Yellowstone bison herd down 1000 from last year.

Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone Park, who has been dragged into bison killing by the Bush Administration, sent more than a thousand to slaughter last winter. The controversial Montana bison hunt killed 45. There was winter mortality and minor predation by Yellowstone wolves.

This year the hunt will have 140 tags. A lot of people, including some hunters, are disappointed because Montana will continue to rely on Park bison. It won’t allow the bison outside the Park to establish a free roaming herd near West Yellowstone or in the upper Gallatin River which could support the hunt.

I expect we will soon be hearing the same tired rhetoric from Montana DOL about brucellosis and bison.

The Bozeman Chronicle has an article on the matter. Article







  1. Interested Avatar

    Wasn’t that the idea of the hunt and of killing the excess that wandered out of the park? It seems they need to bring the numbers down to what can safely survive in the park.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    Given that the State of Montana refuses to establish adequate transition and winter range for bison that migrate out of the Park, which is poor winter range to begin with, from a strictly wildlife management standpoint the hunt had nothing to do with eliminating the excess, as far too few animals were taken. The excess, if you want to call it that, was instead trapped and slaughtered.

    The hunt, as it now stands, and as it’s planned for the coming season, exemplifies rather the determination of Montana’s livestock industry to control bison both in and out of the Park–no bison are welcome outside the park, period. The hunt is a bone thrown by the livestock industry and its supporters in Fish, Wildlife and Parks to those who want to hunt bison, but it’s a turkey shoot, a canned hunt, not a fair-chase hunt.

    The fact is, the Park is not winter range, for elk or for bison. Bison need to migrate out. Migration is critical to the wildness of the bison, and it’s the legal and moral responsibility of the State of Montana to provide that winter range for bison in the public interest. By refusing to provide that winter range, Montana is neglecting it public trust duties for the benefit of special, private interests.

  3. Dan Avatar

    Well didn’t they round up about a thousand or so & ship them off to slaughter this past winter?
    Maybe I’m missing something…

  4. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    Well, I did mention that in the first paragraph of my comment above. I just didn’t give the number.

  5. Dan Avatar

    Hey Bob

    My comment above wasn’t directed at yours – it was towards the Bozeman Chronicle for writing it. Seems like a pointless artticle since everyone knows what happened.
    Now if the population went down without the killings, then they have a story.

  6. Howard Avatar

    I am amazed how bison have slipped through the crack of American consciousness. The American bison is an absolutely spectacular animal (our country’s national animal in fact), yet we manage the last “wild” herds like livestock. Yellowstone National Park is not a maximum security large mammal prison, and a herd that cannot set hoof outside artificial boundaries is not really “free ranging”. I also think that allowing Yellowstone bison to use winter range outside the Park, in addition to being sound wildlife conservation, would provide an opportunity for a real, fair chase bison hunt for real, wild bison. I think such tags would be highly coveted, and the state of Montana could bring in money from bison, rather than waste huge sums of money on the senseless, ecologically destructive, and nationally unpopular annual wildlife massacre.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan