A bull bison looks up from his grazing to see who is admiring him. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
BFC patrols in Gardiner saved the life of a bull buffalo Tuesday, when a 15-year old boy came out to shoot one of the few shaggy giants moving in and out of Montana.
With the help of accompanying adults, the youth found three bulls about 20 feet off of the Old Yellowstone Trail, a north-south gravel road which follows the Yellowstone River through the Gardiner Basin. This public road winds through northern portions of Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest, and Church Universal and Triumphant land. BFC patrols noticed that the hunter had his rifle resting on the truck, aiming at one of the bulls. In Montana, it is illegal to shoot from your vehicle, across a road, or within 150 feet of a road, and it is every hunter's responsibility to know this. BFC patrols informed the hunter of this in time to prevent his shot. The hunt party then attempted to chase the bulls to where he could be shot. They succeeded in chasing him onto private land, where no hunting is allowed, and he lived to see another day.
Three bull buffalo stroll north down Old Yellowstone Trail. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
The party returned the following day and again attempted to chase the bulls into an area where they could shoot one. The bulls took off, running across the Corwin Springs bridge toward the Corwin Springs facility, where bison are being held captive by APHIS for their controversial birth control project. Ironically, a familiar Montana Department of Livestock truck arrived, likely to haze the bulls away from their imprisoned relatives. The bulls saw the DOL's truck and wasted no time heading into Yellowstone National Park, where they are safe from hunters and the DOL.
With word out that a handful of buffalo have been emerging into the Gardiner Basin, in and out of huntable areas, hunters are beginning to swarm in. But, as of this writing, there are no wild buffalo in Montana that hunters can kill.
We are so grateful to our patrols for being there, determining that an illegal kill was about to be made, and taking action to save the life of this bull, and likely his two companions. This incident demonstrates how critical it is for us to be in the field with the buffalo. Had BFC not been there, the young boy would certainly have made the shot. Thank you all for making it possible for us to be on the front lines with the buffalo -- because of you, we were able to save a buffalo's life.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!