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Grand Teton’s mountain goat cull is underway

Grand Teton’s mountain goat cull is underway

Photo credit: Dreamstime

The lethal elimination of invasive mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is underway. Last Sunday, park officials closed parts of the high Tetons, which included the north and west slopes of the iconic Cathedral Group, so that contracted aerial gunners could begin a week-long effort to locate and shoot the mountain goats. The effort is to help native bighorn sheep that are already “struggling” to survive, CBS Denver reports.

“We’re trying to be efficient and effective — so doing this as fast as possible in the most efficient way — and we believe that the aerial operations does that,” said park spokeswoman Denise Germann.

As goHUNT previously reported, there are about 100 mountain goats living in Grand Teton, most likely descended from a herd outside the park. Because of the current number of animals, park officials believe that they can remove the non-native herd completely. If they don’t, the population could continue to grow and make complete removal unattainable, resulting in too many non-native animals on critical bighorn sheep habitat.

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This is the first week for the lethal elimination project and, according to Germann, there’s no way to predict how many animals will be targeted and removed and “it’s possible that at least one more week of aerial shooting will occur,” depending upon that number.

“This will be our initial action, and we’ll see how it goes,” Germann said. “It’s a very unique situation for Grand Teton National Park.”

The removal effort will not only be completed by air. According to CBS Denver, park officials have also given the go-ahead to kill goats on the ground, but that won’t take place this winter. 

While controversial, the effort has garnered public support in hopes of keeping the bighorn sheep herd healthy with enough forage and low competition. The original proposal called for the salvage and donation of mountain goat meat to those in need; however, that has since changed.

“We will retrieve carcasses if we can safely do so, but we believe that may be very challenging,” said Germann. “If we do recover any carcasses this go-around, they will be used for research purposes.”

13 Comments

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Kudu.leopard
Debbie R. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 06:11:42 am
Unity
goHUNT INSIDER

Culling = a terrible waste. What Irony, the Mountain Goats migrated there, existed prior as I understand, yet their invasive? At the very least giving hunters an opportunity makes prefect sense all around.

Alex T. - posted 2 months ago on 01-18-2020 09:21:12 pm

Mountain Goats were reported in 1892 in the Tetons by W. H Wright. Reference Camp-fires in the Canadian Rockies by William Temple Hornaday (1906). I don't understand how they can be invasive now?

Robert T. - posted 2 months ago on 01-17-2020 09:46:13 am
Blackfoot, ID
goHUNT INSIDER

So sad they are not letting hunters solve this issue.

Mike G. - posted 2 months ago on 01-12-2020 06:58:25 pm

WTH someone at the park service has their head up their a**

Matthew B. - posted 2 months ago on 01-12-2020 06:20:29 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

How did no one sue to stop this. Hunting groups needed to use the wolf and bear playbook against them. This is a terrible waste of money and of the resource.

Jon L. - posted 2 months ago on 01-12-2020 05:32:13 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

OK.... so how is an animal naturally migrating in to an area considered invasive?
Park Service is THE worst.

virgil.jenzen
Virgil J. - posted 2 months ago on 01-11-2020 02:59:00 pm
Eagle Mountain UT
goHUNT INSIDER

Kevin's comment is on point!

Kevin L. - posted 2 months ago on 01-11-2020 09:55:15 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Government logic at its finest. Goats that migrated in are invasive, but wolves that we transplant from Canada...not invasive.

BRETT S. - posted 2 months ago on 01-10-2020 06:01:51 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Absolute stupid waste of money. Many tags could've been sold and raised cash to help transplant the goats that did not get harvested. Then maybe proceed with the eradication process.

Funny an animal that WALKED into the park is considered invasive but we can transplant wolves hundreds or thousands of miles and that's natural.

Alex T. - posted 2 months ago on 01-09-2020 03:10:59 pm

I have never seen a Mountain Goat kill a Big Horn Sheep, but I have seen a Wolf! This aerial gunning is targeting the wrong species.

Dallin C. - posted 2 months ago on 01-09-2020 10:49:25 am
Twin Falls, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

I dont understand Government agencies at times. Why would you pay to have aeriel gunners come in when you could have sold 100 tags to people and have them come in and do it. Close the section of the park you need you can even have the tags go to the highest bidder to raise money to help the struggling bighorns.

Seth D. - posted 2 months ago on 01-08-2020 11:03:47 am
Public Lands
goHUNT INSIDER

Park Service Sucks! Wyoming Game and Fish should send them a bill for the mountain goats. 100 goats at $15,000-20,000 each (current price of live mountain goats through the exotic game industry).

Seth D. - posted 2 months ago on 01-08-2020 11:03:47 am
Public Lands
goHUNT INSIDER

Park Service Sucks! Wyoming Game and Fish should send them a bill for the mountain goats. 100 goats at $15,000-20,000 each (current price of live mountain goats through the exotic game industry).