2,400 Yellowstone bison now dead

2,400 Yellowstone bison dead. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide. Only 1,950 have been counted alive, and many just barely. This news comes out as a new severe winter storm descends on the area.



, ,



  1. JB Avatar

    “Earlier this month, officials said they would start holding pregnant bison at the facility in order to try and maintain a viable population of animals.”

    If the viability of the bison population is in question, it might prove beneficial to avoid shipping them off to slaughter [sarcasm intended].

    More importantly, if there are questions about the viability of this population, then it should be listed as a threatened species under the ESA and given all of the protections to which it is entitled.

  2. vicki Avatar

    Amen, right on, here-here!

  3. bozemanactivist Avatar

    You all saw last year that the government actually took the time to reply to an old request to list Yellowstone buffalo as endangered? The decision’s reasoning against doing so is interesting. It’s not a flat out denial that it shouldn’t be listed. If the census is in fact low enough, then apparently this population could be listed as endangered as a distinctly endangered population.

    See http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-16004.htm

  4. JB Avatar


    Thanks for linking to FWS’s 90-day finding regarding bison. The problem with this petition (in my view) is that the petitioner asked specifically that the YNP herd be considered as a DPS; FWS did this, found evidence that the herd was a DPS, but concluded this herd was not threatened/endangered in a significant portion of its range–within the DPS. FWS does NOT analyze whether the plains bison itself (the entire subspecies) is in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range. If it was forced to undertake this analysis (and follow court precedent) it would undoubtedly find that the plains bison was threatened in a sig. portion of its range. However, given the Solicitor’s newly minted legal opinion, FWS has now decided that it does not need to include “historical” range as part of its analyses–meaning it only needs to consider the range that a species currently occupies when deciding if it is threatened with extinction.

    From the bison 90-day finding:

    “The petitioner’s assertion that hazing and killing of bison outside the Park will …result in a restriction of the range is not supported by information available in our files. Bison in YNP attempt to compensate for declining per capita food resources by range expansion (Gates et al. 2005, p. 131). In other words, bison move out of the Park in the winter in search of food, and this pattern has continued since
    implementation of the Joint Bison Management Plan … in 2000 (Clarke et al. 2005, p. 29). Therefore, the available information indicates that control actions have not affected the “quasi-migratory” ranging behavior of the YNP herd.”

    Here we see FWS’s flawed logic on display. Essentially, they argue that the land outside of YNP is not part of the bison’s range–rather, it is an attempt by these bison at “range expansion.” Yet, clearly these lands were part of the historical range of the plains bison; and just as clearly, existing regulatory mechanisms (i.e. the Joint Bison Management Plan) are preventing the bison from establishing itself in this portion of its range.

  5. bozemanactivist Avatar

    I am no expert on the biology of bison, but I’ve read a bit of recent literature that denies that there is a subspecies of bison known as the plains bison and suggests that the apparent difference between plains and mountain (and wood) bison is actually environmental. Put a mountain bison on the plains, and they’ll grow in size.

    In any event, I don’t know enough about the legalities of this. I thought I’d pass it along since it was brought up.

    I do know that it’s a travesty, and that on the ground we have to keep organizing against it. If this is one means to pursue, that’s good. However, given how many years it took to respond to this petition, I don’t know how worthwhile a strategy it is to pursue. I think there are a lot of longterm underlying issues at stake, and this is going to be a long road. In the short road, this among other things might be viable strategies.


  6. Dave Collins Avatar
    Dave Collins

    Well after they get done killing all of the wildlife. You guys can be just like California. When do they start with the housing tracts?

  7. JB Avatar


    I don’t have the cite, but my understanding is the mountain bison is NOT recognized as a subspecies. The two recognized subspecies are the plains bison (including YNP bison) and the wood bison.


  8. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    Anyone have any estimates on how long it will take Yellowstone to recover population loss of 2400 Bison?

  9. Indamani Avatar

    Nathan Hobbs,
    Good question. I was wondering about that myself. I would also like to know if anyone has a guesstimate as to how many more will be killed after the IBMP and the harsh winter weather take its toll on these poor bison.

  10. bozemanactivist Avatar

    Someone else should answer the recovery question, but the bad news is that the final total will be less than 2,300 left. The NPS has actually only counted 1,950. They assume an undercount, which supposedly puts it at 2,300. However, many of the animals are near death. A big storm is expected to hit. So, whatever the estimate is for 2,400 recovery is very conservative.

    And, as I know Bob Jackson has pointed out here and elsewhere, numbers recovery hardly tells the real story of the tragedy.


  11. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    The last time, this happened, in 96-97 it was approximately 7 years to regain the numbers that had been destroyed, I imagine, it will take a bit longer this time, so figure, you will not see the large herds again until about 2015 give or take…

  12. JB Avatar

    As sad is this news is, it may be good for efforts to list the bison. Buffaloed, is BFC working on a petition?

  13. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    I suspect that a final count needs to be done, sometime in late May, early June. This is after all of the weak bison have passed. The count needs to be pretty accurate. If the count is, say under 2000, I would say that an emergancy listing may be warranted. This would put immediate protections in place and the species would temporarily list as endangered. But I don’t see the FWS under Bush going for this tactic. I have a feeling that it will take a federal judge to get it done. Given the recent history, I think that BFC may well have a good case.


  14. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    I always have thought after I have posted and this is no different. A petition must be filed fist, to “exhaust all administrative remedies” prior to filing in fed court. NPS needs to be held accountable for letting this travesty happen in the first place. The should have said no more slaughter after 1000 bison were killed.


  15. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Considering the condition of the remaining bison, i will be shocked if there are a thousand left after this storm. This is not easy to say. I think the survival rate of calves will be small. Poorly nourished moms may not even birth their calves. And if hazing isn’t stopped, we will lose even more.
    I have to agree with Save bears. If they are able to recover, it will take years.

    Since we only know of two distinct genetic groups, there is no way to know the numbers left in each one. There was a MT college student who gathered fresh scat samples to test and she determined the existence of at least the two. (that info can be found on the BFC web-site.)

    If there is someone who has access to a lab i will volunteer to scoop fresh scat. Bone marrow from carcasses can also be gathered for testing. (This is the first time i wish my second major had been biology). The university tried just about everything, short of bodily harm, to get me to major in biology.
    Anyway, I think i would be a good volunteer/assistant.

    I wrote a letter to the DoI about the NPS centennial in 2016, asking that they return to their mission–to preserve and protect– to make the event worth celebrating. Taking proper care of the bison from this point on, there might be something close to a sustainable herd, that could start populating all that public land outside the park.
    I am bitter, but I am not giving up.

  16. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    As for a count of remaining bison the only accurate count would have to be made by an independent observer…if the initial numbers submitted by the biologists isn’t politically correct. In fact these biologists will know before any flying what these numbers have to be and will fudge numbers observed to match what is “right”. That is the way it is in Yellowstone guys. If the ranger division needed more money for, lets say, backcountry enforcement the numbers of back country users and the numbers of contacts would sometimes be doubled after the districts turned in their stats at the end of the year.

    When I patrolled the late elk hunt north of the Park on US 191 the state biologists would add or subtract numbers of elk seen, killed, and whatever to reinforce what they were needing politically at that time. That is the way it is.

  17. Indamani Avatar

    Since we cannot trust any of the government agencies to give an accurate count without fudging the numbers to suit whatever ulterior motives they may have at the time, yes, an independent observer will be the only way to go. I’m new to all this, could you tell me why food could not be dropped for these starving bison? The IBMP either kill or sent migrating bison looking for food outside of the confines of Yellowstone to slaughter. Yet, there’s hardly any grass for the bison to feed on due to deep snow. So, what is a starving bison to do?

  18. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I have to agree with the many things that Bob has said over the last few days, the worst part of this, is not the decrease in numbers, but the massive disruption of the family units, it will take quite a while for the herds to recover from the loss of the family units in the Yellowstone region..the people in charge are not using science to base their acts on, but the word of the DOL and the livestock industry in the state of Montana, you don’t see this going on in Wyoming, until the biologists working for the park service as well as the states, start paying attention to what they have learned, we will continue to have this happen, and it is a travesty.

  19. Dave Avatar

    If you figure conservatively that the average bison weighs 1100 lbs (up to 1100 lbs for cows and 2000 lbs for bulls), 1700 bison represent 1,870,000 lbs of biomass, much of which can be eaten by wolves, bears, coyotes, ravens, eagles, etc. That’s almost 1,000 TONS of dead bison, all lost to the Yellowstone ecosystem, just this year alone! What a way to manage a national park.

  20. Kathie Lynch Avatar
    Kathie Lynch

    In the last severe winter, 1996-97, I think there were about 3000 bison in YNP going into winter; about 1100 were executed by the State of Montana (back in those days it was by sharp shooters at point blank range, a messy deal for public relations–hence the current haze, corral, and truck to slaughter scenario) and 800 died due to winter kill. That left only 1100 bison in YNP in the spring of 1997, and it was darned hard to find a big herd that summer. From what I have heard, the winter kill this year in the interior is staggering. We will be very lucky if even most of those 1950 still barely standing make it. And we still have to worry about what will happen soon as those that can still walk head out to West Yellowstone and Horse Butte. It isn’t over yet, by a long (or short) shot.

  21. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Concerning your question of feeding Yellowstone’s bison, I guess the best way to understand its effect would be to ask the same question as applied to any well established hunter-gatherer indigenous people’s society.

    What would happen if we drove up and gave all of these people food till the “grass greened up”. For one, those who were the normal meat providers, the men, would have to adjust psychologically to the fact they were not failures. The mothers would have no control over what the kids ate, and the kids would not look to either the mother or father for what was provided by these strange outsiders. The outcome to buffalo would be the same as what we saw happen to Native American social structure as soon as the USA Indian agents started giving out food to these folks on the newly formed reservations. The chiefs had rightly warned it was wrong for the agents to hand out the food to everyone instead of giving to the leaders and elders for them to distribute. They were right.

    Now let’s say we did this feeding for “just a little time” as the Park Service is justifying for doing so now. They, of course, are feeding on the boundary, the place they don’t want bison to be. This is a real big No No if they don’t want them to come back there the next time there is no food at “home” for them.

    Now let’s say the Park sees the error in its ways and feeds in the Park interior. And of course, again it is “just for a short period of time”. The herd providers, the bulls doing the searching and the cows in charge of the table, don’t have to leave home. Everyone is happy, happy. But then next year when food gets short the searchers don’t search any further. They are waiting for food to fall from the sky on the very spot it fell last year. It doesn’t come. The kids cry and mommy doesn’t want to snuggle up to daddy anymore. The more years the giving of food scenario happens the worse it is when the splitting of the loaves doesn’t happen. Hope is eternal and false hope is death. For any population, whether human or animal, the less they are in control of their own destiny, the more they have to depend on hope. Desperate hope means no one is in charge and extended family structure breaks down.

    Yes, feeding does have its place to save a population from the brink of extinction, but before any of it can be done all the spin off effect has to be considered and dealt with before, during and after this “event” takes place. Otherwise we end up with a zoo type of situation.

    The Park, with all its yearly disruption of families at its killing fields on its N. Boundary caused what we see today. They may not have been willing partners to a team of agencies that were hell bent on control of brucellosis in bison but at the same time the Park did not search for the answers to get themselves out of this quagmire.

    In the end the Parks culpability was in not trying to find out what makes bison tick. They didn’t even try to understand why a certain herd in its Parks interior never left the Park. This herd has done it on its own for thousands of years. No food drops were necessary and this herd never overpopulated itself.

    Forget the low wattage light bulb going off in some Yellowstone herd biologists head. The biologists were hired for their skills to write Environmental Impact Statements, not to understand the herds they have. I think the answer is for them to carve off some of the extra fat gained from sitting at these writing desks to make oil blubber lamps. At least it would be a start in getting a little light to their heads. Enough for now.

  22. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Kudos Bob.

    You also explained much of what’s wrong with Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds. Interestingly, many of the early Wyoming game wardens said much the same thing–they realized they were training elk to eat hay, so they ate hay wherever they found it, including private haystacks. The herd cows that knew to migrate to winter range on the desert were being killed off, and in any case, millions of cattle and sheep were slicking off the winter range so there wasn’t much there anyway. So where else were elk going to go, except where they were being fed?

    I’ve been using the term refugee elk for a long time.

  23. Indamani Avatar

    Thank you so much for your response to my question. You have an interesting way of explaining things which I find to be very interesting. I, now, have a better understanding as to why it’s not a good idea to feed the bison. Given the way you had explained things, all I can say is that these animals are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s damn if they do (migrate to the west and north to seek forage) and damn if they don’t (stay in the park and starve). Either way, the price they pay is certain death. It’s a tragic situation. To top it off, we have inefficient people working for the Park who do nothing to ‘try to understand’ the bison that is under their charge. Instead, they’re participants of a slaughter of historic proportions. I think the Park’s superintendent, Suzanne Lewis is weak and inefficient and should resign!

  24. izabelam Avatar

    Just some thoughs:
    I just came back from West Yellowstone and talked to some people who live, work and ranch there.
    One lady told me that the problem with bisons is goverment and policies they have. Yeah..
    I think, you guys would know that.
    Initially there was a border of ‘free’ land left in reserve for the bisons to migrate from park during the winter.
    Later on the govement started to lease the land to the ranchers and the problem started. But still in the winter there are no cows there.

    Another issue is the fact that a lot of bisons, elk and other animals get killed on the road from West to Bozeman.
    Trucks speed like crazy. The residents are upset about it also.
    The people who work there and have businesses (at least some of them) are not happy about the bison slaughter or even wolves being killed.
    Less tourits means less money for them. And..very interesting thing: the bison burger is not so popular anymore.
    The owner of the place we ate had to remove it from the menu.

    But..I got really upset in Ashton. We drove on Friday and I noticed poster on the door to the gas station inviting residents to meet Ron Gillette.
    It was on Thursday, so I missed by a day…grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I would voice my opinion for sure.
    I talked to the clerk and his opinion and other clerks were…good wolf is a dead wolf.
    We left not buying anything..too bad we already got gas.

  25. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Thanks for your information and reflections on your trip.

    You are right about the strip of land to the west of the Park where bison could roam until the myth of brucellosis was invented.

    What you may not know is that conservation organizations, a number of them, made a concerted effort buy out and shut down all the grazing outside of the Park on the west.

    This public land (Forest Service) Horse Butte Grazing allotment was bought out and closed to livestock grazing about 4 years ago. The conservation groups thought this would cause Montana Department of Livestock to allow bison to roam. I can’t read their minds, but I think they believed that brucellosis was really the issue, and with no cows, no brucellosis transmission, the bison would roam freely.

    This was not to be because brucellosis is, as the New Times wrote, a myth that serves a useful political purpose.

    Part of Horse Butte was also private land, and it still is; but the private land was purchased last year by a couple who welcome bison and graze no livestock. Still Montana DOL, the Park Service, etc. have not relented.

    A confrontation over property rights and the state of Montana may yet ensue this spring.

    It is important to tell people in places like Ashton what you think. There is a tendency for local people in Idaho and everywhere around the world, if you think about it, to take your hard earned money that you are spending on a vacation and treat you badly.

    There is no reason to keep be silent.

  26. Indamani Avatar

    Hi, thought I’d share with you an email I had received from Martin Zaluski. Here it is:

    From: “Zaluski, Martin”
    To: “Ernest Kandarian”
    Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 08:36:36 -0600
    Subject: RE: horse-butte

    HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer ]

    Thank your for your comments regarding bison and brucellosis risk management in and around the Greater Yellowstone Area, and specifically on Horse Butte peninsula. Bison and brucellosis risk management is an emotional and complex issue, with different interests holding different points of view.

    Bison in Montana are managed under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) which was developed to establish and maintain a viable, wild bison population while managing/reducing the risk of brucellosis transmission to livestock. With last year’s late summer bison count at near record levels of 4,700 bison, and no documented transmission of brucellosis between bison and cattle, it meets these two objectives.

    In regard to Horse Butte, the Montana Department of Livestock will not support a “bison free zone” regardless of whether cattle are present or not. Our rationale is simple: Bison use Horse Butte as a staging area from which they disperse to areas where the potential for contact with cattle increases dramatically. Nineteen bison, for example, recently crossed the ice from Horse Butte onto the mainland at “the narrows” and quickly dispersed into an area defined as a no-tolerance zone by the IBMP.

    The Department would, however, like to discuss and develop bison and brucellosis management strategies that would allow for increased tolerance of bison on Horse Butte at certain times of the year. Unfortunately, the new owners of the former Munn’s Ranch have refused our repeated requests for a meeting. There is little we can do to develop and implement new management strategies if the largest private property holder on the peninsula is unwilling to meet with us.

    Let me close by stressing the immense complexity of the issue. No one interest, entity or agency is going to get everything it wants, so we must work together to do the best we can. And that’s exactly what the IBMP partners are doing. We collectively recognize that some folks don’t like the plan, but we also believe that the plan is not only working but working well. In the meantime, the Montana Department of Livestock will continue to fulfill its statutory mandate to maintain the separation in time or space between livestock and infected bison.

    Thanks again for your comments and interest.

    Marty Zaluski, DVM

    Montana Department of Livestock


    From: Ernest Kandarian [mailto:ekandarian@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 3:49 PM
    To: Zaluski, Martin; suzanne_lewis@nps.gov; mcerikson@fs.fed.us; Hagener, Jeff

  27. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I received that bs form letter also. It is a bit insulting that they put that garbage out and expect folks to believe it. I was very angry after reading it.
    He blames the Gallanis’ for the mess at Horse Butte because they will not bow down, and the agency is afraid because of the implications.
    He said that no single interest, agency, etc., is going to get everything they want, but the MDOL gets everything they want and they are completely in the wrong.
    “..it is not only working but working well..” Sure is, for the MDOL who’s intent to slaughter all the bison is in fact, working extremely well. They have single handedly decimated the bison population in 2 months! Then after the planned hazing when the storm is over, more bison will die from not only lack of food, but exhaustion from being chased, oh, and don’t forget the bright orange paint ball shots, just to twist the knife even harder in all of us. Orange paint ball splatters to say, ef you, we’re in charge here and it’s on your dime to boot!!

    I needed to vent. I am especially angry today.

  28. Indamani Avatar

    I was enraged, too, when I received the email. So, I fired another email off to Martin Zaluski and have yet to receive any response from him. After sending the email, there were a few more ideas that came to mind which I wished I had included but it was too late. Anyhow, here’s what I wrote:

    Dear Mr. Zaluski,

    Thank you for responding to my recent email. I have carefully read your response and noted that in the last paragraph you said that the plan to manage bison “is not only working but working well”. You further went on to say that the “Montana DOL will continue to fulfill its statutory mandate to maintain the separation in time or space between livestock and infected bison”.

    I would like to point out that the plan is working well from the DOL perspective because the DOL has zero tolerance for bison that migrate outside of their man-made boundaries. They are continually being harassed, hazed, trapped and sent to slaughter. The plan states that all captured bison are to be tested for exposure to brucellosis, but fewer than half of those captured since 2001 have been tested. For the record, no transmission of brucellosis has ever been documented from bison to cattle. In fact, from the beginning it was cattle that had infected the genetically pure bison population with the disease. Further, elk has been responsible in instances of brucellosis outbreak in cattle, yet it was the bison that was dealt with severely and brutally. At last count, 1527 bisons or one-third of the bison population have been killed during 2007/2008. A total of 6535 have been killed between 1985-2008. This is not acceptable. There is no doubt in my mind that the IBMP has a hidden agenda to wipe out the bison population just like it was done in the ninteenth century.

    With regard to Horse Butte, I can understand why owners Rob and Janae Galanis have refused IBMP repeated requests for a meeting. They can see the futility for any meaningful dialogue because as you had stated in your response, “the DOL will not support a ‘bison free zone’ regardless of whether cattle are present or not”. Such a statement appears to be arrogant and intolerant.

    In a recent US Government Accountability Office report made public on April 2, 2008 House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nic J. Rahall and Rep. Maurice Hinchey critized the bison plan as “plagued by deficiencies” and “severely limited in its ability to protect Yellowstone’s wild bison population. Rep Hinchey and Rep. Rahall were also quoted as saying: “It has been clear for some time now that the current IBMP plan is not working”.

    I urge the IBMP to implement a revised, workable plan as soon as possible in order to maintain a viable, free-ranging bison population. Too many innocent bison lives have been lost and this current trend cannot continue. We must work together now.

    Thank you again for your response.

    Indamani Kandarian

  29. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Great letter. I hope it made him quirm!

  30. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Please note the photo I just put up of Horse Butte. The bison don’t use this butte as a “staging area” to cross northward over to the “mainland” except in the dead of winter.

    How stupid do they think we are?

    And what is this “mainland?” Just the north shore of Hebgen Reservoir, a highway, some summer homes, the Buffalo Field Campaign headquarters and some bars, plus a steep mountain slope.

  31. Don Riley Avatar
    Don Riley

    “The petitioner’s assertion that hazing and killing of bison outside the Park will …result in a restriction of the range is not supported by information available in our files……”

    JB, this from the quote you provided on the 2007 FWS buffalo finding.
    This finding was done under the Kempthorn doctrine of no information in the files of FWS may be used on listing petitions, except that which supports the position of FWS, explicitly prohibiting the use of FWS files data that supported a listing position. I cannot find where the buffalo petition was included in the rejected listing petitions which were over turned. Does any one have any information as to why not?

  32. kim kaiser Avatar

    can someone breadk down that new plan?? in very simple terms, they are saying that 25 bison will be able to go on the cult land next year,, without fear of death,,, is that right??? so what if we have another year like last,,, where some 500 to fiteen hundred bison head out again,, are they saying that they are gonna kill them as well, all but 25??? even though there are no cattle and the catle rights have been bought out??? despite the numbers dropping as some suggest below the 2300 threshold?? Is that what they are hoping to sell is a “historic” compromise??? I mean is this the crux of the agreement in simple terms,?? please tell me i read that wrong!! if not then,,

    I am gonna use a bad word here,,!!! so close you ears and shut your eyes,, how f–king stupid is that!!!???,, JUST HOW F–kING stupid !!!??? only 25 and maybe a hundred in a few years!!!! at that rate, there wont be any bison,,,!!!!

  33. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think it might just as stupid as you just said.

    One of my colleagues has been studying the stories groups tell about this issue. He calls them “narratives.” I’ve got to wonder if he has made any sense of this?

    Are you there Mark?

  34. Nathan Hobbs Avatar


    The descriptive eloquence provided only by the french language you have introduced into this conversation is fully deserved against this plan. I agree.

    I really took the Bison in the park for-granted last year in my many trips there, I do not think we will be seeing many of them this year.

    The thing I hate the most is it will be far too late before main stream media and populations groups tune into the true consequences of the program. Its really up to us to make the noise and save whats left of the herd in Yellowstone.

    Any word on how the living bison are faring this storm?, its really a race against Spring time and death for them now isn’t it?

  35. vicki Avatar

    Good evening all.
    I am so deeply heart sick over this entire siuation. From the beginning when winter approached and the first snow seemed to announce another blood-red winter, to the absolute joke they called historic, I have been sickened.
    I am now racked with fear and a sincere dread that the bison will be extinct soon.
    Each snow flake that falls and every bison that follows it’s nose brings the number down.
    The demise of this precious herd should serve as a lesson in humility to those who declared their plan fair and scientific. WHat they should now be doing is apologizing for the mockery they have made of our national herd. We(he voters) have entrusted our bison to a bunch of barbarians. I am going to personally write a letter to theNational Park service and demand that they take action, find new management for the park, and start to protect the bison they have aided in masacring. Though I doubt it will be much help, it may make me less sick and angry.

  36. kim kaiser Avatar

    Nathan,, i was coming into gardiner today at about 5 pm, there were what appeared to be a small group of bulls some large, couple of teenager ages, between the highway and the river,,, about 5 miles from town,,
    will they bill catching an killling them too,,,??????
    there is a pretty good cover of snow from last nights storm… it was almost melted off at the arch flats and the low rolling hills between the arch and the entrance station west of the road, but it was solid this morning,, some has melted off though.. i may go in to the park tomorrow, see how things look, will report anything new…. Grizz will be eating good this year i bet.!!wont need pine nuts!!, be fat and happy from all the winter kill

  37. Heather Avatar

    “With last year’s late summer bison count at near record levels of 4,700 bison, and no documented transmission of brucellosis between bison and cattle, it meets these two objectives.”
    then, in closing:
    “In the meantime, the Montana Department of Livestock will continue to fulfill its statutory mandate to maintain the separation in time or space between livestock and infected bison.”
    Can someone explain the logic here? What infected Bison? If there are no cases, whats the big rush?

  38. Heather Avatar

    Above comment with regard to Martin Zaluski’s letter.

  39. bozemanactivist Avatar

    As for the 25, it’s actually worse than that. They do have fear of death because they will either migrate back to or will be forced back to Yellowstone after a certain date. Then, they may become exposed to brucellosis. If they return, or are not part of the 100 that come in the next year, they could still face death.

    So, not even the 25 are saved except for during that particular winter. They will not have habitat on which they can roam freely. They will continue to be tested.

    So, absolutely nothing has been accomplished except that a large fee will be paid to CUT.

    On another note, does anyone know what the weather was like in Yellowstone? In Bozeman, we got little more than a dusting, but perhaps the bigger news was that it was very cold (under 20 degrees most of the day). What’s happening in the park? I’m very, very worried for each of these animals.


  40. kim kaiser Avatar

    Jim,,, weather sat night in gardiner,,, i had about and inch or so of snow on my deck in town here,,, that usually means good bit more in parks higher elevations,,,,, tonight, Sunday night,,, snowing heavily in Gardiner, another inch on deck and continuing to build,, it all melted during the day, but its back again….

  41. bozemanactivist Avatar




  42. JB Avatar

    Don R. said: “This finding was done under the Kempthorn doctrine of no information in the files of FWS may be used on listing petitions, except that which supports the position of FWS, explicitly prohibiting the use of FWS files data that supported a listing position. I cannot find where the buffalo petition was included in the rejected listing petitions which were over turned. Does any one have any information as to why not?”

    Don: I don’t have any info, but I would like to hear more about the “Kempthorne doctrine” you mentioned. Is there any literature on this?

  43. Indamani Avatar

    What the IBMP is doing to the bison defies any logic. It was developed to supposedly maintain a viable, free-ranging bison population, yet they’re continually murdering these innocent animals. The DOL, which is part of the IBMP team, whose primary interest is cattle and cattle ranchers and not wild bison are the ones calling the shots. The plan needs to be dismantled and a team of unbiased, educated people need to be instated to care for the bison.

  44. Jo Smith Avatar
    Jo Smith

    The manner in which the Bush Administration is handeling (ignoring) numerous wildlife issues is becoming more & more alarming. The recent removal for the Northern Grey Wolf from the ESA which now allows the midwestern preditor states to hunt down & kill at will to the supposed ignorance of the plight of the less than 400 rite whales left in our oceans is just sickening. The slaughter and poor management of bufflo heards is only one more example of the numerous wildlife issues of nature vs man ….. Only the one with the most $ and support in DC will come out on top in the end. Sadly, it’s the wildlife populations who are the unfortunate victums in these battles who are mearly trying to survive that will continue to suffer and risk disapearing altogether.


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan