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Commission Approves 140 Permits; Ignores Public Comment & Agency Recommendations

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2006

Contact:
Dan Brister, Stephany Seay: (406) 726-5555

Missoula, Montana - Ignoring the concerns of Montanans, citizens across the U.S., and recommendations by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the FWP Commission today approved issuing 140 bison hunting permits for the 2006-2007 season.

FWP biologists and field personnel had recommended a maximum of 100 permits. The majority of public comments received by FWP opposed the bison hunt on the grounds that bison are ecologically extinct in Montana and are provided no habitat in the state without being subjected to hazing, capture, slaughter, quarantine or shooting. Another concern addressed by the public and ignored by the Commission is that the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) remains in charge of the hunt, a conflict of interest.

"This hunt is extremely premature," said Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) spokeswoman Stephany Seay. "Wild bison are ecologically extinct in Montana. The state currently doesn't value bison as a native wildlife species and livestock interests are calling the shots. Bison must be provided year-round habitat and be allowed to recover their native Montana habitat," Seay maintained.

While Buffalo Field Campaign opposes the current bison hunt, the organization would like to see hunters treat bison as fairly as possible and urged the commission to do the following:

  1. Create a "no hunt" buffer zone immediately adjacent to Yellowstone National Park's boundary;

  2. Prohibit hunters from shooting bison at the site of the Duck Creek bison trap (Dale Koelzer's property);

  3. Increase the bison hunting fee with a percentage of fees collected going towards purchase of bison habitat in Montana; 4. Improve hunter education so hunters can better understand bison behavior and also successfully determine the sex of bison.

Following is a breakdown of the seasons approved this morning by the Commission:
North Side (Near Gardiner, MT)
November 15- to Dec. 31: 5 either sex
January 1 to January 16: 5 either sex
January 1 to January 16: 5 cow/calf
January 17 to January 31: 10 either sex
January 17 to January 31 5 cow/calf
February 1 to February 15: 5 either sex
February 1 to February 15: 10 cow/calf
Total North Side: 45 bison (25 either sex, 20 cow/calf)

West Side (Near West Yellowstone, MT)
November 15 to Dec. 31: 20 either sex
January 1 to January 16: 20 either sex
January 1 to January 16: 5 cow/calf
January 17 to January 31: 15 either sex
January 17 to January 31: 10 cow/calf
February 1 to February 15: 15 either sex
February 1 to February 15: 10 cow/calf
Total West Side: 95 bison (70 either sex, 25 cow/calf)

"By approving 95 permits on Yellowstone's western boundary, the Commissioners exhibited their ignorance of bison behavior and on-the-ground conditions," said Dan Brister of the BFC, "Between November and February, when this hunt is planned, few bison cross the boundary into Montana. The Commission today established a shooting range on the Yellowstone border, where hunters will gather to gun down every buffalo that enters Montana. These are the same bison that people from around the world come to admire every summer. This premature hunt will severely degrade the visitor experience and damage the reputation of the great State of Montana."

Numbering fewer than 4,000, the Yellowstone bison comprise America's only continuously wild herd. Bison are a migratory species native to North America and once spanned the continent, numbering between 30 and 50 million.

 
Press Release Archives:

Organized by BFC campaign seasons, which follow buffalo migration patterns each winter.

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BFC's goal is to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone's wild buffalo herds, protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming buffalo and native wildlife, and to work with people of all Nations to honor the sacredness of wild buffalo. learn more yellow 2

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