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, https://www.bpn.gov) and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA, https://orca.bpn.gov/).
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.