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bitmasher's picture
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

Apparently RMNP wants to cull the elk herd in our park with night vision equipped sharp shooters. The cost is estimated at $18 million over 20 years.

http://www.9news.com/acm_news.aspx?OSGNAME=KUSA&IKOBJECTID=681628bf-0abe...
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/science/3883651.html

I think this is nutty. They could allow limited hunting in some parts of the park and turn the hunts into a revenue stream rather than a liability.

If safety is an issue, they could close some parts of the park to visitors in october or november specifically just to keep the hunting safe. For extra safety they could limit it to just primitive hunting (bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders).

Apparently human hunting is taboo since the parks are supposed to be some sort of "natural" ecosystem on a different plane than the rest of the environment. Personally I consider night vision sharp shooters less natural than annual hunting by people.

I enjoy and respect the national park system but the hunting ban needs to be re-evaluated.

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Location: Summit County, Colorado
Joined: 03/17/2005
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

Wow, I couldn't agree more with you Bitmasher.

Our National Parks have become breeding grounds for foolishness. My son went to RMNP two years ago with his mother, and he came home talking about all the "cute" elk he and his mother could walk right up to. Apparently, they were almost close enough to pet the things! (Of course, that could have been be an error of tragic proportions.)

I had to reeducate my son about the true nature of wild animals, and I basically explained in child-like terms that RMNP has become a zoo without fences. Habituated animals. For a short while he didn't want me to hunt elk, but he changed his mind after I took him on a father/son field trip and showed him some real elk, elk that wouldn't let us get closer than 400 yards.
His mother still thinks the elk are cute, but she's willing to eat them.

What's happening in some of our national parks is just downright disrespectful of nature. There is a true order in nature, and it includes elk herds fending for themselves in the wild and being hunted by man and beast.

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Location: Summit County, Colorado
Joined: 03/17/2005
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Opportunity for Public Comment

I would encourage all of you to comment on the NPS plan for culling elk in RMNP. You can submit your comments online. One of the preferred plans seems to include the use of sharpshooters and the reintroduction of wolves. I personally agree with the reintroduction of wolves in conjunction with hunting (not sharpshooting), because wolves and other apex predators were part of this area for probably 99.9% of the history of the land.

Elk wouldn't be the majestic animals they are without both hunting by humans and predation by wolves. Without predation, elk become lethargic and less able to evade hunters. We should all be offended when elk lose this majesty.

Here is a copy of my comment to the National Park Service:

A combindation of wolves and hunters should be used to control the elk population within RMNP. The preferred Alternative No. 5 does not create a "natural" condition within the Park. Reintroducing wolves would be a good start, but hunting (by native americans and others) has also played a key historical role in conservation within RMNP.

The enabling legislation for RMNP states that the park should be managed so as to provide the freest use of said park for recreation purposes by the public and for the preservation of the natural condition. How would the use of professional sharpshooters contribute to recreational purposes or the preservation of the natural condition? Simply stated, the use of sharpshooters will not achieve such aspirational goals.

Hunting, just like predation by animal predators, has played a key role in the evolution of elk behavior. Hunting is also a valued recreational activity and part of the natural condition, modern political correctness notwithstanding. Hunting therefore achieves those goals set forth by the enabling legislation.

I believe that an overarching sense of political correctness is the stumbling block in this matter, preventing the National Park Service from exercising obvious common sense methods, methods that would not only cost a great deal less than Alternative 5, but also net considerable conservation-related revenue through the sale of hunting licenses.

Alternative 5 should exclude professional sharpshooters and include the use of hunters, in conjunction with the reintroduction of wolves.

Thank you for your consideration.

bitmasher's picture
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

Simple and to the point letter. However I have my doubts that RMNP will allow hunters even if local managers wanted to use hunters. While I don't know this for sure, I believe the hunting ban is federal level issue. In other words all national parks allow hunting or none at all.

Either way, please post a link to where you found this online comment area. I must have missed it.

Thanks!

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Location: Longmont, Colorado
Joined: 04/29/2006
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

I tend to agree with you Bitmasher, but correct me if Im wrong but why couldnt they do something similar to the Air Force Acadamy hunt which is also Fed governed?

bitmasher's picture
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

I don't know for sure, but I assume that being federal land does not necessarily preclude hunting. Rather being a national park precludes hunting.

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Location: Summit County, Colorado
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Parks

Web site for the RMNP Elk Plan:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=11012

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Location: Crested Butte Co.
Joined: 09/05/2005
Posts: 150
Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

Why don't they just trap and transplant them. Had to edit just read that they have CWD but still looks like they could trap them test them and what is infected just get rid of them.

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Location: Idaho
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

Unless night-vision / sharpshooters is the ONLY alternative - it sounds BIZARRE. What could be more un-natural. If these people need something to do - send them to Iraq!

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Location: Montana
Joined: 03/09/2006
Posts: 111
Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program
Serious Hunter wrote:
Unless night-vision / sharpshooters is the ONLY alternative - it sounds BIZARRE. What could be more un-natural. If these people need something to do - send them to Iraq!

AMEN! Thumbs up

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Location: Crested Butte Co.
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Rocky Mountain National Park Elk Culling Program

I would get rid of them for 8 million dollars and i won't use night vision.

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