Open season

IN ACTION: Buffalo Bill. PHOTO: AP  

"Buffalo Bill" is back. It's open season on the Plains bison, often called buffalo in North America. In a controversial decision, Montana has resumed bison hunting, which was responsible for sending the animal close to extinction. The season opened on November 15 and will allow up to 50 bison to be shot in a three-month period. Bison hunting was banned in 1991 after protests and tourist boycotts. A 17-year-old fired the first shot. An animal rights activist who filmed the shooting said that the bison died after about 45 minutes and "four additional bullets". In the beginning of the 20th Century there were only 23 bison but the number now is close to 5,000. Despite additional security arrangements to protect hunters from harassment, few turned up, a move attributed to the desire to avoid the "opening day circus". Alaska, Utah, South Dakota, Qyoming and Arizona also allow bison hunting.

Complied by R. KIRTHIKA