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National Park Service officials call for volunteers to shoot bison in the Grand Canyon — 45,000 apply for a dozen spots

 National Park Service (NPS) officials will hold a raffle to decide what 12 lucky people will have the opportunity to shoot bison in the Grand Canyon after they received 45,000 applications.

The NPS said in a post on its website that overpopulation of the bison was becoming a problem in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The park service is seeking 12 skilled shooters to reduce the population of bison from about 600 down to a more manageable 200.

This action is necessary due to the rapid growth of the bison population and the transition from the herd using state and U.S. Forest Service lands into almost exclusively residing within Grand Canyon. Impacts from grazing and trampling on water, vegetation, soils, and archaeological sites, as well as on visitor experience and wilderness character also necessitate action.

And that's not all.

"They also have a negative impact on the water quality on the North Rim as well," said Caitlyn Thomas, a public affairs spokesperson for the Grand Canyon National Park, to KTVX-TV.

"They wallow around in the water and it creates a real e.coli problem because that water table feeds directly into Roaring Springs, and that's the water source for folks that are living, working and also recreating at the North Rim," she added.

The volunteers have a high set of demands to meet in order to qualify for the opportunity to shoot the bison. They have to pass a criminal background check, have a firearm safety certification, and pass a marksman proficiency test. They must also provide for their own lodging, firearm, equipment, and food.

The volunteers selected will search for bison on foot at elevations of 8,000 feet or higher, the AP reported. The volunteers will be notified May 17.

The Grand Canyon is among the most popular of the national parks in the United States. The NPS said that in 2020 the Grand Canyon was the sixth most popular park with 2.9 million visitors. Yellowstone National Park came in second with 3.8 million visitors and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came in first with 12.1 million visitors.

Here's more about the grand hunting opportunity:

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