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Hunters are going ballistic for a chance to help thin a herd of bison in Grand Canyon National Park.
Some 45,000 people have applied for just 12 spots to kill one of the massive beasts each in the September slaughter.
The ideal candidate to “protect the park ecosystem, resources and values,” will have no criminal history, be physically fit, have firearm safety certification and be able to “pass a marksmanship proficiency test,” government officials said.
Only 15 percent of the 45,040 applicants were from Arizona, as sharp shooters from coast to coast vied for the volunteer gig, according to officials.
“Just keeping my fingers crossed that I’m one out of 12,” said Rich Dawley Jr. a 29-year-old farmer outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “You can’t win unless you play.”
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will pick 25 names through a lottery and then pick the 12 most qualified out of that group to kill and harvest an animal.
“I just thought it would be a cool experience,” said Vasko, a 27-year-old who works in real estate and farms in Omaha, Nebraska. “I’m an avid fisher, hunter. Going to Grand Canyon to hunt bison would be absolutely awesome.”
Volunteers will be working under grueling conditions at high altitudes, and will be banned from using motorized vehicles to transport the bison they slaughter, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.
The park has removed about 90 animals so far and transported them to Native American tribes, in line with a 2017 environmental review.
Parks workers want to reduce the size of the herd by several hundred to decrease impacts on park resources and improve the experience of park visitors.
With AP wires
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