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Theodore Roosevelt National Park Needs Packers To Help With Elk Culling


Theodore Roosevelt National Park officials plan to move forward this fall with a plan to reduce the park's elk numbers. NPS photo by Nathan King.

When Theodore Roosevelt National Park officials move forward this fall with a plan to reduce the park's elk population, they'll need professional meat packers to get the elk carcasses out of the park. If you fit that bill, now's the time to apply.

Under the park's elk management plan, teams of park staff and volunteers tasked with shooting cow elk need to be be supported by "experienced meat recovery teams (packers), who will collect the meat and transport it using pack horses/mules to a cold-storage centrally located within the park," according to a park release.

"Safe and efficient removal of elk from the field is critical to the success of the program," said park Superintendent Valerie Naylor. "Although we are not yet asking for volunteers to sign up to assist with the elk reduction, we are currently looking for packers who would work as paid contractors to haul elk out of the park's backcountry."

The packers will need to be experienced in using pack animals in rough badlands terrain and provide their own pack stock, trailer, and tow vehicle(s), the park's release said.

Park staff will be field-testing all protocols so that management activities involving packers could begin as early as October 10. Those interested in working with the National Park Service in this capacity must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR, and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA,

To be considered, individuals should enter the required information into the CCR and ORCA databases by August 6, the park said. Once registered, individuals will receive information on the requirements and how the contracting process will proceed.

"Having packers assist with the removal of elk meat from the field will allow the volunteer teams more time to concentrate on reducing the number of elk in the park," said Superintendent Naylor. "It will make our operation as efficient as possible."

Questions regarding opportunities for packers should be directed to Theodore Roosevelt National Park Chief of Resource Management Bill Whitworth at 701-623-4466.


who is going to get the meat? put wolves in the park,and let nature take its course.

The volunteer hunters better get the meat that they successfully harvested, they worked for it and they should take it home with them. Forget this stupid idea with bring wolves into the park, it's the dumbest idea. People like you Destroyerman, pathetic name, will just scream bloody murder when the wolves have taken every living thing out of the park and are reduced by us hunters or the parks "sharp shooters".

Here in Nebraska when the Game and Parks Commission needs whitetails culled they issue permits, and charge a nominal fee for these special permits. They don't spend money on contractors and employees, they let people do the hunting. If the National Park Service had any sense they would offer special licenses and send hunters out with park employees (to help ensure the right animals are culled). If the hunter simply wants to hunt the elk and doesn't want the meat, she/he can donate it. If they want it, then they keep it. What is so complex about this? Only the NPS could take something that the average joe would gladly do for them and find a way to turn it into a million dollar boondoggle! I have seen that they have $1 million budgetted for the "project" over the next five years...I would bet $100 that will at least double within three years!

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