Second Year of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Elk Herd Reduction Starts

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Last year Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota opened their doors to volunteer hunters/sharp shooters to help reduce their elk herd. This year the program is continuing, starting today. The culling of the elk herd helps keep it at a sustainable level for the park's ecosystem.

The back country and hiking trails in the south unit will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 22nd to help keep visitors safe. From The Examiner.


Retired2hunt's picture

Great for North Dakota!


This is great for North Dakota and those allowed to be in the process to cull this herd. 

Like other posters here I would love the opportunity to seek a chance of a hunt within our primary national park.  Time will only tell if this is ever made available.  But due to time limitations I will continue efforts to hunt where I know licenses are definitely made available!



numbnutz's picture

Last years hunt must have

Last years hunt must have been a sucess if officails are asking hunters to come back and help out again. I would like to see more hunters than hired sharpe shooters. It's important for herd management even in National parks. If the populations get too big than it will be harmful for the animals as well as people who visit the parks. I remeber the article last year about this program but don't remeber all of the details. I also remeber people talking about RMNP. I think the only way a hunt will happen there is if state officails feel the pressure from the hunting community and if and when someone gets gored from a animal not affraid of peopel who just starts attacking. There was a story a while back from Washington if I remeber right of Goats attacking hikers in a park or wildlife refuge up there. Hopefully this years hunt goes great and the herd gets thinned out to the levels that officails want them to be.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

I remember them asking for

I remember them asking for volunteers to do this a few months back.  As I recall, it's very restrictive.  They said nobody should expect to go in there and take a trophy elk, as it's supposed to be about a reduction in the herd.  That means more killing of the cows. 

Sad that it has to come to this, but that can happen when you keep a place totally off limits to hunting, where there is a suficient food and water.  Lots of national parks get this way, and this was no exception.  Heck, I think Rocky Mountain National park should open to a more liberal season too.  But, I guess that's part of the idea of establishing the Park in the first place, is to protect the wildlife.

I don't remember from the previous article though if the volunteers were able to take some elk meat home, or if it all had to be donated to food shelves and such.  Either way, sounds like they'll have some fun shooting.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Is this National Park high

Is this National Park high fenced or is the population just growing in that area?  It’s unfortunate that these types of programs have to be used for herd management.  I would rather see more hunting opportunities then an organized event like this.   I found an article online that said this program could cost up to $1.5 million over 5 year period.  The concern from other interest groups is that this program will lead the way for a public hunt based on successful herd management but at a high cost.  Public hunts bring in money.  It works and it’s a win win if you enjoy National Parks and want to see wildlife that doesn't have natural predators then you need hunters to assist with herd management.

SGM's picture

Swisher, no high fence just

Swisher, no high fence just growing that fast just like in Rocky Mountain.  I agree that this could be a money making deal for the park and the state but they do not do it that way for some odd reason. In the tetons they do and have for years. Since there are no predators in the area man must take these animals out or they will die off from over grazing and disease. This will be another way the anti group will try and put wolves in the parks to stop hunting. IMO let hunters hunt and manage the herd. 

COMeatHunter's picture

Why not RMNP?

This seems like such a simple and reasonable solution to elk overpopulation in our national parks.  Teton National Park is also using hunting to help reduce the elk population.  What I don't understand is why other national parks, like Rocky Mountain NP, don't, won't or can't use such methods to reduce the elk herd.

Since I live in Colorado near RMNP, I get to read a lot of the press about the elk in the park.  This issue has been discussed, reported on, and criticized for several years now.  From the 10 foot fencing around the aspen groves and areas completely degraded by elk overgrazing to the volunteer sharpshooters that shoot a small handful of elk each winter, we hear about the 10 year plan and how much it costs to administer and execute.  And thus far, I'm not sure it's working nor is it clear if there are other mitigation efforts that can be used.  If the park service can use limited hunting for population control in other national parks, why can't this be done in RMNP?  It will cost over $10M to complete the current plan.  How much would it cost to administer a limited hunting season or two?

If the park service were really concerned about the "natural order" keeping the elk population in check then I would think the high fencing keeping elk from food sources to drive them to other areas, both in and out of the park, would not be considered as a viable method either.  

Just another example of wasted time, money and effort.  Unfortunately, it's our time, money and effort the government is wasting.