Many people believe that National Parks are preserved areas with strict no-hunting laws. However, this is not true. Although most of the parks don’t allow it, there are about 75 areas that permit hunting under the National Park Service (NPS). This means that about 60 percent of the NPS’ total park property uses hunting at various times of the year so that they can manage their wildlife population. So, if you’re on the hunt for some new land to target, check out one of these approved national parks.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington
Named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area was created as a part of the Columbia River Basin project. Here, you can find the area’s largest concentration of moose as well as osprey and turkeys. The area is most popular though for waterfowl hunters since many species of diving and puddle ducks inhabit the lake during the winter. To catch these ducks, your best bet is to hunt late in the morning, when migratory flocks stop to take a rest. You will also want to use decoys to attract the waterfowl and be sure to stand at a crossing angle to your target. Since waterfowl hunting occurs during the winter, you will also want to wear warm, comfortable clothes and follow the rules and regulations of the season.
Particularly at Lake Roosevelt, you must avoid hunting within a half a mile of developed areas. However, hunting at the Old Kettle Falls developed area does open for waterfowl hunting during certain times of the year. This is an excellent spot to check out as it tends to be less crowded and easier to hunt.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
If you’re looking to target the big game, Grand Teton National Park is the place for you. Grand Teton offers some of the best big game hunting in the United States. The eco-system is known for its large diverse wildlife such as moose, mule deer, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelopes, black bear, and grizzly bear. However, the area is specifically popular for its population of elk. Since the park was created in 1950, an elk hunt was established across the 310,000-acre land. This hunt helps to manage the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s target objective of 11,000 elk and provides hunters with a hefty prize.
Elk hunting occurs in the park from October to December, but it can vary slightly depending on the year and area. You must have a valid Wyoming elk hunting license along with a park permit to hunt and if you want, you can hire a special guide to help you cut down on preparation. These guides will haul the animal out for you and show you the best places to hunt. However, regardless of whether or not you decide to use a guide, don't forget to bring your ACOG scope, nylon twine, and rangefinder to ensure you're ready for the hunt of your life.
Amistad National Park, Texas
Named for the Spanish word for “friendship”, Amistad National Park has a great friendship between water and land. On its 58,500-acre park, you can enjoy beautiful water views and get up close and personal with some amazing wildlife. Amistad National Park is also one of the few parks in the country that allows the use of archery to hunt your game. Therefore, you can use a bow and arrow or a shotgun to target white-tailed deer, javelina, turkeys, rabbits, exotic mouflon sheep, aoudad sheep, blackbuck antelope, feral hogs duck, and quail.
Although the park used to be a secret, it has now opened up to the public making tracking a little difficult. To catch the best game, you should set up your spot and wait for the crowds to push the animals to you. You won’t be disappointed though at what you catch. Amistad National Park has five areas that are designated for public hunting and the hunting season is typically between September and February. To join the hunters, you simply need to obtain a $20 National Park Service Annual Hunting Permit and show your hunting license.
Special Rules for Hunting in National Parks
You are probably aware of all the safety precautions and rules associated with hunting. For example, you should never hunt alone and dress properly for the weather and so that you’re visible to other hunters. However, there are specific rules that are associated with hunting in national parks. Because national parks are protected areas, you absolutely have to follow the regulations of the area. Be sure that you only hunt approved animals during the appropriate season.
Also, you need to be sure to stay off historic areas and protected wildlife sections. You have to take extra caution to leave the hunting ground exactly as you left it so that you don’t disrupt some of the threatened flora and fauna.