For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2005
Stephany Seay or Dan Brister, 406-646-0070
Gardiner, Montana - At approximately 1:45 this afternoon, another wild bull bison that migrated into Montana from Yellowstone National Park was shot and killed by a hunter. The bison was shot inside the Eagle Creek Special Management Area, National Forest land just outside Yellowstone National Park.
"We oppose this hunt because bison have no protected habitat in Montana and are never allowed to set foot within the state without being hazed, captured, or shot," said Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign, a wild bison advocacy group composed of hunters and non-hunters alike. "As soon as this hunting season ends, the Department of Livestock will resume its incessant policy of harassing and slaughtering any bison in Montana."
This is the fifth bison bull killed in Montana this fall. In September, agents from the Montana Department of Livestock shot two bulls near West Yellowstone. On the hunt's opening day two bison bulls were killed.
Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers documented today's kill and while other media outlets were present, the bison advocacy group was the only one to get video footage.
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 wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock. Further, bulls cannot transmit the disease, yet Montana insists on killing them regardless. In the past ten years the state of Montana and the federal government have killed 2,463 Yellowstone buffalo.
"The Department of Livestock is using hunters to do its dirty work, and is once again ignoring the voice of the Indian people, hunters and the public," said BFC co-founder and subsistence hunter Mike Mease. "We will not support a hunt until buffalo are respected as a wildlife species in Montana, and are allowed to establish a strong, thriving herd within the state. It's simple: No habitat, no hunt."
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 of the state's 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.
"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," said Josh Osher of the Buffalo Field Campaign said.
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.