On this year’s ritual hazing of the Yellowstone bison

Jackson Hole Weekly has feature article on the annual ritual of stupidity, malice, and waste of money-

Every May the Montana’s Department of Livestock, and employees from various other Montana and federal agencies haze bison deep into Yellowstone Park.  During the winter, the bison migrate westward out of the Park to graze and give birth (calve) on or near Horse Butte. Here they are welcome by almost everyone except these hard-bitten bureaucrats with their plan to keep imaginary cattle from getting brucellosis from these real bison.

Every year this political ritual, the haze, is conducted in a slightly different way because the number of bison varies as does the political climate. This year deep snow made hazing pretty much impossible until June 1. I don’t like to see the bison abused, of course. Even more, I don’t like to see the national park violated; but to me, though, it is the persistent illustration of human social pathology that bites. Fortunately, this year Benjamin R. Bombard of the Jackson Hole Weekly wrote a long feature article on the haze.

Over time it seems to me that all involved (human and other animals) have learned to play their role in the ritual, albeit unwillingly.


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