Judge Mulling Request To Address Yellowstone National Park's Wandering Bison

Bison were forced to ford the Madison River earlier this spring during operations to haze them back into Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo Field Campaign photo.

When last we left the issue of free-roaming bison in Yellowstone National Park, there was controversy over how the animals were being "hazed" back into the park from a place called the Horse Butte Peninsula in Montana. Now the Montana Stockgrowers Association has gone to court to force the hazing to follow a more rigid schedule, even though no cattle are grazed on the land in question.

In a somewhat interesting twist on how sides in this sort of case break down, environmental organizations were teamed with the Montana Department of Livestock earlier this week during a hearing over the Interagency Bison Management Plan requirement that bison be off the peninsula by May 15. While the livestock department views that as sort of "soft" deadline to meet, the stockgrowers association wants it adhered to.

Another irony of this debate is that no cattle are grazed on the peninsula, and so there's no chance that any bison infected with brucellosis, a disease that can cause the spontaneous abortion of fetuses in cattle, can be transmitted to cattle. Additionally, there has been no documented case of a bison-to-cattle transmission, although there have been suspected transmissions from elk to livestock.

The judge took the matter under consideration.

Comments

I've never heard anyone say they wanted to visit the state of Montana to see cattle but apparently (again) the Montana Livestock Assos proves they will not be happy until the wildlife (especially the ones who eat grasses) are gone and they have total control of the lands (even though most of it belongs to all of us Americans).

Two bits of news ... I was away in the Bechler region of Yellowstone the last couple days and am only now just seeing this ...

Buffalo Field Campaign has reported a buffalo from Yellowstone killed in Idaho this week by an APHIS employee.

Secondly, as I said, I was in the SW corner of the park, and on my way to a hike along the Western Boundary Trail in Idaho - which begins at the Bechler Ranger Station, I saw three cows (cattle) inside the park boundaries between the boundary and the ranger station. I don't recall any news about them, how they were hazed out of the park, or shipped to slaughter. I doubt a lot of tourists realize that cows can wander into Yellowstone National Park, but buffalo cannot go to cowless areas of Montana (or anywhere in Idaho).

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World