Today's Bozeman Chronicle reports that the state Fish, Wildlfe and Parks Commission endorsed a plan to increase the number of bison hunting licenses for the second time this summer. Whereas last year only 50 licenses were issued to hunters who wish to shoot bison that come into Montana from Yellowston National Park, it looks like the state will issue 140 this year. The increase appears to be motivated by a genuine concern about increased bison populations and brucellosis, a disease some bison carry that can infect cattle herds. Among other things, the news story reports that a greater percentage of the licensies will be for bison cows, a move that makes sense for keeping the population in check, but not for satisfying would-be trophy hunters who much prefer to hunt the males. At present Yellowstone's bison population is 15-20 percent larger than what the federal government believes is ideal. While the bison population is up, the elk population is way down, due in part to the successful reintroduciton of wolves into the Yellowstone area. Thus, a few hunters who would prefer to hunt elk, may get the opportunity to go after bison instead.
Bison Hunt to Increase: