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March 22, 2013

Yellowstone bison hunt takes most since '89

(Continued)

BILLINGS, Mont. —

The state is fighting the lawsuit, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has come out against the zero tolerance measure.

Wildlife officials say the proposal harkens back to the late 1980s, when the state actively encouraged hunters to kill every bison that crossed the Montana line.

That resulted in a record 489 bison killed in 1989. It also trigged an international outcry that led to the cancellation of bison hunting until it resumed on 2005.

The hunts since then have been more closely regulated.

"Our goal was to as much as possible manage the population level through hunting as opposed to other means," said Pat Flowers, the Yellowstone region supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "If we can have a more consistent removal out of the park, we can get the population back down near the target of 3,000 to 3,500 bison."

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