Montana’s Massive Bison Hunt Requires Colossal Carnage Cleanup
This is definitely one of those subjects that Montana hunters find themselves at odds over.
Questions are raised about whether this is even considered the "sport" of hunting, or if non-tribal members should even be a part of it. But this story is more focused on what might be considered an unintended consequence of so much success this season. And maybe not fit for the squeamish.
My friend Brett French, the outdoor editor for the Billings Gazette, tells us that the harvest of bison north of Yellowstone National Park this winter has been so successful, that massive amounts of entrails were starting to pile up, left behind by hunters after field-dressing these enormous animals.
Brett says that last week, state and federal agencies teamed up to haul off one trailer load and three dumpsters full of hides, bones and guts. Most of the cleanup was done in the Gardiner, Montana, area, as the hunting of bison is permitted as soon as the animals leave the boundaries of Yellowstone Park. There likely was a rush put on the request, with the oncoming spring thaw.
With the staggering influx of tourism to Yellowstone in the warmer weather months, these are animals that are used to seeing people, therefore much less apprehensive about their presence. And because Montana has dealt with exceptionally severe winter weather this year, it has been the largest migrations of bison out of the park in the last 10 years.
THE NUMBERS TELL THE TALE
More than 900 Yellowstone National Park bison have been shot this winter. The majority of the bison (approximately 825) were taken by hunters from Native American tribes with treaty rights. As a side note to the harsh winter conditions, Brett French included an excerpt from a Wyoming Fish and Game release, explaining how the winter is taking a toll on a number of wildlife species, especially young-of-year mule deer and pronghorns. The news release also pointed out that those die-offs could affect hunting regulations in some areas of Wyoming.
More details from Brett French's article can be found here.
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