Montana's Buffalo Hunt Opens Without Any Buffalo in Montana

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2007

Buffalo Field Campaign, Stephany Seay 406-646-0070

West Yellowstone & Gardiner, Montana - Today marks the opening day for Montana's bison hunt, authorized by the Montana Department of Livestock. Montana has issued 44 tags to kill members of America's last wild bison population that migrate out of Yellowstone National Park into Montana.  It is expected that the Nez Perce as well as Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes will conduct separate buffalo hunts under treaty right.  The state's hunt will continue through February 15, 2008.

There are currently no wild bison in Montana.

Glenn Hockett, President of the Gallatin Wildlife Association, a hunting organization that opposes the current bison hunt and is working to help restore wild bison in Montana had this to say, "Recent reports from Yellowstone National Park indicate there are no bison in the state of Montana for hunters to hunt. I think this points out the flawed nature of this shoot 'em at the border Department of Livestock led "hunt" with no year round habitat."

Wild American bison, while native to vast expanses of North America, are granted no year-round habitat in Montana. There is never a time that wild bison are allowed to be in the state without being subjected to harassment, capture, slaughter, quarantine, or shooting. Wild bison are ecologically extinct everywhere outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Montana's bison hunt is not authorized by the state's wildlife agency Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, but by the Montana Department of Livestock, an agency that promotes cattle interests.

"I don't think most people understand that only the Department of Livestock can authorize the hunting of wild bison in Montana, and their goal is no bison left standing in Montana," said Glenn Hockett.

"Allowing the Department of Livestock to have authority over the management of wild bison or any wildlife species is a clear conflict of interest," said Buffalo Field Campaign spokeswoman Stephany Seay.  "They have no interest whatsoever in wild bison or their habitat, and you may as well put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house."

Fewer than 4,700 continuously wild American bison exist in the United States; all reside in Yellowstone National Park. A joint state-federal agreement signed in 2000, the Interagency Bison Management Plan prohibits wild bison from migrating to lands outside of the Park and maintains a zero population of wild bison in Montana in an effort to benefit cattle interests who claim they fear the spread of the livestock disease brucellosis from wild bison to cattle.  There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle.

Buffalo Field Campaign strongly opposes Montana's bison hunt as well as the Interagency Bison Management Plan. BFC maintains that wild bison should be allowed to naturally and fully restore themselves throughout their native range, especially on public lands, and must be managed as a valued native wildlife species by wildlife professionals, not cattle interests.

"Our position on the hunt is clear," said Buffalo Field Campaign's cofounder and subsistence hunter Mike Mease, "No habitat, No hunt."
2,018 wild American bison have been killed or otherwise removed from the remaining wild population in Yellowstone since 2000 under actions carried out by the Interagency Bison Management Plan, as well as state and treaty right hunts.

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo.  Volunteers defend the buffalo and their native habitat and advocate for their lasting protection.