Strong Bipartisan Support for Gosar Grand Canyon Bison Management Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 3005, the bipartisan Grand Canyon Bison Management Act
“This legislation should be the gold standard for developing practical, bipartisan solutions at the local level without spending a dime of taxpayer dollars.”
Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 3005, the bipartisan Grand Canyon Bison Management Act:
“The Grand Canyon has a bison management problem and we have the solution, said Congressman Gosar. “While the National Park Service has languished in analysis paralysis for years, we have worked the Arizona Game and Fish Department and dozens of stakeholder groups to develop a commonsense plan. This bill addresses immediate population concerns and provides a long-term Management Plan to reduce bison numbers in the Park to a healthy level. By authorizing the immediate use of lethal and non-lethal methods, this bill will allow for the reduction of the bison herd, ensure its long-term sustainability and provide Grand Canyon National Park’s resources a respite from degradation and a chance to rejuvenate and heal.
“A coordinated effort with Game and Fish and the National Park Service will save taxpayer dollars and allow citizen hunters to participate in a fair and humane hunt. Successful citizen hunters will be allowed to retain the entire animal in an ethical way governed by Game and Fish rules and regulations, again in concert with the Park Service. Better still, this bill takes immediate steps to solve this growing population at no federal cost. This legislation should be the gold standard for developing practical, bipartisan solutions at the local level without spending a dime of taxpayer dollars.
“The Grand Canyon is a national treasure worth protecting, and the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act helps preserve the Park and wildlife diversity for future generations to enjoy.”
"The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is encouraged that Rep. Paul Gosar is striving to not only put the protection of the Grand Canyon and its resources first, but that he also considers utilizing Arizona's dedicated hunters as a part of the solution to this serious issue," Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Pat Madden said. “This bill would provide hunters increased opportunities to harvest buffalo, feed their families, improve bison herd health and positively impact the entire habitat for all of the Park’s diverse wildlife.”
The complete text of H.R. 3005 can be found HERE.
Cosponsors of H.R. 3005 include: Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-02), Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06)
The Grand Canyon National Park has a bison problem that has reached borderline epidemic proportions over the last few years as the National Park Service (NPS) has assessed and evaluated the problem to an exhausting degree, all the while ignoring a commonsense solution.
The bison residing in the Grand Canyon National Park are no ordinary bison. They are a crossbreed between bison and cattle that have migrated from the Kaibab National Forest and found sanctuary inside the Grand Canyon National Park, protected from hunters. The non-native animals are wreaking havoc on Park lands, eating native grasslands and polluting wetlands with their waste. A Fox News article documenting the devastation caused by the bison in the Grand Canyon National Park can be found HERE.
Through the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, NPS is directed to collaborate with the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD) to not only manage a reduction in the number of bison but also bring relief to the Park’s beleaguered resources at the same time. With federal regulations in place restricting citizen hunters from helping reduce the herd size, the bison population has risen from approximately 200 animals to projections now reaching nearly 600 head. Absent a proactive effort by AZGFD and volunteer citizen hunters, this herd could grow exponentially to the further detriment of the Park.
This legislation advances a commonsense proposal that would cull this unmanageable herd and eliminate federal barriers by permitting volunteer hunters to take home the meat, head and hide.
The text of the 201-page NPS Environmental Assessment (EA) where the Park acknowledges the problem can be found HERE.
The EA proposes reducing the size of the herd to fewer than 200 animals by enlisting the assistance of skilled volunteers (supervised hunters) for humane lethal culling. The EA’s preferred alternative also allows for these skilled volunteers to keep the meat. Congressman Gosar has consistently pushed NPS to adopt these two policies. The preferred alternative also allows for reduction of the herd through sharpshooters and other nonlethal means which include corralling, hazing, herding, fencing and the use of attractants.
It is estimated that the herd needs to be reduced by about 400 head to meet sustainable management levels. NPS estimates the target herd level can be achieved over the course of the next three to five years. NPS also estimates “that this bison herd could grow to nearly 800 bison in the next three years and as large as 1200 to 1500 animals within ten years if further management actions are not taken.”
On March 19, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill that authorizes volunteer hunters to cull bison inside Grand Canyon National Park and to take home the meat. Specifically, the bill directed the Park Service to use state-licensed skilled volunteers as part of the solution for addressing this invasive population. The tags sold for these bison would result in significant revenues for state and conservation coffers. The bill also clarified that bison meat is not ‘federal surplus property’ and that the full bison is allowed to be removed from the park.
Congressman Gosar initially attached his bill from the 114th Congress, H.R. 1443, to H.R. 2406 by passing an amendment during markup when the bill passed the House Committee on Natural Resources in October 2015. It was then included in Title XV of the SHARE Act, the 114th Congress’ Sportsmen’s Package, and passed the House on February 26, 2016. Read more HERE and HERE.
The following organizations have expressed their support for the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act: AZ Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation; Anglers United; AZ Antelope Foundation; AZ Bass Federation Nation; AZ Big Game Super Raffle; AZ Bowhunters Association; AZ Catfish Conservation Association; AZ Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation; AZ Chapter of Safari Club International; AZ Council of Trout Unlimited; AZ Deer Association; AZ Desert Bighorn Sheep Society; AZ Elk Society; AZ Flycasters Club; AZ Houndsmen; AZ Outdoor Sports; AZ Shooting Sports Education Foundation; Christian Hunters of America; Coconino Sportsmen; Kahuna’s Kida Mohave Sportsman Club; Outdoor Experience 4 All; South Eastern Sportsmen Club; Southwest Wildlife Foundation; SRT Outdoors; The BASS Federation; Valley of the Sun Quail Forever; Xtreme Predator Callers