Montana Lawmakers Pass Bison Hunt Bill

In April the Montana Senate and House of Representatives approved a bill that would allow that states Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to create a limited hunt of bison targeting those animals that stray out of Yellowstone National Park.

Before approving the bill, legislators removed a provision that would have prevented out-of-state hunters from taking part in such a hunt, and set the price for bison tags at $75 for Montana residents and $750 for out-of-state hunters. The hunt is motivated in part by the fact that bison in Yellowstone carry the bovine disease brucellosis which some fear could spread to cattle in that state.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener told the Billings Gazette that if the bill is signed into law by Montana Governor Judy Martz, any hunt is still at least a year away.

The Fund for Animals was quick with a press release decrying the proposed hunt. According to a Fund for Animals press release,

Hunting bison allegedly for disease control purposes lacks scientific basis. Given that there has never been a documented case of bison transmitting the disease brucellosis to livestock in the wild, there is no justification for hunting bison for disease “management.” To claim otherwise, is to mislead the public and to cave in to the unsubstantiated fears of the livestock industry.

The Fund is apparently planning to launch a tourist boycott of Montana if the bison hunt resumes.

Sources:

Fund for Animals Alert, April 9, 2003.

Panel OKs opening bison hunt. Jennifer McKee, Billings Gazette, April 17, 2003.

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