First Bison Killed Takes Four Shots, Forty Five Minutes to Die

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2005

Stephany Seay, 406-646-0070

Gardiner, Montana - A bull bison was shot early this morning in the Eagle Creek Special Management Area near Gardiner just outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. The bison was shot from a distance of twenty yards. It took at least four shots and more than forty-five minutes for the animal to die.

The bull bison was among a group of five grazing just outside Yellowstone National Park. Numerous media representatives were present, but the Buffalo Field Campaign was the only organization positioned to document the incident.

"Montana has been trying to sell this as a fair-chase, humane hunt. As we documented this morning, it is neither. Buffalo have evolved to face danger and rarely run from predators," said Mike Mease, a subsistence hunter and co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "It took five shots and forty five minutes to finally kill this bull, how humane is that?"

After the bull was shot and dying, the remaining bulls approached their fallen herd member, and the four hunters attempted to frighten the bison away by throwing rocks at them. This went on for approximately 30 minutes before the bison moved away. While the hunters began gutting the carcass, the four bulls returned to the dead bison and the hunters resumed throwing rocks.

Montana's controversial bison hunt, authorized by the Montana Department of Livestock, is the first to take place in 15 years. The hunt was cancelled in 1990 in response to a national public outcry. Another attempt by Montana to reinstate the bison hunt in early 2004 also failed due to public pressure.

"This bison hunt is truly tasteless because in Montana, unlike deer and elk, bison are not even respected nor managed as a wildlife species and are not allowed to set foot within the state's borders without being molested," said Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign, a wild bison advocacy group composed of hunters and non-hunters alike.

This is the third bison bull killed by Montana this fall. In September, agents from the Montana Department of Livestock shot two bulls near West Yellowstone.

Montana's zero-tolerance policy for wild bison is blamed on the fear that bison may transmit brucellosis, a European livestock disease given to native wildlife by livestock. There has never been a documented case of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle. Further, bulls cannot transmit the disease, yet Montana insists on killing them regardless.

"For some, Montana is the Last Best Place, but for America's last wild bison it is simply the last place," said Josh Osher of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer has said that 'wild bison will enjoy more tolerance in Montana,' yet so far the state's only tolerance has been a bullet to the head." Osher said.

The wild bison of the Greater Yellowstone Area are the last wild and genetically pure buffalo left in the country. The Buffalo Field Campaign opposes Montana's bison hunt because the state holds a zero-tolerance policy for wild bison. Bison are not considered a wildlife species by the state, are granted no habitat within Montana's borders, and are managed by the state's Department of Livestock. The Buffalo Field Campaign also questions the ethics of the bison hunt because buffalo do not give "fair chase" like deer or elk.

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.