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Mon, Oct. 21

Bill would OK buffalo hunting in Grand Canyon

KINGMAN - At a time when some of Arizona's legislators are trying to get President Obama to lock up over 1.7 million acres of public land on the north and south rim of the Grand Canyon, (Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument) some good news for sportsmen is finally coming out of Washington.

Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., along with Rep. Paul Gosar, also R-Ariz., introduced a bill that would allow hunters to remove buffalo and preserve lands inside the Grand Canyon National Park.

Other Arizona legislators are co-sponsors, including Republican Reps. Trent Franks, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert, and Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Called the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, it would allow hunters, not a federal agency, to go in and hunt and keep the meat of the animals they take.

"The animals wreaking havoc on Grand Canyon National Park are no ordinary bison," McCain said. "They are cross-breeds between cattle and bison that continue to destroy the natural vegetation and pristine lands that make the park a national treasure and destination for millions of visitors. Our legislation advances a common-sense proposal that would cull the unmanageable herds and eliminate federal barriers by allowing volunteer hunters to recover the full animal carcasses."

Typically, federal regulations require that meat from an animal culled from inside a national park must be partially or fully donated to food charities. And add to that, the cost of hiring federal agents to do the hunt.

McCain said about 600 bison have migrated from the Kaibab National Forest to inside the Grand Canyon National Park, where hunting is prohibited.

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