Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On June 20, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a formal letter of support to the U.S. Forest Service for the proposed improvements submitted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) to better assist with the management of the House Rock Wildlife Area (HRWA) bison herd.
Proposed improvements will enable AZGFD to: contain, feed and water the bison; reduce potential conflicts between the public and bison; and protect sensitive natural and cultural resources within the HRWA and on the National Kaibab Ranger District.
Such management activities are consistent with and help to advance the goals outlined in the larger Kaibab National Forest’s (KNF) Land and Resource Management Plan. Specifically, “active management should be used to minimize impacts from bison to sensitive resources, particularly outside of the HRWA.” The proposed project addresses the most immediate needs of the AZGFD to provide critical bison management.
Under the Kaibab National Forest (KNF) Land and Resource Management Plan, hunting is identified as a method to reduce herd size and impact, stating, “efforts to achieve the desired conditions will likely be implemented in phases with an initial emphasis on reducing the herd size and excluding them from Grand Canyon National Park. Strategies may include hunting and trapping, fencing, and herding.” Additionally, the opportunity to hunt bison is explicitly stated as an objective of the HRWA management plan, under the KNF Land and Resource Management Plan.
CSF has long been a supporter of AZGFD efforts to effectively manage bison throughout the Kaibab Plateau and supports its efforts to adhere to the KNF’s Land and Resource Management Plan through the proposed management improvements project. CSF also supports hunting as a method to reduce herd size and impact as next steps in the ongoing management of the HRWA bison herd.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?