Bison reintroduced to Montana prairie, and hunted near Yellowstone

Oh give us a home where the buffalo rooooaaam … Forgive us, we’re inspired: Even as we sing, 16 bison are being released onto about 30,000 acres of their ancestral Montana prairie in an attempt to reintroduce the species in the wild there. It’s just one of several collaborative projects aiming to return the Great Plains to ecological balance and replace the region’s faltering agricultural economy and shrinking population with ecotourism and jobs centered around wildlife. Even some major critics of restoration plans have come around. “I had to eat crow,” said J. Michael Hayden, former Kansas governor and now the state’s secretary of wildlife and parks. Restoration advocates “made a bunch of predictions about [human] out-migration from the Great Plains, and they came true.” And yet, it’s a confusing time to be a bison in Montana. Earlier this week, the state renewed a controversial hunt for wild bison that wander outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park — one’s been killed already, and up to 49 more could be by the end of the season.