Hank Fischer: Royal Teton Ranch Deal Critical for Yellowstone Bison

Hank Fischer: Royal Teton Ranch Deal Critical for Yellowstone Bison. Guest commentary. New West.

I wish I could agree with Fischer, and we do know the world can’t be changed in one step. However, if this is “a template” for future deals, as he says, then we won’t see much improvement in a lifetime.

A trouble with the essay is that it is full of assertions of benefits, but no good examples. Take Horse Butte, for example, which is a much better deal that the Royal Teton Ranch. It was supposed to provide land and habitat for bison west of the Park, but it hasn’t been allowed to.

It is great that the Horse Butte grazing allotment closure provides extra habitat for many species now that the cattle are gone, but the bison have not benefited, and I don’t see that things are going to change in that.






  1. Karen Waltermire Avatar
    Karen Waltermire

    Hank Fischer is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I trust his instincts and his experience. His intellect is not clouded by his love of nature. He simply knows what the heck he is talking about!

  2. Lee Zucker Avatar
    Lee Zucker

    In September, in response to an “action alert” received from one of the nature conservation groups, I sent a modest check to Royal Teton Ranch–ostensibly to help prevent the bison slaughter of past years by helping to acquire new bison-friendly range land. My check just returned with a request to rewrite it to the Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks Dept. I re-accessed online comment on this deal and no longer feel sure that this is something for which public donations are appropriate. So: Is it a potentially important program that will improve the future of wild bison herds? and have we–the public–already payed for this, in one way or another, to an extent that would make private donations unnecessary? Thank you.


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