We have a huge jeer for the annual elk hunt underway at Grand Teton National Park. As we highlighted in the summer issue of Action Line, overall Congress has not authorized sport hunting inside of the 59 National Parks, even though this activity is authorized in other National Park Service units. Learn more in our summer edition of Action Line magazine.
However, the elk hunt was codified in Grand Teton’s 1950 enabling federal legislation that created the current park boundaries. When John D. Rockefeller purchased and donated land to expand Grand Teton National Park, the state of Wyoming objected because it already hated Yellowstone National Park. The state only agreed if hunting was allowed and if it was the last federal park in the state.
Not only is the elk hunt disgusting, it is a shining example of the stupidity of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The elk hunt is disguised as a population control tactic, however the agency actually artificially feeds elk in the National Elk Refuge, adjacent to Grand Teton, to keep the population high so hunters have more to slaughter.
A common sense solution would be to add the refuge to Grand Teton National Park, end supplemental feeding, end livestock grazing on public lands in elk winter range, which competes with elk feeding, and protect wolves and other predators of elk.
Friends of Animals does not intend to stop railing against the bankruptcy of the standard approach of wildlife “management” across the West, which is dominated by hunting interests and the farming and ranching industries. One of the specific goals of our Wildlife Law Program is to establish a model to decommodify public lands and the animals that make these habitats their home. If this is a vision you share, please consider making a donation today.