Antelope Island to close for annual bison hunt

Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-24 23:37:16-05

ANTELOPE ISLAND, Utah -- The annual bison hunt on Antelope Island has been a method for trimming the bull population for decades, but some are against the tradition for more reasons than one.

“It’s one of the once in a lifetime hunts for people,” said Jeremy Shaw, who is a park manager at Antelope Island.

The first week of December has been the annual Antelope Island bison hunt since the 28,000-acre piece of land became a state park in 1981.

“So 30 plus years, 35 years, this has always been the way we cull the bulls from the herd,” Shaw said.

Shaw said  hunting is not a huge source of revenue, but it does assist the park's operations. Typically, six tags are sold for the bison hunt, and the park is closed to everyone else.

“If I was coming out here on that day, and found out I couldn’t visit, I probably wouldn’t like it, but I’m okay with doing the hunt,” Hiker Pat Roe said.

But not everyone is in favor of the tradition. The local nonprofit group Friends of Antelope Island is opposed to closing the park for any reason, but especially for hunting.

“We just feel there’s a lot better activities that could be held on the island that could be more suitable for the general public,” said Ron Taylor of Friends of Antelope Island.

The group raises about $40,000 a year for the park, and they said they just want to keep the visitors happy and preserve the island.

Roe said he doesn't mind the hunt.

“I’m not a hunter, but I don’t have anything against hunting as long as it’s done responsibly,” he said.

The entire island park will be closed to the public Dec. 3. The island will reopen to visitors Dec. 4.