The Bad News-* Update from the Field
A bull buffalo was shot yesterday on Horse Butte. For a few weeks he had maintained a space for himself outside of the hunt zone, in the buffalo-friendly Yellowstone Village housing area. The last time we saw him alive he was bedded down inside Montana's largest "buffalo safe zone" on the Galanis property. I can still see his wooly head and horns just peaking over a small rise, hoping that he would keep refuge there, but knowing that buffalo will go where they choose, even if the consequences are fatal. The Galanis property borders Gallatin National Forest land which is in the hunt zone; once he stepped across that imaginary line he became a target and was killed.
It feels as if something has been stolen from the landscape; the bullet extinguished his beneficial and majestic presence, further diminishing the wild bison gene pool by yet another senseless killing of a species moving toward extinction. The Montana Department of Livestock has manipulated wildlife management so severely that hunters are blindly doing some of the killing for them. They call it a hunt but to me it looks more like just another way to kill buffalo that step into Montana. Wild bison still have no year-round habitat in Montana and they are ecologically extinct through most of their native range. Hunting wild bison is extremely premature and bison need to be given the opportunity to recover as a wildlife species in Montana before a hunt can be deemed fair, sustainable, or even ethical.
Snow has been slow to come this season, and we hope that means fewer buffalo will need to make the journey into Montana while the hunt is underway. For those that do, we will be watching over them, and while we cannot stop the bullet, we can give all we have to help change hearts and minds.
~Stephany, Buffalo Field Campaign