Three bison wounded at the Yellowstone-Montana boundary have wandered back into the Park.
Earlier this week two bison cows and a calf were congregating near Beattie Gulch, a popular place for hunters to gather. According to Montana Public Radio, the animals were hit with gunshot during the hunt and later rushed back into Yellowstone National Park along with their herd. Rangers have gone in to find the wounded animals and put them down. As of writing, only two of the three bison have been put down. From MTPR:
“It’s unfortunate but it does happen. It happens with other species throughout the year, as well, too.”
Brian Helms is a Yellowstone National Park ranger.
“It’s just the nature of the beast hunting that close to a national park boundary.”
The bison hunt has been criticized by many groups for violating fair chase ethics. Sam Estrada of the Buffalo Field Campaign calls it “a canned hunt.”
“I mean any animal that we hunt – elk, deer – are all truly wild, and can go where they want. But we’re hunting an animal here that doesn’t even have the opportunity to roam like a wild animal should,” says Estrada.
Several different Native American tribes and the State of Montana are currently running bison hunts in the Gardiner basin. It is unclear exactly which hunters fired the shots which wounded the animals today.
The season originally began in November, when 72 hunters (out of over 10,420 applicants) were awarded licenses. The hunt is currently slated to end February 15, which coincides with the start of the trapping season.
As previously reported, the partner agencies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan are hoping 600-1000 bison are culled or hunted, in order to curb population growth to a “manageable” limit. Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk has commented on the IBMP’s future, saying he would prefer to curtail culling/trapping in favor of hunting.