More than 13,000 volunteer to shoot elk at ND parkMEDORA, N.D. (AP) — More than 13,000 people in 38 states have volunteered to shoot elk this fall at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.
MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — More than 13,000 people in 38 states have volunteered to shoot elk this fall at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.
“We knew we'd get a bunch,” spokeswoman Eileen Andes said Monday, but the overwhelming response “is surprising.”
The deadline to apply expired at midnight Monday. Officials by the end of the month expect to select 260 volunteers at random using a computer. They must pass a background check and a marksmanship test.
More than 900 elk have been roaming the park's south unit. The ideal elk population is fewer than 400 animals, so the bloated herd is being reduced.
The plan to use volunteers rather than government-funded sharpshooters came after a lengthy dispute between state officials and the National Park Service.
The park plans to shoot 275 elk, using four five-person teams each week for 13 weeks starting in November. If the effort succeeds, the same number of elk will be killed in each of the following four years.
The culling effort is expected to cost more than $1 million over the five years. Officials have said if it works in North Dakota it could be used elsewhere.