9am on Thursday, December 16, buffalo advocates will
gather in Helena to protest the so-called buffalo hunt
proposed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP),
at the direction of the Montana Department of Livestock.
In addition to hazing, capturing, testing and slaughtering,
America's last wild buffalo may soon become victim of
a "sport hunt." The FWP Commission will
meet from 8:00-5:00, and make a final decision on their
plan to allow hunters to shoot buffalo that step foot
outside of Yellowstone National Park. Should the
plan be approved, regulations will also be set that
day. Buffalo advocates will protest the hunt as
proposed, and educate people as to why it should not
If this plan is approved, starting January 15, 2005,
buffalo that step foot outside of Yellowstone National
Park would be shot in the field in the only area they
are currently tolerated within the borders of Montana,
the Eagle Creek Special Management Area of the Gallatin
National Forest adjacent to Yellowstone National Park's
The Buffalo Field Campaign opposes the buffalo
as proposed for the following reasons:
1. Buffalo do not have access to habitat
in the state, and are not even respected as a native
wildlife species in Montana; they are aggressively "managed"
by the MT Department of Livestock as a "nuisance
animal in need of disease control."
2. The appropriate agency to manage
Montana's buffalo is Fish, Wildlife and Parks, not the
Department of Livestock.
3. Tribal consultation has not been
sought and should be, while treaty rights must be upheld
before a hunt is considered.
4. Yellowstone buffalo are used to
tens of thousands of Park tourists each year and they
will not be afraid of humans with guns. The element
of fair chase will be completely absent.
"This will not be like hunting deer or elk,
it will be like shooting a couch," said Chris May,
BFC volunteer and subsistence hunter, "Buffalo
aren't going to give fair chase. You'll be able
to walk right up to them and pull the trigger."
The current proposal sets the dangerous precedent of
putting the DOL in charge of hunting buffalo. In the
nine years that the DOL has had authority over wild
buffalo that migrate into Montana from Yellowstone National
Park, 2,784 buffalo have been killed. Countless
others have been hazed and captured by the DOL with
significant consequences to the health of the herd and
those individual buffalo.
Montana's incoming Governor Brian Schweitzer has said
that buffalo will enjoy more tolerance in Montana.
In his statements, Schweitzer said that the DOL is "ill-equipped"
to manage wild buffalo for the State of Montana.
This hunt in no way impacts the supposed threat of brucellosis
transmission, the issue that drives the Interagency
Bison Management Plan. There has never even been a documented
case of brucellosis transmission from wild buffalo to
"This canned hunt is just one more tool in the
DOL's buffalo eradication toolbox," said BFC co-founder
and subsistence hunter Mike Mease. "The livestock
industry is using hunters to do its dirty work, and
is once again ignoring the voice of the Indian people,
hunters and the public. We will not support a
hunt until buffalo are respected as a wildlife species
in Montana, and are allowed to establish a strong, thriving
herd within the state. It's simple: No habitat, no hunt."
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working
in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's
wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on
their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their