be reasonable when considering the sustainability of these species in these areas and the areas surrounding these parks. conducting special lottery draws for hunters would be an excellent idea. why pay sharpshooters when hunters will pay for this opportunity. and like i have said in other posts on this issue, humans are actually part of the natural environment. why should we be excluding from interacting in national parks?




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