For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2005
Stephany Seay, Dan Brister: (406) 726-5555
Gardiner, Montana - Since last Tuesday, November 29, Montana's new bison hunt resulted in the deaths of six more of America's last wild buffalo. Five of the bulls were killed near Gardiner, Montana, directly adjacent to Yellowstone National Park and one was killed near West Yellowstone. The Gardiner region is part of the largest wildlife migration corridor in North America.
"Montana has put the cart before the horse with this hunt," said Stephany Seay of the wild bison advocacy group Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC). "Wild bison must be provided habitat within Montana's borders, must be respected as a native wildlife species, and must be managed by the state's wildlife agency before a hunt can be considered legitimate."
On Tuesday, November 29, a bull bison was killed by a hunter on the Horse Butte peninsula--the buffalo's chosen calving grounds near West Yellowstone. The rest of the kills have been in Gardiner. On Friday, December 2, a hunter shot a bull bison.
On Saturday, December 3, hunters killed three more bull bison. One of the hunters was a twelve-year old boy who, with his father's help, took approximately three hours to kill the bison from the first shot to the fourth and final bullet. Another bull bison was killed this morning.
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.
"Buffalo are never allowed in the state without being threatened with harassment or death," said BFC Project Director Dan Brister, "The DOL is the authorizing agency of this canned hunt and their only interest is in protecting Montana's livestock industry. Hunters are being used to do the DOL's dirty work of ridding the landscape of wild buffalo."
The actions taken against the country's last wild buffalo 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 fourteen bison hunted this year have been bulls, which pose no risk of transmitting the bacteria.
A total of seventeen wild bull bison have been killed in Montana this fall. Fourteen have been shot by Montana hunters, two by Montana's Department of Livestock, and another bull was shot by a Yellowstone National Park ranger within Park boundaries. In the past ten years the state of Montana and the federal government have killed 2,474 wild Yellowstone bison, more than half of the existing herd.
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.