- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The number of licenses to hunt bison that wander into Montana from Yellowstone National Park this winter will almost triple from last season, state wildlife commissioners decided last week.

In June, the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission endorsed a tentative plan to authorize 100 licenses, double last season’s number. Last week, they added 40.

The increase will focus on bison cows, making the hunt more of a herd management tool “rather than just tipping them over for trophies,” Commissioner Shane Colton said.

Activists opposed to any hunting of Yellowstone bison condemned the decision. “If you want a public-relations nightmare, I think you’re moving in the right direction,” said Dan Brister of the Buffalo Field Campaign.

The state considers the hunt part of a plan to manage bison that migrate from Yellowstone and may carry the cattle disease brucellosis. Some ranchers fear wandering bison will spread the disease to cattle in Montana.

In March, Yellowstone officials estimated the park’s bison herd at 3,500 animals. In the bison management plan, 3,000 is the target population size.

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