Grand Teton National Park will be culling more mountain goats this fall to help bighorn sheep. The multi-year culling program targets non-native mountain goats, which encroach on key bighorn sheep habitat and carry disease that could potentially wipe out the isolated native bighorn sheep herd. While previous culls called for volunteers, this fall’s will only use qualified volunteers who helped during the 2020 cull. No new volunteers will be needed, according to County 10 News.
Park officials hope to remove the roughly 50 remaining mountain goats within the park. Last fall, 108 qualified volunteers were able to cull 43 mountain goats. This year, park officials say the “removal will be exceedingly more difficult” because so few non-native goats remain.
Previous qualified volunteers will still need to complete a background check and cannot have any “active warrants, past wildlife violations, or violations associated with Grand Teton National Park” and must “pass a mandatory firearm proficiency evaluation.” Volunteers must also be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old.
The 2021 cull will occur Sept. 22 through Oct. 25 and follows the National Park Service’s 2019 Mountain Goat Management Plan. The National Park Service is working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department under guidance in the 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, according to County 10 News.
For more information in the culling program, click HERE.