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Grand Canyon Bison Hunting Bill Awaits U.S. House Vote

Stephen Root/12 News

The Grand Canyon Bison Management Act is awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives after passing though committee. The law would allow specially licensed members of the public to buy tags to hunt the animals within Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

During the last decade, a non-native bison herd has migrated from the Kaibab National Forest into the park. Since hunting is illegal in national parks, the animal’s numbers have skyrocketed. As a result, officials say the bison herd is responsible for trampling plant life and destroying water resources and archaeological sites near the North Rim.

Some estimates call for a third of the more than 600 bison in the park to be hunted.

Last summer, officials with the National Park Service came out in opposition to the U.S. Senate’s version of the bison management bill. The agency said it’s conducting its own study that looks at multiple options for contending with the herd. That report is expected to be released early next year.

If the Bison Management Act becomes law, the Park Service will have to publish a plan to enact it within 180 days of the bill’s passage.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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