Monday, October 17, 2005

Buffalo Pal

In this article from the NY Times critics are complaining about a buffalo hunt to take place in Montana. In short:
  1. Buffalo live in Yellow Stone, but, as the song implies, "where the buffalo roam", they don't stay put. Also, Yellow Stone can only support so many buffalo before there isn't enough food.
  2. Buffalo carry a diseas that cattle can catch. Montana could loose it's disease-free status if there is a chance of contagion.
  3. To control the buffalo population, Montana is allowing a hunt and trying to make the hunt fair.
  4. These buffalo aren't afraid of people, thus a hunt isn't really a hunt because the buffalo won't hide (where would something like that hide anyway) and won't run away.
Stupid question, but how are they going to learn to avoid people if they aren't hunted?

Having a one ton wild animal that isn't afraid of people seems to be asking for trouble. (Although, it isn't as big a problem as a preditor that isn't afraid of people.) Unless the buffalos' fear leads them to charge unsuspecting tourists, I don't see why there is an issue with making the hunt fair. As far as I can tell, the hunters aren't going to leave rotting carcases about; they are going to eat their kill. Why is this any more of an issue than buying a buffalo steak at the supermarket? I don't know what an alternate would be other than having game wardens shoot the buffalo humanely (and then have a barbeque).

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