Nez Perce bison hunter struck by stray bullet

Billings Gazette

A Nez Perce hunter was grazed by another hunter’s bullet on Tuesday while field dressing a bison outside Gardiner during a tribal hunt.

Details of the incident were made public on Wednesday by Buffalo Field Campaign, a nonprofit bison advocacy group, in a newsletter. On Thursday the group provided more information and photos of the injury.

According to a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesperson, an accident was reported and is under investigation.

The BFC press release included a statement from Mary Jane Oatman, mother of the man who was accidentally shot. Oatman demanded a federal investigation into the incident, adding, “Had the tables been turned, I can almost guarantee that my son would be locked up in Park County on some sort of charges. My family is just glad that he’s okay. My son honestly feels like he took a bullet for the entire Nimiipuu Nation.”

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Buffalo Field Campaign highlighted the incident as “clearly foreseeable” given the nature of bison hunts conducted in Montana as Yellowstone National Park bison migrate out of the park in winter. Hunting is allowed only in narrow areas near the park

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