Until recently, the National Park Service has used park staff or contract sharpshooters to reduce populations of elk and deer within national parks to achieve herd levels that the habitat can support. As a result of NRA's advocacy for the use of hunters to assist in such operations, the Service is now obligated to consider the use of "skilled volunteers" (e.g., hunters).
The Elk Reduction Plan for Rocky Mountain National Park, CO is the first such plan to include skilled volunteers. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) plan, which is open for public comment until Sunday, March 15, presents six action alternatives. Under Alternative B, skilled volunteers would become part of a pool of available personnel that could assist in the culling operations. Under Alternative E, the Service would look at ways to enhance elk hunting opportunities outside the park, in cooperation with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and adjacent landowners.
Public meetings will be held although specific dates and locations have not been announced.
The draft plan is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/thro.You may submit your comments using the above website or mail your comments to Superintendent Valerie Naylor, TRNP, Box 7, Medora, ND 58645-0007. Hunters are were America's first conservationists and have been a valuable asset to wildlife managers in keeping wildlife in balance with its habitat and other natural resources. We encourage you to comment on the draft plan and support the use of hunters at TRNP, as well as supporting efforts by the Service and the state of North Dakota to enhance hunting opportunities outside the park.