The various bison killing agencies have announced they will kill no more bison around Yellowstone this spring.  They did not mention whether they would haze the starving animals off of greening areas such as Horse Butte.

They indicated that although the number had been cut in half, there would be no problem regenerating the herd sizes.

It’s easy to see they regard bison as generic animals where knowledge possessed by the heads, age structure, or genetic diversity are of no consequence.

Story. Officials halt bison slaughter. By Brett French.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

24 Responses to Officials halt bison slaughter

  1. I was in Yellowstone this weekend. As far as buffalo, I saw a small group just to the north of Gardiner on the road. I saw another couple inside of Gardiner and a few near the arch.

    Along the Firehole and Nez Perce Creek, I saw probably 100 more in small herd units scattered across the wide plains or in the geyser areas, especially in the Lower Geyser Basin.

    I saw a couple dozen more buffalo along the Madison.

    With many of the groups, I saw calves. The grass situation is definitely improving with each passing day, and the weather is warming up.

    As depressing as this winter has been, it was refreshing to see those who made it through the winter.

    And, of course, when you talk with people visiting the park, they have no idea what’s going on, but are pretty upset and quite baffled when you explain the situation.

    I could use a good t-shirt (though preferably one that doesn’t originate in a sweatshop) that shows my disgust so that I can advertise it all summer. Something simple like “Yellowstone Park, stop killing the buffalo”. It’s been too long that Yellowstone and Montana mask their winter crimes during the summer tourist season.

  2. avatar JB says:

    Jim,

    Interesting idea; I bet BFC could raise quite a bit of money selling tee-shirts to tourists on their way into the park.

  3. avatar vicki says:

    To sell in the park, you have to have a concession contract. But maybe we could get enough donations to hand some out. Or hand out pictures of the bison being hazed. It may seem a bit aggressive in it’s approach, but would may one heck of an impression.
    I am going to buy shirts, and have them silk screened or airbrushed for the family, and for the kids that go in late summer.
    I think it will have a very graphic picture, so it will grab attention. And, as suggested by dbh, it will likely say “Save the herd, spread the word.” Or “ask me about the murder of Yellowstone’s bison”.
    I wonder why BFC doesn’t open a t-shirt shop in Gardiner? I now there is retail space available. They could use donated funds, art, etc?

  4. One of the big problems I have seen with other t-shirt sort of operations in the past is that it’s hard to get affordable t-shirts that aren’t made with sweatshop labor. Some of the most popular sites online for selling t-shirts come from sweatshop labor. I had a friend who fancied himself as a Wobbly, IWW, and he was pretty embarrassed when others called him out for selling anti-capitalist t-shirts from a site that bought it’s shirts from a corporation that used sweatshop labor.

    When I looked into it for my anti-war group in DC, we had trouble making the start up costs affordable when you take that into account.

    It’s a lot easier to do buttons, stickers, and things like that. I’ve had friends who made their living producing their own stuff.

  5. avatar Indamani says:

    Jim,
    I like your idea of the t-shirt, tourists need to know of Yellowstone’s despicable deeds against the bison during the winter months.

    I must say that I was one of those ignorant tourists who visited Yellowstone in past years and were completely unaware of the plight of the bison, until, a few months ago when I received an email from ‘Defenders of Wildlife’ and “Earthjustice’.

    I hope somebody will pick up on your idea of the t-shirt.

  6. avatar vicki says:

    What about banners? Like those used for the NFL, etc?
    I am doing the shirts, for the group. But I can see how that would be super costly.
    I know Walmart and Penny’s have started an eco-friendly shirt push. They are made of recycled and non-pollutant materials. I wonder who makes them?
    So, we could do buttons? Or iron on patches? Those can be made on a computer, and handed out-but may also be pricey.
    Or, even bandanas? The would be very simple to make, and could be worn on heads, around necks, even on dogs. Or like Chachi on Happy days, around the thigh. You can buy material in bulk. And cut it into sizes such that the fabric would not go to waste.

  7. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    Jim, please email me.

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net

  8. avatar steve c says:

    Maybe defenders should give out a tshirt as a donation gift as they do with stuffed animals.

  9. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    defenders should give out a lawsuit as a donation gift, as they do with stuffed animals.

  10. avatar kim kaiser says:

    i have a operation in Gardiner,,, bbq, gallery, ice cream, a littel bit of every thing,, if this doesnt comment doesnt offend the Boss of this site, i would be glad to hang out shirts,,, if this is an inapppropriate comment on your site Ralph, please delete,

  11. avatar vicki says:

    Kim,
    I am in Gardiner every summer, if you let me know which place you are, I will throw my tourist dollars into your cash register, with a happy smiling face. If you’d prefer not to post it, I understand.

  12. avatar kim kaiser says:

    no i dont mind, i just dont want to be advertising if Ralph doesnt allow it,, if its ok with him, i will just post up a link,,

  13. avatar vicki says:

    It is nice to know that there is atleast one bison/wolf friendly business in Gardiner.
    I also wonder, could I ask, do you think wolves have effected tourism? Do you think the demise of bison has?
    I know it is off the subject, but I have never had a chance to ask a business owner who could have actually been affected by the situations.

  14. avatar vicki says:

    More to the point of the story, the “officials” obviously don’t get it. Even if the bison can re-establish herd numbers, you can not disregard the genetic implications.
    The bison may breed, but we should realize, bison that are evolved to survive would have followed their noses north, literally.
    So, we take the bison who are genetically prone to do what they should, load them up, and slaughter them. How does that come out as justified? It is reprehensable.
    Now we have messed with the genetic mix. We have eliminated numerous variations on the herd, so we can not get that back.
    How have they escaped doing genetic testing on these animals? I would venture a guess that there has been atleast one kiled this year, who’s genetic make up has been lost forever. That branch of the tree is dead, gone, unsavable. What if it was the one bison that had the genetic fortitude to defeat exposure to a desease, and stay healthy…and now it is dead?
    It doesn’t seem at all justfied.

  15. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    I have been in the city ALL day. Auuugh!! I just finished reading the new posts…..

    Kim Kaiser- I will be in your little town for 4 days in May. I think the 20th–23rd. I will be sure to come and say hi, and shop. I can get your info from Vicki.

    T-shirts–I have an inexpensive way to print t-shirts with a new product at the art supply store. I will ask if they know where to buy “ethical shirts”. I will let you know the details and should have something by the weekend. I will also search for other cost friendly items.

    I am going to check into having an info card to hand out. I am thinking something the size of an over sized biz card.
    That would be something that we could carry lots of. It’s also low profile. I am sure i could get a good deal too.

  16. avatar Pronghorn says:

    BFC is in the park all summer (at Tower) exercising its First Amendment right to speak out and educate tourists about the bison mismanagement and fraud they are funding as taxpayers. Missoula-area folks interested in learning more or showing their support for wild bison should attend the Gathering for the Buffalo this Saturday, May 3rd, noon at the Missoula Public Library. Details here http://www.missoulaevents.net/index.php/ID/4279b9988f2bb43fb5235b01014f2fb4/fuseaction/events.detail.htm

  17. avatar Nathan says:

    Spoke with a Ranger up in Yellowstone, he was a law enforcement ranger so I can not speak for the truth of this statement but the count he gave me on the bison are as follows
    2400 killed for crossing park borders
    estimated 1000 killed by natural winter causes

    3400 bison killed this winter

    So assuming we went into winter with 4200 bison, we are left with a population of 800 🙁

    The ranger also mentioned that, newborn Calfs this year had it very rough and they lost a good majority of them,

    The death count is probably not done for the winter, I saw many so sick that I doubt they will be able to recuperate, one herd was so thin i nearly mistakened them for elk, nothing but rib cages and many open festering sores all over there body. They walked at a hauntingly slow pace down the road, i passed them as slowly as i could but felt guilty about making them have to move even a extra step to the left for me to squeeze by.

  18. avatar Indamani says:

    Nathan,
    Thanks for the report. The torturing (hazing, harrassing) and killing of this iconic animal is so senseless that it makes me sick. I guess the IBMP is now happy that they’ve achieved their goal at considerably reducing the bison population. May all those who took part in this slaughter either directly or indirectly never find peace and happiness in their lifetime.

  19. avatar Mike Post says:

    Nathan, the Yellowstone ranger you talked with is a law enforcement officer so “I can not speak for the truth of this statement” about the bison population? Are you implying that because he is in law enforcement that he can’t be trusted to tell the truth? His statements as reported by you seem fairly supportive of the exigency of the issue. Hopefully you are speaking to his unknown status as a wildlife expert. Please clarify.

  20. avatar Catbestland says:

    Nathan,

    I think the count going into winter was 4700. But even so losing 3400 leaves only 1300. This is absolutely insane and I think that the IBMP and the MDOL should be sued for willful destruction of wildlife. I know how you must have felt among the ghostly remnant. Why can’t we feed them???

  21. avatar Nathan says:

    -Mike
    I meant no disrespect to the officer, I merely meant to imply that his focus in Yellowstone was law enforcement. As you stated I can not verify his status as a wildlife expert.

    I did not want to make a post with numbers and counts concerning the natural winter deaths without clarifying that my information came from a person who had probably received the information from another person within the Yellowstone community.

    He however was a very knowledgeable person, was able to tell me the status of the Hayden wolf pack and its present location, personally I would consider him a well informed but indirect source.

  22. I don’t know what the exact count is (I suspect it’s under 2,300 but higher than what’s being speculated here), but I just received information that Montana is still slaughtering animals. I got this in my email just this afternoon:
    ***
    Since last Friday we have added 27 new calves, for a total of 53.
    21 are in the collared pen & 32 in the negative pen

    We are currently holding 289 bison at Stephens Creek for spring release
    (this includes calves).

    On April 28 there were 2 still born deliveries; 1 was considered
    “premature”

    Also on April 28, DOL captured 3 bulls at Duck Creek
    They were sent to slaughter on April 29.

    Al is tied up in meetings the rest of the week, but MAY be able to get an
    update out on Friday afternoon.
    I’m off until next Wednesday.

    If URGENTLY needed, Stacy Vallie of our office may be able to track down
    some numbers for you: 307-344-2012.

    Linda J. Miller
    Public Affairs Office
    Yellowstone National Park, WY
    307-344-2013

  23. Just an update, Jim is correct.

    They haven’t halted the slaughter. That was just official disinformation. See that latest post on this.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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