Penned Yellowstone National Park bison eat a lot of hay

The 600 temporarily captured bison eat about 6 tons of hay a day-

For whatever the real reason Montana’s Governor Schweitzer spared the bison captured at the northern boundary of Yellowstone Park, most folks on this forum were pleased. The bison do eat a lot of hay and, of course, the feeding increases the chance they will return next year, although they don’t seem to like being penned.

It’s interesting that the Park Service has not ruled out killing the 40% of the bison who tested positive for brucellosis. The pointlessness of this harsh action has been pointed out many times.

Captive bison eating Yellowstone National Park’s stockpile of hay. By Brett French. ‌ The Billings Gazette |



  1. Alan Avatar

    “The bison tend to migrate when the herd tops 3,000 animals.”
    Funny, I thought that the bison tend to migrate when the grass in the park is buried under several feet of snow and rock hard ice during heavy winters. Didn’t realize that they just count to 3,000 and then scream, “OK, let’s go!”
    Anyway, I haven’t been down there, but I guess the cattle guard is just about in at Yankee Jim Canyon. I hear they’ve been losing small cars in it.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      You are absolutely right, Alan. If the uplands are covered in deep snow, or worse ice, due to a thaw and freeze cycle, the bison will descend if there are only 200 hundred in the Park.

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Check out the comments in the Gazette article. Wolves are killing everything, grizzlies have reached plague proportions, tree huggers are awful people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This stuff gets so old. It’s almost like pulling a string an listening to some of these people talk (or write).

  3. Salle Avatar

    Talking to a snowcoach guide yesterday I was told that there has been a lot of winter-killed bison and elk inside the park this winter. Much of this is due to the usual “penned-inside-the-park-or-else” policy of hazing them back into the park when forage is not available. There has been significant thawing and freezing going on this past week to ten days and the crust on the deep snow is getting thicker.

    Humans are getting so unreasonable about wildlife and where they can exist that I am ashamed of my own species for being so speciephobic/speciecentric and demanding that the natural world acquiesce to the whims of the business model ~ which is ultimately unhealthy for all species including the humans who so ignorantly make such demands. Flaming idiots.

    Gov. Schweitzer says he’ll veto bans on moving disease-free bison onto state lands:

    1. Doryfun Avatar

      Hey Salle,
      I hear ya. Today Earth, tomorrow Mars. Us people can’t get past our own human nature. It must be in the genes. After learning about the real history of our country, from the time of Columbus forward, and being reinvorced by learning about the torture (described in Naom’s book) we continue to use, leaves me with little hope for much of a future change. (in human nature) I’m afraid all our nefarious baggage will get off with us on each new planet (or other parts of earth) we land on.

      1. Salle Avatar

        Sometimes I suspect that we humans are some parasitic species that either found its way to this planet or was put here by someone else as punishment to banish us and our stupidity to this planet. Or maybe we came here to destroy it… we could be aliens…?

        Have to wonder when we insist that we humans are superior and that we could exist without the other species… Of course, we know best…

        One of my favorite sayings: It’s the biosphere, stupid. (And I mean humans in general as the “stupid”.)


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