The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has no immediate plans to suspend the use of licensed hunters to kill diseased buffalo leaving Yellowstone National Park, Director K.L. Cool said Friday.

However, Cool said the department is continuing to grapple with alternatives to the controversial hunt, which he has characterized as akin to "shooting cattle in a feed yard."Cool, in an interview, denied an article in this morning's Denver Post suggesting Montana may announce a decision at a Fish and Game Commission meeting Friday to suspend the buffalo hunt.

The article referred to dwindling support from sportsmen's organizations and a lawsuit filed by the Fund for Animals seeking to stop the hunt.

"There are no plans" to halt the hunt, Cool said. "The state is committed by law to controlling the problem and, yes, we're committed until the law changes or Yellowstone changes its policy."

He said neither the pending federal lawsuit nor the adverse publicity stinging wildlife groups has any direct bearing on the use of hunters.

Buffalo from Yellowstone are known carriers of brucellosis, a disease that causes domestic cattle to abort their young.

Cool's department is under orders from the Montana Legislature to keep diseased buffalo from reinfecting cattle herds now certified as brucellosis-free.

Cool said the department would not ask the commission during Friday's meeting to end the hunt but would discuss alternative control strategies.