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Grand Teton National Park rangers issued a citation and a separate warning to an elk hunter after an investigation into concerns that he may have killed a bull elk inside the park's boundary. Randall Arrotta, age 52, of Green Acres, Washington was cited for one violation of 36 CFR§ 2.4 (a)(1)(ii) prohibited carrying of a weapon, and issued a warning for 36 CFR § 2.1 (1)(i) prohibited transport of wildlife parts. He was also cited by Wyoming Game & Fish wardens for WS 23-2-401(a) nonresident hunt of big or trophy game animals on any designated wilderness area without a licensed professional guide.
Park rangers were alerted to a possible illegal hunting situation on Sunday, September 8, after a witness reported concerns over seeing a person hauling animal parts inside Grand Teton National Park just south of the Lizard Creek area, near the north end of Jackson Lake. Rangers contacted Arrotta at the Sheffield Creek campground in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway on Monday morning, September 9, and hiked to where Arrotta had been archery hunting on Sunday and successfully taken an elk using his crossbow. Rangers found the carcass east of the national park boundary and determined that the elk was killed in the Teton Wilderness area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, and not on park land.
Although archery season is open on nearby national forest lands, it is illegal to carry any weapons across national park land beyond a firearm. This law includes crossbows, bow and arrows, spearguns and spears, sling-shots, blowguns, etc. Congress passed legislation in 2010 that allows for gun owners to carry firearms in national parks as long as they are allowed by state law—and regardless of time of year. It is illegal, however, to discharge those firearms in a national park.
It is also illegal to transport animal parts—such as hides, antlers and meat—across national park land. There are specific regulations that define where an elk carcass can be legally transported across Grand Teton for hunters who have taken an animal during the fall hunt on forest lands adjacent to the park's boundary. And during a specified time in late fall/early winter, there are regulations that hunters must follow when they participate in the elk reduction program, a wildlife management program mandated by Congress in Grand Teton's enabling legislation. Arrotta was in violation of these separate regulatory conditions.
In addition to their many daily and routine duties, each fall park rangers monitor and actively patrol areas where hunters may be accessing national forest lands to ensure compliance with park rules and regulations. Rangers work closely with the Wyoming Game & Fish officers during this unique time when hunt seasons are open on nearby federal lands outside Grand Teton National Park.
Fall-season hunters are reminded that they are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations that apply to their chosen hunt area. Hunters should also know the boundaries of the hunt zone they are using, and only take an animal that is within a legal zone.
Last updated: February 24, 2015