Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan was right to call for a public elk hunt as a "common sense" solution. This is doubly true as hunters would certainly be effective in culling the herd, as well as contributing to the public coffers. Perhaps in the form of a hunting tag lottery, like Pennsylvania has for its elk herd.
The Times opines, without setting out a foundation, that sharpshooters are a safer and less expensive way to limit the herd, as they will only take cows, and hunters mostly take bulls. But this begs the question of what limits would be placed upon a public hunt. Maybe the bag limits would require cows only.
I also think that paying people to do something that other people will pay for the privilege of completely undermines the argument that using professional sharpshooters would be cheaper. Rather, it lays bare the Times' opinion as meritless.
Additionally, what would be done with the meat of these professionally culled elk was not even raised by the Times. But any self respecting hunter would make sure they harvested at least some of the meat [elk are rather huge, so packing out 400-500 lbs of meat may not be realistic].
So lets give a cheer to Senator Dorgan for his common sense, and a jeer to the Times for its lack thereof.