Hunters sought for bison cull in Grand Canyon

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Sharpshooters are being invited to volunteer for a major bison cull in one of the world’s most picturesque locations.

The US National Park Service has called on hunters to take part in their effort to control the population amid concerns the animals pose an environmental threat to the beauty spot.

About 600 bison currently live in the famous gorge, but there are fears that could rise to 1,500 in a decade.

Officials want to herd them up, moving some away from the Canyon while others are legally shot in the surrounding forests.

The bison, which can each munch through up to 14kg of grass a day, are creating problems because they stampede over vegetation, contaminate water sources and causing soil erosion.

Most of the hunting is expected to take place between October and May. Hunters will need to be able to hike eight miles a day, carry a 27kg pack, and hit a paper plate 180m away five times, the Park Service said.

Volunteers may be allowed to bison meat home with them after making their kills.

The Arizona Fish and Game Department posted on its Facebook page: “The National Park Service has a problem with an overpopulation of bison damaging resources on the Grand Canyon’s north rim.

“The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has a simple, cost-effective solution to address it: licensed hunters.”

Many welcomed the plane but not all. Facebook user Vyto Starinskas wrote: “Arizona Game and Fish Department you call it a hunt. But don’t the hunters just walk up to the bison and shoot them? Isn’t this a slaughter?”

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