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HELENA - Montana's bison hunting season and quotas for 2008 would be the same as in 2007 under rules tentatively supported by state wildlife commissioners.

Their action Thursday triggers a series of public hearings before the commission makes a final decision on the 2008 season. Bison hunted in Montana have entered the state from Yellowstone National Park.

The Gallatin Wildlife Association in Bozeman is asking that Montana not have a bison hunt this year. The association, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, say Yellowstone's population fell from 4,700 bison to 2,000 during the past year, largely due to slaughter under a state and federal bison management plan.

The association says 2,000 is a perilously low number.

State officials say 166 bison were reported killed in the 2007 hunt. Sixty-three were shot by people with state licenses, and 103 by people with tribal licenses.

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