Hunters Take Aim in Wyoming

Hunters look to thin once-endangered population
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2007 4:20 PM CDT
A cowboy rides along the buffalo herd as it is brought toward the corrals during the 39th annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup in this Oct. 4, 2004, file photo taken near Custer, S.D. The North American...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hunters take aim at a symbol of the American West today, as Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge opens the first buffalo season in almost a decade. Officials say they need to lower the population from 1,200 to 500 because of overgrazing and disease. But killing the once-endangered species has animal groups and locals up in arms, Reuters reports.

Upscale residents fear that the plan will scare away wildlife-loving tourists. Animal rights activists also decry the hunting: “Hunting these bison is like hunting parked cars,” says a Humane Society rep. Officials argue that they love the buffalo but have to make unpopular choices; recent fires and droughts are forcing species to compete for dwindling food sources.