For Immediate Release:
November 28, 2005
Stephany Seay, Dan Brister: (406) 726-5555
Gardiner, Montana - 104 buffalo were chased from Montana into Yellowstone National Park this morning in an operation led by the National Park Service. The bison were migrating north along the west side of the Yellowstone River and entered Montana, where a zero-tolerance bison policy is enforced year-round.
"Buffalo are never allowed in the state without being threatened with harassment or death," said BFC Project Director Dan Brister, ""Even as the hunt is underway, the agencies are conducting hazing operations. Imagine the outcry if federal agents chased elk from their native range at the height of elk season."
On Friday, November 25, hunters shot two bull bison, members of America's only continuously wild herd. One of the hunters, a woman from Bozeman, shot a buffalo while it was bedded down.
Kathleen Stachowski, a Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) board member who documented both kills on Friday, questioned the integrity of one of the hunters, "She shot him while he was lying down," she said. "He never even had the chance to stand up. How can the state honestly call this a 'fair-chase' hunt?"
The Buffalo Field Campaign opposes Montana's bison hunt because buffalo have no protected habitat in Montana and are never allowed in the state without being captured, shot, or harassed.
These recent actions are the result of Montana's zero-tolerance policy against wild bison. The state justifies its stance on the unfounded fear that bison may transmit brucellosis, a European livestock disease, to cattle. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock. All eight bison hunted this year have been bulls, which pose no risk of transmitting the bacteria.
"These two incidents, though seemingly separate, demonstrate Montana's unwillingness to allow native bison to exist within our borders," said Stephany Seay of BFC, a wild bison advocacy group based in West Yellowstone and Gardiner.
A total of ten wild bull bison have been killed in Montana this fall. Eight have been shot by Montana hunters and two by Montana's Department of Livestock. In the past ten years the state of Montana and the federal government have killed 2,468 wild Yellowstone bison.
Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their native habitat and advocate for their protection.