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Game & Fish Commission condemns goat removal plan

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Game and Fish Commission considers NPS policy.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK)-Saying it "flies in the face of all Wyoming values," the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is blasting the National Park Service's planned use of aerial gunning to remove mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park.

"While we recognize Grand Teton National Park's efforts to address the expansion of mountain goats in native bighorn sheep ranges, the department has been consistent in voicing our concerns about the use of aerial lethal removal," said Brian Nesvik, Game and Fish director. "We have communicated several times, in multiple ways, as recently as today, our recommendation to use skilled volunteer hunters to achieve their objectives to reduce mountain goat populations."

Grand Teton National Park outlined a variety of methods to address the expansion of mountain goats in the Teton Range. Park officials believe the goats pose a risk of disease to the core native Targhee bighorn sheep herd.

In a resolution adopted Wednesday, the commission called on the National Park Service to immediately cancel plans to kill the goats through aerial gunning and instead implement a plan allowing the goats to be removed by volunteers. It passed unanimously in a rare roll call vote.

"Leaving carcasses to rot, where there is no utilization of that resource, rather than allow sportsman to go out with park supervision and training to harvest an animal - like is done with elk - I can't understand that decision," said Game and Fish Commissioner Pat Crank.

Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik also sent a letter to the acting superintendent of Grand Teton National Park urging him to reconsider the removal plan.

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