For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2005
Stephany Seay or Dan Brister 406-646-0070
Who: Buffalo Field Campaign representatives will hold a press conference and be available for interviews on the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission's decision regarding the buffalo hunt.
What: The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission (FWP) will meet to revisit the previously approved bison hunt. The commission, comprised of three new members appointed Thursday by Governor Schweitzer and two incumbent commissioners, is expected to cancel this year's hunt.
When: Monday, 1/9/05. The conference will be held immediately following the FWP commission's decision on the buffalo hunt.
Where: FWP headquarters, 6th Street, Helena, Montana
Why: The Buffalo Field Campaign opposes the buffalo hunt as approved by former FWP committee for the following reasons:
- 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."
- The appropriate agency to manage Montana's buffalo is Fish, Wildlife and Parks, not the Department of Livestock.
- Tribal consultation was not sought, and treaty rights are not being upheld.
- 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, "You'll be able to walk right up to them and pull the trigger. The element of fair chase will be non-existent, I couldn't call myself a hunter if I took part in this buffalo shoot."
Montana's new 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 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 protection.