No more brucellosis found in Montana cattle; bison herd remains inside Yellowstone

The repreive given the bison has worked so far,  and no more brucellosis has been found in testing of cattle around Montana.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it is never determined how the cattle at Bridger, Montana got brucellosis.

Story in Billings Gazette. By Jan Falstad







  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    In the absence of positive data pointing to a wildlife source for this outbreak, I still think the most likely source is cattle. The market surveillance system is not as foolproof as APHIS likes to claim it is and infected cattle do slip through the cracks. One thing to determine: was the infected herd an OPEN or
    CLOSED herd? I strongly suspect that it was an open herd and that it received imports of brucellosis vulnerablecattle within the last five years or so. This needs to be checked out.

  2. Buffaloed Avatar

    Does GYC take into consideration that they just might be encouraging people to start bringing more catte to the area because they could get paid? They seem to raise a lot of money on the buffalo issue but don’t seem to do much more than offer it to ranchers.
    Meanwhile, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition on Thursday offered to pay landowners and producers in Hebgen Basin for any losses due to the bison for the next two weeks if the bison are allowed to live.
    The deal would “prevent the unnecessary slaughter of 300 bison without negatively impacting the Montana economy and the livelihoods of local landowners and producers,” Michael Scott, the group’s director, said in a letter to Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Thursday.
    “We recognize that providing two additional weeks could be a hardship on affected landowners and producers who are in need of summer pasture for their cattle,” Scott said.
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition said it would pay those in the Hebgen Basin area for lost income or additional costs associated with keeping their cows on winter pastures or feed.
    The deal would be contingent on state and federal officials continuing efforts to haze bison back into Yellowstone and to delay any capture efforts until June 18.

    I didn’t put a link to that article because I couldn’t figure out what the GYC was offering to pay? I understood there were no cattle, except a few behind fences in the area around West Yellowstone. So it this a publicity stunt for their organization or what? Ralph Maughan

  3. be Avatar

    good cop, bad cop – if the communication is right… —> buyouts… does the compensation sunset in two weeks?

  4. Vicki Avatar

    Bison and leased lands are everyone’s natural resources. don’t see ranchers offering up cash to every non-ranching American who’s lost a share of the bison that are slaughtered. Bison spreading the desease is just a bogus conspiracy theory, it’s straight from the minds and wallets of those ranchers who would do whatever necessary to preserve their bank accounts. (NO-they aren’t all that way….) My guess is, if we had a massive mad-cow problem, or the value and demand of bison was double that of cattle, suddenly these guys would be saying they had a claim to any cattle that wandered onto their land or leased land. They won’t find a burcellosis link, because there simply isn’t one to find. Rather than paying them off, we should make hazing bison (as much an American symbol as the flag) illegal!!!! No one would tollerate eagles being hazed back into a national park. Both are icons of America’s west.

  5. Buffaloed Avatar

    There is a planned capture tomorrow of 50 buffalo that have left the park. As far as I know the buffalo will be taken to Stephens Creek facility near Gardiner so that the calves can “mother-up” then they will be walked farther into the park from there.

    This will be a media nightmare if calves are injured and there are a large number of tourists in the area while the haze is occurring.

    YNP has issued a press release:

    Yellowstone National Park News Release
    Park Prepares Stephens Creek Facility To Accept Bison
    Yellowstone National Park is preparing the Interagency bison capture facility at Stephens Creek to temporarily hold bison the Montana Department of Livestock plans to capture outside the park’s western boundary on Friday.
    A mixed group of approximately 50 bison have left the Cougar Meadows area and crossed the Yellowstone National Park boundary into the West Yellowstone area.
    The National Park Service will accept bison at the facility near Gardiner, where they will be held, fed, and watered for a short period and then released into the northern section of park.
    The transport and release strategy resulted from discussions late last week between Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Governor’s Office. It is designed to address the unique circumstance of bison outside the park this late in the season. This adaptive management strategy will be used only this year.
    The area around the Stephens Creek facility will be closed to the public when accepting, holding, and releasing bison for safety reasons. A map and information on the closure will be available for public review during normal business hours at the Chief Ranger’s Office and the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.
    The Stephens Creek facility is operated under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.
    The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
    This is the seventh year the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This has nothing to do with brucellosis.

    It is the livestock industry’s way of rubbing our faces in their cow shit!

    I’d like to be more academic and say “exert their cultural hegemony,” but I want to make it clear what I am saying and what is happening.

  7. Buffaloed Avatar

    The haze has begun and a DoL press release states “Because the Stephens Creek facility can’t handle bull bison, bulls among the captured bison might be shipped to slaughter”.
    This is, excuse the foul language, BULLSHIT! The Stephens Creek capture facility has handled bulls for the last several years and bulls cannot transmit brucellosis.

    The DoL uses every excuse that they can to kill buffalo. I presume that the real reason they plan to kill bulls is because they eat more grass than cows and calves can. This is the reason that buffalo are not allowed to leave Yellowstone. It’s the grass stupid.

    Contact: Tom Daubert (406-449-2095) or Lisa Schmidt (406-278-0159)

    For Immediate Release

    Bison May Be Captured & Moved to North End of Yellowstone Park
    State and federal officials tomorrow morning plan to capture up to approximately 50 bison outside the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park and transport most all of them – all the cows and calves – to the Park’s northern border, the Montana Department of Livestock announced.

    The bison will be released into the Park’s permanent corrals on Stephens Creek near Gardiner, from which they will be allowed to migrate back into Yellowstone once they have settled from the move.
    Because the Stephens Creek facility can’t handle bull bison, bulls among the captured bison might be shipped to slaughter, and their meat donated to native American tribes that have requested it, explained Christian Mackay, executive director of the Montana Department of Livestock.
    “We appreciate the Park Service’s help with this effort, and hope to save most all of the bison we deal with tomorrow,” Mackay said. “We’re long past the time of year when the Interagency Bison Management Plan calls for zero tolerance of bison outside the Park in the West Yellowstone area,” he explained, “and while the IBMP calls for bison to be removed for slaughter at this time of year, we’d like to avoid or at least minimize that outcome.”
    Last week, state and federal officials herded hundreds of errant bison back into the Park from outside the western boundary, as they have on numerous occasions this year. “At this point, fewer and fewer of the bison are coming out of the Park once they’ve returned, so we’re hopeful that we may soon be finished with active bison management operations for this season,” MacKay concluded.

  8. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    I emailed Michael Scott at GYC and he emailed me a copy of the letter to the gov. They offered to pay $10,000 to those ignorant excuses for “ranchers”. From what I understand there are never more than 130 head of cattle grazing at any time. I have enjoyed reading your comments over the past few days and being that you want the bison protected, I could forward the letter to…. …{I did not see anywhere to send an email}. I think you would enjoy reading it. I have read it many times and then I picture the look on the gov’s face and anyone else who may have seen it. If it hasn’t been shreaded yet, I would be really surprised. What I can’t figure out is why the Hebgen Basin is even an issue because the World Wildlife Fund bought out the grazing rights in 2004, in order for the bison to have room to roam. But given the news of late, it seems that the powers that be in Montana can’t keep their word. Maybe they have had their faces in cow excrement for so long they are not aware it is 2007 instead of 1860! HA!! I really liked Vicki’s comment about hazing. Those people should all be hazed back into their own yards! Ha ! I think those involved in the slaughter are completely insane! With all the evidence that shows they are wrong and it’s all for a little bit of grass. I know there are more good ranchers than bad. It is crazy that a handful of ”nutters” are allowed to continue the needless slaughter. I would bet anything that the positive test result was a lie, considering who is affiliated with the ranch.
    It is rediculous how much of our tax dollars the DOL gets to kill our wild bison. Maybe the folks who want to continue the slaughter, should only be allowed to have as many cattle that their own property can sustain…. hmmmmm.
    When I was just a kid my dad taught me how to handle a rifle and how to respect our wildlife. There is plenty of room for all. I know if my dad were still alive he would be just as fired up as I am. {I definitely am my father’s daughter.}
    I guess I got a bit carried away…. Thanks for a place to write my rant.
    Back to the GYC letter. I am sure you would enjoy the content… It is really horrible timing for my web site to be down. I would have made it available on there. If you don’t mind me sending to your email I will pass it along to you. It would be great to discuss with you folks up this page.
    Best Regards, d. Bailey Hill

    My email is Added 6-10.

  9. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    I almost forgot… I do not think it is a coincidence that the announcement for this latest killing was released while the GYC is having their annual meeting in Cody, WY.

    Thanks for doing this and your comments. I’ve been away to Copper Basin for three days, and because you haven’t posted before there is a big stack of comments from people who haven’t posted before and needed to be moderated.

    Ralph Maughan

  10. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    Found it!! Finally posted the letter. go to http://www.greateryellowstonecoalition. org click on GYC offers…open letter.

  11. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I took the opportunity to attend the Buffalo Field Campaign 10th anniversary celebration in West Yellowstone this weekend. This was the first time I’d met most of the BFC folks.

    The differences between the BFC and the so-called Greater Yellowstone “Coalition” could not be clearer. The BFC is a family–a true tribe–of dedicated activists putting their bodies on the line day in and day out for the buffalo; the GYC is a bloated bureaucracy full of well-paid corporate hacks who, like police captain Louis Renault in the movie Casablanca, blow with the prevailing winds, and the winds (and the $2 million GYC budget) are now blowing from the livestock industry and wealthy landowners on the GYC board.

    I abandoned the GYC over a decade ago and nothing the organization has done since then has changed my mind as to its worthlessness for land and wildlife conservation. This latest stunt of offering $10K to ranchers in the Hebgen to hold back cattle for a measly two weeks is merely contemptable.

    We are in dire need of a true conservation organization in the Greater Yellowstone that will actually work for land and wildlife rather than the existing oligarchy.



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