West Yellowstone Bison Haze Beginning Today

After one of the most devastating winters for Yellowstone bison to-date, the five agencies of the Interagency Bison Management Plan are announcing the implementation of a haze today that, among other things, will expect remaining buffalo calves to march 20 + miles back into the park.

Buffalo Field Campaign Blog has some comments, and the press release, issued yesterday is below.

Date: May 13, 2008
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

May 13, 2008     08-030
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015



The five agencies operating under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are planning a joint operation to begin moving bison in the area of West Yellowstone, Montana, to their summer range in the interior of Yellowstone National Park.

The first hazing operation is set to begin Wednesday morning, utilizing riders on horseback and a helicopter where appropriate.

Under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), the park works with other agencies to conserve a viable, wild bison population while cooperating to protect Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

Brucellosis risk management requires keeping bison separated from cattle and off land where cattle may graze later in the year. The greatest risk of the transmission of brucellosis comes from the tissue and fluids associated with bison birthing or abortion events during bison calving season, which is entering its peak.

A group of about 70 bison near the park boundary north of West Yellowstone at Baker’s Hole will be hazed in small groups east along the Madison River corridor.  As they vacate that location, some of the nearly 300 bison currently on Horse Butte will be hazed toward Baker’s Hole.

In this fashion, small groups of bison will be slowly and consecutively moved until they are all back well inside the park along the Firehole River and in Fountain Flats. These are thermal areas where spring plant growth has already produced enough new forage to attract and hold bison.  It is possible that these hazing operations will continue for the next few weeks.

Over 330 bison remain in the Stephens Creek corrals, which are located inside the park northwest of Gardiner, Montana.  Park wildlife biologists expect spring plant growth to continue to improve in order to allow those bison to be successfully released back into the park in the near future.

This is the eighth winter the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions. The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

– www.nps.gov/yell –

Contacts :

Suzanne Lewis, Superintendent
Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168
(307) 344-2002 phone
(307) 344-2014 fax

Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Building
P.O. Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111 phone
(406) 444-5529 fax




  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    My letter to Schweitzer and Suzanne Lewis on this latest bison travesty:

    Dear Brian and Suzanne

    I have just seen the press release (below) on your determination to haze bison near West Yellowstone into the Park. How absurd and despicable! Aside from the fact that green-up has barely begun inside the Park, your “little” operation conveniently ignores the conspicuous lack of cattle anywhere near Horse Butte and the Upper Madison. You’re not protecting cattle against brucellosis–a truly frivolous assertion. You’re merely torturing bison to please the obsolete and oligarchic livestock industry.

    The ranchers clearly own your offices. Your actions willfully neglect the public trust–your duty to the citizens of Montana and the United States to conserve and protect bison against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The livestock industry is the enemy of bison, but you have thrown your support to the wrong side. It may be politick to do so, but it is neither courageous nor moral.

    Once again, the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park are demonstrating that the mentality and brutality of the police state drives the IBMP. You may have the law–not to mention the big battalions–on your side, but you don’t have history on your side. It is we, those of us who know the truth, who are writing the history. And history will not treat you two any better than it has treated Chivington and Custer.

    Slaughter all the bison you want; how will history remember you? We all already know the answer.

    Robert Hoskins

  2. Salle Avatar

    It took several constabulary figures from several agencies to corner one lone yearling that wandered into town on the west end yesterday. I’m certain it would have infected the beef in the grocery stores’ coolers if it hadn’t been apprehended with expediency…

  3. Pronghorn Avatar

    Thankfully, Schweitzer has a challenger in the Montana primary–Don Pogreba, a teacher. His running mate, Jason Neiffer, is also a teacher. Originally I had planned to simply abstain from voting in the primary governor’s race (and planned to let Gov. Schweitzer know this); but perhaps I’ll be voting for Pogreba, instead.

    Perhaps all unhappy Montana Democrats should visit Pogreba’s website http://www.pogrebaneiffer08.com/ and take note of this: “Maybe the most important thing you can do is to contact us and let us know what issues are important to you. We want to know what you think about education, energy, the environment, so that we can be best informed about what the people of Montana want.”

    Their e-mail addresses are at the lower right. Let’s let them know what we want for wild bison. I just sent this:

    Dear Don & Jason:

    I have many concerns for Montana; as a former teacher myself, education is certainly one of them. But even more specifically, my immediate and overwhelming concern is over Montana’s shameful treatment of wild bison in the Yellowstone area. The statistics:

    AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
    2007-2008 Total: 1,607
    2007-2008 Slaughter: 1,438
    2007-2008 Hunt: 166
    2007-2008 Quarantine: 112
    Total Since 2000: 3,669 (includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunt)

    The current governor promised “greater tolerance” for wild bison in Montana; instead, they got slaughtered in record numbers, while bison advocates who voted for Schweitzer simply got screwed. And now, the hazing is set to begin on the west side of the park; pregnant bison and newborn calves will be caught up in the taxpayer-funded terror (they even use helicopters to persecute these magnificent, iconic animals); meanwhile, over on the north side, more than 330 wild bison are incarcerated in a cruelly inadequate capture facility where their health, well-being, and wildness are sorely compromised. This “Made in Montana” madness must end.

    I am just one voting wildlife advocate, but many, many hundreds more are out there, voters who simply want a just, peaceful, and wild future in Montana for America’s last wild and genetically-distinct bison.

    Thanks for listening to my concern.

  4. jjordan Avatar

    Pronghorn, Great info, Thanks

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Great message; I hope you cc’d Schweitzer and his staff on this message.

    I am of the opinion that folks in Montana, and those of us in other states who are concerned about the bison, should initiate a media campaign against Schweitzer. Something short and sweet, like “Dump Schweitzer. He lied about the buffalo.” Billboards on the roads going into Helena and other Montana towns, ads in the newspapers and in the broadcast media. Dump Schweitzer.

    Schweitzer is the key long in the brucellosis mess in Montana, and he needs to feel the pressure to do the right thing–to do what he promised to do.

    It’s something people need to do. The press is still licking Schweitzer’s boots.


  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    That’s key LOG, not key long.

  7. Pronghorn Avatar

    Gosh, Robert, “log” and “dump” — I’m getting a very bowel movement kind of image from your last post. Was that the subliminal message? Ha!

  8. Pronghorn Avatar

    Any MT voter who would like to join in–feel free to copy the text below, paste into your own e-mail message box, and send to your contacts.

    The worst wild bison slaughter since the mass extermination of the 19th Century has occurred in Montana this winter and spring–and solely to benefit the Montana livestock industry. Read this and weep:

    AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
    2007-2008 Total: 1,607
    2007-2008 Slaughter: 1,438
    2007-2008 Hunt: 166
    2007-2008 Quarantine: 112
    Total Since 2000: 3,669 (includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunt)
    And now, on Wednesday 14 May 2008, bison outside the park near West Yellowstone, Montana will undergo hazing from riders on horseback and from the air–by helicopter–and paid for with our tax dollars! This is especially critical since pregnant bison, moms who just gave birth, and newborn calves will be caught up in the terror of the haze as they are run to exhaustion and sometimes injured while being herded back into the confines of Yellowstone. Why? Because Montana’s powerful livestock industry wants it that way–even though no cattle are even present! This “Made in Montana” madness must stop! (Yellowstone hazing operation news release here http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/08030.htm )

    If you are a Montana voter and wildlife advocate, you realized a long time ago that Gov. Schweitzer was not going to make good on his campaign pledge of “greater tolerance” for Yellowstone-area bison, and indeed, the proof is in this year’s slaughter statistics. Since it has been so difficult to get any positive change from the governor on this issue, perhaps we should look to his primary election challenger for an answer. Don Pogreba and his running mate Jason Neiffer are both Helena school teachers (website here http://www.pogrebaneiffer08.com/ ) who have this to say: “Maybe the most important thing you can do is to contact us and let us know what issues are important to you. We want to know what you think about education, energy, the environment, so that we can be best informed about what the people of Montana want.”

    Let’s begin a grassroots movement to let them know what we want for wild bison, shall we? An end to persecution: hazing, capture, quarantine, slaughter. Designated habitat on public land surrounding Yellowstone. The Montana Department of Livestock removed from jurisdiction over bison “management.” Simply put, to be respected and managed as the genetically-distinct, valued wildlife they are. You’ll find e-mail addresses for Mr. Pogreba and Mr. Neiffer at the bottom right of their homepage. And let’s let Gov. Schweitzer know that we’re examining alternatives to his reign of “greater tolerance.” governor@mt.gov

    If wild bison could go to the polls, would they vote to re-elect the governor who has presided during the largest slaughter since the 19th Century? If we are their advocates, should WE?

  9. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    We were just at Schweitzer’s office as part of the BFC rally; he wasn’t there. Predictably, there was an intern there trying to feed the BS to us. I will be writing about the rally, but it featured hundreds of cardboard tombstones on the Capitol lawn in Helena in remembrance of the more than 1,600 killed.

    BFC tried to present Schweitzer the Buffalo Bill Award for having killed more buffalo than at any time since the 19th century; of course, he wasn’t there. It was a little comical.

    There was one media person I noticed from an ABC station in Helena; one of my friends from Bozeman was interviewed.

    Our new group in Bozeman – at http://www.buffaloallies.org – had our press release out this week, and it was posted in the Bozeman paper. People have seen it; I hope that leads to more grassroots activity here.

    In the meantime, the haze is ongoing from what I heard. Most of BFC, of course, was out in the field.

  10. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Well, the imagery fits, doesn’t it?

    Even though I live in Wyoming, I strongly support any effort to unseat (no further pun intended) Schweitzer and to support Democratic challengers to him in the primary. People need to realize his progressive image is two-dimensional–a mile wide and a millimeter deep (if that deep). I suspect that since there is to be a primary challenge, people sense a certain weakness in his record across the board, not just in conservation.

    A strong challenge to Schweitzer would be refreshing, and just might do something for the buffalo. It would certainly scare the scat out of Schweitzer.


  11. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    I hope they pick up all the dead calves they kill along the way…we would not want to spread any disease now would we? -sigh-

  12. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    I haven’t heard anything more about the haze, though I’m sure BFC’s newsletter will be out soon. I wrote a report from yesterday’s Helena rally at http://buffaloallies.org/node/42.

  13. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Count me in for a donation if you decide on some “Dump Schweitzer” stickers, flyers etc.
    I’ll be happy to distribute them at Saturday’s market.

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Brian Ertz