Comment to Stop Montana's New Buffalo Firing Line!
Wild Bison Need More Habitat, Not More Hunting Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission Accepting Comments Through February 13, 2012
Montana's wildlife agency, Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is proposing to extend the use of hunters to kill wild bison that migrate out of so-called tolerance areas north and west of Yellowstone National Park. This proposal - called a "bison management harvest" - is totally separate from Montana's current bison "hunt" season, allowing additional licensed hunters, called upon by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and FWP to shoot buffalo any time of year when they follow their migratory instincts and cross imaginary lines. Like Montana's current bison "hunt," this new proposal would be a boon to the DOL, as they would again be able to use hunters to do their unnecessary and dirty buffalo killing work, under the guise of a "fair chase" hunt.
In addition, FWP's proposal allows for Montana hunters to kill quarantined buffalo that are to be moved to the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations, should they escape confinement. These buffalo - stolen as calves from the wild - have been raised under a domesticated livestock conditions and will be confined for five more years under quarantined conditions once they are moved to these reservations. There is no mention of considering tribal interests anywhere within this proposal.
Ironically, one of FWP's slogans for wildlife in Montana is "Think Habitat," yet when it comes to wild bison in Montana, they turn a blind eye. By contracting hunters to kill buffalo that migrate into "drop dead zones" Montana will not only cause great harm to America's last wild bison population, but also set itself up for another black eye from the American public, much like it did during the 1980's and early 1990's when FWP game wardens literally showed hunters which buffalo to shoot, or shot them themselves. That highly controversial buffalo firing line - quite simply a buffalo extermination practice - was so distasteful and unethical that pressure from the American public ended it. Yet it seems FWP is anxious to repeat its bloody past.
This proposal is now before the FWP Commission and they area accepting public comments through February 13. Of the five FWP Commissioners, only one has spoken out against this proposal. Commissioner Ron Moody has eloquently voices his objections to this proposal because it goes against hunter ethics, and he recognizes the "line of confinement" that the buffalo are subjected to under the Interagency Bison Management Plan. Commissioner Moody says this particular proposal sets hunters up to be "snipers assigned to kill a bison simply because it stepped across a line."
Wild bison are an ecologically extinct native wildlife species, with the last continuously wild population existing in the Yellowstone region. Bison currently occupy less that 1% of their native range. Montana perpetuates their ecological extinction by failing to provide wild buffalo with year-round access to habitat and is a leading participant in the Interagency Bison Management Plan, a livestock industry creation, which mandates the hazing, capturing, slaughtering, quarantining, hunting of wild bison for to placate a tiny but powerful special interest group.
TAKE ACTION! Please edit the sample letter below, and in your own words tell the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission that you strongly oppose the "bison management harvest." Elaborate on the fact that wild bison are a highly vulnerable and ecologically extinct species, prevented from accessing habitat year-round in Montana, and that the Commission should be considering how to naturally restore this treasured and ecologically critical animal throughout Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Tell the Commission that "tolerance" for wild bison in Montana must not be defined by increased killing, but through increased access to habitat. Please also be sure to THANK COMMISSIONER RON MOODY for voicing his opposition to this proposal. Comments are being accepted through February 13, 2012.
Alternately you may send comments on your own to:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission
ATTN: Bison Management Harvest Comments
1420 East 6th Avenue
Helena, MT 59620-0701