Two bison cows and one calf were wounded during the Montana bison hunt today on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park.
Bison hunters here in Gardiner gather at Beattie Gulch, just over the boundary line of Yellowstone National Park. Once the bison cross that invisible border, they can be legally hunted.
This afternoon, two cows and one calf were wounded by gunshots during the hunt. The three injured animals ran with their herd back into Yellowstone, where hunting is not allowed. Rangers tried to find the animals and put them down, but at this time only two of the three wounded bison had been killed.
“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.
For Montana Public Radio, I’m Amy Martin.