Park officials release elk plan

Medora, North Dakota (AP) 8-09

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
says its preferred method for reducing the park’s bloated elk herd is teams of shooters that will include volunteers.

That was one of several options the park studied to reduce the elk herd in the park’s south unit, which has grown to more than double the preferred size. Others included relocating elk after checking them for disease, and rounding up elk and euthanizing them. A final decision is expected after a 30-day comment period.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Republican Gov. John Hoeven and state Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand pushed for the Park Service to allow volunteer shooters to kill the animals and keep the meat, but the Park Service said hunting was banned inside the park.

The Park Service’s plan says the meat will be donated to state agencies, American Indian tribes or charities. Dorgan says he was told by the Park Service that it would be up to the state to decide whether to turn some of the meat over to the volunteer shooters. Dorgan says he’ll push for that.