For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Stephany Seay 406-646-0070
West Yellowstone, Montana - This morning on the Horse Butte Peninsula, BFC volunteers documented a Montana bison tag holder illegally shooting a bull bison on private property where hunting is prohibited. The hunter shot the bull less than 150 yards from two nearby residences, which may be prohibited under Montana regulations.
The hunter attempted to access one of three bull bison from the Munz property, adjacent to Yellowstone Village & Estates. The hunter said he had received permission the night before to shoot a buffalo on the Munz property. Three shots were fired while the bulls and the hunter were on the Munz property. The fourth shot was taken after the bull had entered Cook's Meadow, an area where it is illegal to hunt or trespass.
Buffalo Field Campaign video footage clearly documented that the hunter had taken illegal actions.
Residents of the West Yellowstone housing area have spoken with numerous hunters, informing them that hunting is strictly prohibited in their community. Residents have posted numerous "no hunting" and "buffalo safe zone" signs throughout the neighborhood.
"We've made it well-known that it's illegal to shoot bison in this neighborhood," said Ed Millspaugh, President of the Yellowstone Estates Homeowners Association. "I want this hunter prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Fewer than three bison are outside of Yellowstone's western boundary, wintering within a West Yellowstone housing area where they are welcome by residents. During the most recently completed phase of the West Yellowstone bison hunt, which ended on the 16th of January, the lack of bison in Montana resulted in 24 out of 25 hunters being unable to fill their tags.
"Hunters are being had by the State," said BFC's Stephany Seay. "Montana has issued permits to kill wild animals that aren't even here. The hunting community should direct their frustration toward Governor Schweitzer and FWP, and demand year-round habitat for wild bison in Montana."
Wild bison are native to Montana yet ecologically extinct everywhere outside of Yellowstone National Park. Montana provides no year-round habitat for bison. Bison management currently falls under authority of the Montana Department of Livestock, who, with state and federal assistance, manages them as a nuisance animal. Once hunting season ends, wild bison will be subjected to harassment, capture, slaughter or quarantine.
There is never a time when wild bison are allowed in the state without being molested.
Buffalo Field Campaign opposes Montana's bison hunt. BFC maintains that habitat should come prior to a hunt and calls on the state of Montana to provide year-round habitat for wild bison and allow bison to restore a viable population on public lands in Montana.
American Bison once spanned the continent, numbering between 30 and 50 million. The Yellowstone bison are America's only continuously wild, genetically unique herd, numbering fewer than 4,000 animals, less than .01 percent of the bison's former population.
1,871 bison have been killed since 2000 under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. Last winter Federal and State agencies killed or authorized the killing of more than 1,010 bison. So far this winter two bison were captured and sent to slaughter by Montana Department of Livestock agents and hunters have killed 27.
Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) 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.