It's Opening Day for Montana's Bison Hunt
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
BFC, Stephany Seay 406-646-0070
West Yellowstone & Gardiner, Montana - Today marks the opening day of Montana's bison hunt. America's last wild herd, the Yellowstone bison are enjoyed and admired by millions of national park visitors, yet between today and February 15 they will be targets for gunners along Park borders. Montana has issued 140 permits to kill Yellowstone bison that enter the state.
A bull bison was shot this morning along the Madison River, less than a quarter of a mile from the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Another bull was killed just outside of the Park's northern boundary, near Gardiner.
Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) a Montana-based wild bison advocacy group that opposes the current bison management will be monitoring and documenting the hunt. BFC aims to educate hunters regarding the extreme mismanagement of the Yellowstone bison and bolster support for bison conservation in Montana.
"Our position is clear," said Mike Mease, BFC co-founder, "No habitat, no hunt."
Wild bison are ecologically extinct in Montana and through a joint state-federal agency plan are subjected to harassment or death any time they enter the state. Montana is a critical part of the bison's native habitat.
The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) is the authorizing agency of the hunt, yet this agency lacks any training in or knowledge of wildlife management. The DOL was authorized to harass bison up to a week before the hunt began. Last year the DOL cancelled the bison hunt to harass a group of 40 bison that were within the hunting zone. Their actions caused 14 bison to fall through the ice of Hebgen Lake. Two bison drowned; the rest were eventually sent to slaughter.
BFC strongly opposes the current bison hunt and calls on Montana to provide substantial habitat throughout state, allowing bison to establish a viable resident population. BFC also calls for stripping the DOL of any and all bison management authority.
"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 range," Seay maintained.
American Bison once spanned the continent, numbering between 30 and 50 million. The Yellowstone bison are America's only continuously wild herd, numbering fewer than 4,000 animals, diminished to less than .01 percent of the bison's former population.