Theodore Roosevelt National Park Elk Reduction
Last year with the help of sharpshooters, 406 elk were harvested in a 12 week period in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Hunters who want to aid in reducing the elk can turn in their application starting July 9th. A total of 200 applicants will be randomly selected, 20 per week for the duration of the process October 17- December 23rd. The park's ideal population of elk is 300 and now there are around 650.
Elk reduction is a volunteer based job, no money is exchanged, but the sharpshooter is allowed to keep the meat from one of the elk. Last year 64,000 lbs of meat was harvested, the meat from the rest of the elk is donated to Native American tribes and Sportsmen Against Hunger programs to help low-income individuals meet food needs.
Participants from last year's reduction said it was some of the most physical work they had ever done, but also some of the most rewarding. “It is not a guided elk hunt,” Wildlife Biologist and Elk Reduction Coordinator Wade Jones said, adding that volunteers go through safety training. “We use very clear and plain language that they are employees that are here to help with elk management. It is stated early that they are here to do a job.” Those that are randomly selected must pass a background check and marksmanship test.
Applications will be accepted until July 23rd. Last year more than 5200 applications were received, coming from 46 different states. A high turnout is expected this year as well. From Grand Forks Herald.