Posts Tagged ‘brett french’
Thanks to a quick, mild winter, few of the bison that normally migrate out of Yellowstone National Park haven’t traveled beyond the park’s boundaries this year.
That means Native hunters have had few opportunities to bag the beasts, as Brett French of the Billings Gazette reports.
As a result, Nez Perce tribal members who have driven hundreds of miles from Idaho to hunt bison have chosen instead to shoot elk outside the park’s northern boundary near Gardiner, as allowed under their treaty rights, rather than go home with no meat.
That hunting season ended Saturday. Some are worried that the hunts have eaten away at an elk herd with already dwindling numbers, which some say is due to wolf introduction.
Chris Kelly said tribal members are killing elk from an already severely depressed Northern Yellowstone herd. At last count in December, the herd numbered just over 4,600, a drop from their peak of 19,000 decades earlier. Numbers from this year have not yet been compiled; the count was taken Wednesday.
. . .
Bill Hoppe, a Gardiner hunting outfitter who lives on Eagle Creek near where the elk have been shot recently, said there’s no point in complaining about the situation.
“They can kiss this northern herd goodbye,” he said. “I don’t see any way they can come back.”
Hoppe said he has seen around 70 bull elk cross the road near his house this entire winter, compared with 100 bulls in one group before wolves were reintroduced.