Bison advocates speak their mind in Helena

“Having the Department of Livestock manage wildlife is a direct conflict of interest.”

Here is the Bozeman newspaper’s take on the hearing to make bison “wildlife” in Montana. Note they have the bill number wrong. It is HB253, not 243.

Montana FWP did not support the bill.

Bison advocates speak their mind in Helena. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle.



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  1. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    It’s not surprising that our local paper, the “Bozeman Comical” got a few things wrong with this article.

    What irritated me was the tone taken by the article’s author when he wrote things like: “It’s hard to imagine a tactic proponents of a bison bill didn’t use in testimony…”

    Mr. Person seems to have his mind made up about bison advocacy in the area already & seemed a little snide in his writing about it. He’s obviously entitled to his opinion, but as a journalist it would be nice if he tried to be objective… but then again he’s a journalist in this country so that’s probably a moot point.

    Anyway, the real issue here is that our local stockgrowers are far more interested in continuing their longtime domination over Montana’s wildlife. What they need to start to understand is just because something is good for the livestock industry, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for wildlife and nor should it be public policy just because it benefits their wallets. Their private business interests don’t and shouldn’t reign supreme over ecological and wildlife interests. Convincing them of that seems impossible at times however.

    Obviously it would be great if we could wave a magic wand & eradicate brucellosis from the GYE, however it’s not that simple. I like the idea of creating a buffer zone around YNP in which livestock would be kept out of and away from. How terrible would it really be for the livestock industry to concede one small area in which they would not be invloved in?

    I get thoroughly irritated to see the amount of taxpayer money that is wasted on the pointless hazing & slaughtering of the bison herds. Especially when elk are the far more likely candidate of passing brucellosis on to local livestock. They are much farther ranging and come into closer contact with area livestock. Not to mention that bison have never been proven in the wild to pass along brucellosis to cattle.

    It’s clear unfortunately that the local livestock producers are going to use their substantial political power in attempts to continue to dictate public land policies to the rest of us. I believe that conservationists, hunters, & fishermen all need to unite and continue standing up to them.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I have come to think that elements in this governmental/interest group network of livestock and wildlife don’t want brucellosis to go away.

    Their ineffective efforts to contain it confirm so much power on them, why would they?

    As evidence consider that there is a bill in the Wyoming legislature to create a test and determine if wolves can spread brucellosis from infected prey to livestock. A person naive to the issue would suppose the sponsors hope a wolf cannot, but we all know what they want to find, don’t we?

  3. Salle Avatar

    It’s come to a point where it is blatantly obvious that the cattle industry is of the same mindset as those Wall Street bailout bonus recipients who feel that they are owed what they get in obscene bonuses and accept absolutely no blame for running the economy into the toilet and then flushing repeatedly. It’s the same model that relies on befuddlement by way of bulls#*t. They feel entitled to this power and that no entity has the authority to take it from them, even when they resort to child-like logic because the corporate news media has sworn allegiance to them in order to remain in a pseudo-power stance by withholding the true facts. The media is becoming an accomplice in this fiasco of the ages.

    It’s kind of like the Bu$hco model where the “decider” is supreme and no other can either question the power nor hold them accountable for their breach of the public trust and raping of the commons… They are out of control and should be put out of controlling positions.

  4. Chuck Avatar

    It strikes me as funny, before the white man came along all these animals got along just fine. Then the white man encroaches on the wild animals territory, takes it over with their cattle ranches, domestic goats, horses and then all of a sudden you have all these diseases that are being passed from the wild animals to the domestic animals. The crazy thing about it is that the people in power are not seeing this or doing anything about-why-because of the almighty dollar. I’m sorry but mother nature was managing these beautiful wild animals just and then we had to jump in and screw up the whole universe. I can’t tell you what a rush it would be to be living out somewhere and have a herd of buffalo come grazing through or a grizzly bear or pack of wolves. I don’t understand why others don’t see the beauty in these animals. As far as I am concern these animals are priceless and should be protected. These welfare ranchers need to go find a real job and quit distroying our public lands. You never know maybe that beaver pond where the cattle get their water from has some brucellosis infected beaver?? It just makes me mad, I am a simple guy and can see right through all these crimes against the wildlife, I just wish someone with enough power would see it too.

  5. Laura Avatar

    I am in the process of reading Michael J. Robinson’s book Predatory Bureaucracy. It is a pretty tough read (perhaps not for someone who thinks humans have every right to kill anything in their path for whatever reason) but it has been extremely educational for me. It should be a must-read for anyone who has a responsibility in approving or making regulations regarding our wildlife.

  6. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    Ralph, I think it’s blatantly obvious what the anti-wolf folks want to find out with their theory concerning predators transmitting brucellosis.

    In reading some of the rhetoric coming from the anti-wolf people, it’s clear that they are wildly pushing the idea that wolves & other predators are spreading brucellosis. Although their focus clearly isn’t on the other predators, & in fact they seem to insinuate that the wolves are “probably” spreading it without any evidence.

    What I find hypocritical about these people is that simply they are using brucellosis as an excuse to try & get rid of the wildlife that they deem “undesirably”, for example wolves, predators, bison. Yet there is no proof & no evidence that brucellosis is spread by these animals. Yet the one animal that there is plenty of evidence that is spreading brucellosis, elk, seems to generally get a pass from these people. Although now even Montana livestock organizations are trying to control elk.

    Simply all this comes back to is the livestock industry trying to dictate public land policies for their own financial benefit. It’s greed, nothing more nothing less.

  7. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    I’ve had a recent experience with Daniel Person getting a few things wrong in an article.

    I think for the most part he’s just sloppy rather than condescending, though he has an annoying habit of asking leading questions.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Is he a new reporter?

    Didn’t Scott McMillion move on, retire or?

  9. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    Daniel Person is fairly new.

    As for Scott McMillion, here it is in his own words:

    “A bittersweet farewell” – August 12, 2008


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