Bison will be able to occupy the Horse Butte area for the first time-

Finally, the bison will be able to leave the Park and occupy this now cow-free area area for the first time this winter.

Conservation groups and the couple who bought Horse Butte have prepared the way, and it looks like the plainly obvious right thing to do will finally be allowed.

One caution, this is still a draft.

Associated Press story. Agencies to Let More Bison Outside of Yellowstone in winter. This is a much longer version of the story than the one first posted.

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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.

9 Responses to Agencies to let more bison outside Yellowstone

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    We’ll see how this goes. I remain rather skeptical considering the FWP still wants to have a hunt and I’m sure that there will still be massive hazing operations each spring. It’s a little but not enough.

    Horse Butte should be year-round habitat for buffalo, a native, genetically pure, and ecologically significant species here.

  2. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I should remind new people on this blog that Horse Butte is mostly National Forest but also has a subdivision and former ranch now converted to a wildlife preserve. The people who live in the subdivision have formed a group, HOBNOB, or Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo, and they support having buffalo on Horse Butte.

  3. avatar Jon Way says:

    Interesting that this came just after Obama, not McBush, was elected.
    GObama!

  4. avatar Save bears says:

    Jon,

    This has been in negotiation for months now, and I am as Buffaloed said, skeptical as to how it will all pan out.

  5. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    I must agree with Buffaloed and Save Bears. The agencies are in a bit of a tizzy from the unfavorable GAO report from earlier this year, but given their past reprehensible behavior, and the fact that IBMP is a response to the political demands of the livestock industry to keep bison out of Montana, which is reserved for cattle, rather than a response to the alleged disease threat, they’re going to try to make themselves look good without fundamentally changing the goals and structure of the IBMP or bison mismanagement. As mentioned above, we still don’t have a lot of details.

    At the same time, we have to acknowledge that the GAO investigation and this proposed change on Horse Butte is due to the unrelenting and courageous advocacy of the Buffalo Field Campaign and others. They’ve accomplished much with very little except guts and commitment. They have put a strong light on the fact of mismanagement and the reasons why bison are mismanaged. They have created a crack in the political power of the livestock industry.

    So keep the pressure up, BFC!

    RH

  6. I’m also skeptical. The devil here is in the details. After so many years of defeats, I found myself trying to keep hopes down on our lists.

    This also has absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s election; and as Robert said, a lot more to do with the fallout from the GAO report, relentless pressure by BFC and others (threats of lawsuits), and the embarrassment of being behind such a huge buffalo slaughter not popular anywhere.

    But, I really want to know most of all whether this deal would provide year round habitat without harassment. If it doesn’t, this in effect is not much more than lip service meant to divide advocates (just as the Royal Teton Ranch deal in the north) has, look good in the press, while not accomplishing much for the buffalo.

  7. avatar Buffaloed says:

    The article specifies that buffalo would only be allowed during the winter. Frankly, that’s not good enough and there is NO reason to not let them be there year round.

  8. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Perhaps those who attend the IBMP meeting next week can both clarify this issue.

    By all means, continue legal action to force a supplemental EIS on Horse Butte.

  9. Yes, as I’ve read the articles over and over, it became increasingly clear to me that that seems to be the case and let our email list know my concerns (we have HOBNOB people who participate actively on our discussion list).

    It’s not good enough; this past spring’s hazing at Horse Butte would have still happened because it was after May 15.

    People need to understand that this does not actually provide habitat for bison in Montana.

    It’s still a better plan than that ridiculous CUT deal in the north, but the fight goes on because the injustice for the buffalo continues.

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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."

~ Edward Abbey

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