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December 11, 2007

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“Qualified Volunteers” May Cull National Park Elk

In its final proposal to reduce a problematic elk population in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park announced this morning, the park service stopped short of opening a hunt to the general public, as was hoped by many hunters’ groups and some supportive legislators.

Under the U.S. Park Service plan, park personnel, authorized agents, private contractors and “qualified volunteers” selected and managed by park service officials may take 100 to 200 elk per year.

Elk

The proposal is a significantly reduced version of an earlier draft plan that called for culling up to 700 elk a year to bring the burgeoning elk numbers down more rapidly.

In addition to the culling plan, the Rocky Mountain News reports that park workers will install additional fencing around willow and aspen stands and use “aversion” techniques, such as rubber bullets or loud noises, to keep elk away from certain areas.

Despite the exclusion of hunters from the plan per se, hunting advocacy group Safari Club International announced in a press release today that the NPS decision to allow “qualified volunteers” as agents to help park personnel cull excessive elk herds is “a tremendous step forward.”

“Because the plan specifies that the volunteers will have to be ‘certified in firearms training, be specially trained in wildlife culling,’ and pass a proficiency test, SCI expects that these ‘qualified volunteers’ will come from the hunting community,” the press release read.

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus members Rep. Mark Udall, (D), and Sen. Wayne Allard, (R), introduced federal legislation that would allow the National Park Service to use licensed hunters as volunteers or contractors in the elk reduction effort.

Following a short comment period on the plan’s Environmental Impact Statement, a final “record of decision” is expected in early 2008.

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Comments

Dave in St Pete

Hey, Why charge hunters (license fees) and make money for the state when you can spend taxpayer funds for "authorized agents and private contractors" ?

Also if they allowed just common hunters to do this they would also be passing up an opportunity for political pay back to friends via "selected volunteers".

Got to keep the 'riff raff" out of this opportunity on lands that the public owns.

After all if they did allow hunters in where would it stop? The common folks might get the idea that they actually have a say in government!

Tom Remington

Yes, Colorado there really is a Santa Claus! Please! "‘certified in firearms training, be specially trained in wildlife culling,’ and pass a proficiency test" And are you going to tell me these "park employees" fit this bill too?
I think there's a better chance that Al Gore is going to lose 75 pounds of fat before any of us ever see a "volunteer hunter" take an elk in RMNP!

Sherrill Philip Neese

I went to the news article and posted the text below. :-) I am ready!

----

Where do I sign up to volunteer?

Of course, if they want to pay me, I am all for that too, but out of the kindness of my heart and with a genuine desire to serve, I am more than willing to volunteer. Heck, to show that my intentions are in the right place, I will even pay my own transportation to get out there. :-)

As to qualifications, I have successfully hunted big game with rifle, slug gun, muzzleloader and bow. I have been through several hunter safety courses and I have qualified numerous times to hunt on federal property as part of the federal government's wild life management efforts. I served almost 22 years in the Marine Corps and have scored 50 out of 50 with an M-16 at 500 yards. If education is an issue, I have a MS in Computer Systems Management with a concentration in Applied Computer Systems.

Bottom line, I am ready, willing, and able to help out. If those elk was to be problem children, I would be more than happy to keep them in line.

Sincerely and somewhat facetiously, :-)

Sherrill Philip Neese
Millersville, MD
[email protected]

GREG

Well said and cudos to you Mr. Neese!

Dave in St Pete

Sherrill, (assuming you are a girl)

I Love You!