Mar 18 2015
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) today introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow authorized hunters who cull bison from inside Grand Canyon National Park to take home the full animal carcass. Typically, federal regulations require that the meat from an animal culled inside a National Park must be partially or fully donated to food charities. Congressmen Trent Franks (R-AZ), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), and David Schweikert (R-AZ), and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), also sponsored the bill.
“The animals wreaking havoc on Grand Canyon National Park are no ordinary bison,” said Senators McCain and Flake, and Congressman Gosar. “They are cross-breeds between bison and cattle that continue to destroy the natural vegetation and pristine lands that make the Park a national treasure and destination for millions of visitors. Our legislation advances a common-sense proposal that would cull these unmanageable herds and eliminate federal barriers by allowing volunteer hunters to recover the full animal carcass.”
About 600 bison have migrated from the Kaibab National Forest to inside Grand Canyon National Park where hunting is prohibited. The Park acts as a safe haven for the exploding bison population that continues to damage and overgraze the Grand Canyon’s natural resources. For more than a decade, the Park Service has tried numerous methods to remove the bison with little success. Last year, the National Park Service proposed employing a strictly regulated hunting program to cull the bison from inside the Park.
There are more than 269,000 hunters in Arizona. In addition, hunting supports for 5,700 jobs and generates $208 million in salaries and wages for the State.
Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Jim Unmacht, President of the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, applauded the proposed legislation:
“The proposed legislation is consistent with the best science, will prevent undue degradation of Park resources and also provide sportsmen with an opportunity to harvest an iconic American species,” said Fosburgh. “It will also generate funding for habitat conservation and management, which is key to our mission of guaranteeing sportsmen quality places to hunt and fish.”
“The House Rock Valley bison herd has long been a highly prized herd and one of the few remaining wild and free ranging herds in North America,” said Unmacht. “The fact they have now have learned that they are safe on the Grand Canyon National Park hasn’t diminished their allure to sportsmen, but has essentially placed them off-limits from hunting and harvesting. Arizona sportsmen and women are pleased that Senators McCain and Flake, along with Congressman Gosar have found a common-sense solution to allow sportsmen to not only help the Grand Canyon National Park manage this herd, but also allow them to hunt, harvest and retain the carcass in the process.”
Senator McCain introduced a similar proposal as an amendment to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 in the 113th Congress.
The text of the Senate bill is here.