Nature Conservancy Statement Regarding Bison Killing in Idaho

The Wildlife News got it wrong and wishes to issue a retraction of the story published yesterday about the incident where a bison was killed by the State of Idaho yesterday.  We regret the error and have agreed to publish this statement by The Nature Conservancy.  Folks should not forget that had the Nature Conservancy not purchased the bulk of Henry’s Lake Flat about 20 years ago, the Flat would have very likely have been turned into a ugly subdivision by now, given its beauty and prime location.

Nature Conservancy Statement Regarding Bison Killing in Idaho

July 27, 2012

A great deal of misinformation has been circulating about the killing of a bull bison by the Idaho Department of Agriculture in Idaho’s Henry’s Lake Flats.  The purpose of this statement is to provide some fundamental facts that show The Nature Conservancy had no role in the killing of this bison.

Yesterday, an employee of the Idaho Department of Agriculture shot and killed a bison that had moved from Yellowstone National Park area into the Henry’s Lake Flats area in Idaho.  The bison was shot on the right-of-way along State Highway 20, the major highway running through the valley toward Yellowstone.

The bison was not shot on Nature Conservancy property.  The Conservancy was not responsible in any way for the killing of the bison.  Our staff and volunteers in Idaho are saddened about this unfortunate situation and the death of the bison.

The Conservancy’s Flat Ranch borders the highway where the bison was killed.  We have received no confirmed reports that the bison ever was on the Flat Ranch.  The bison was bedded down outside the ranch’s fence line on the highway right-of-way.

Further, neither the Conservancy, nor any of its employees or volunteers had anything to do with the decision to kill the bison.

A Conservancy volunteer working at the Flat Ranch did contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to report that a bison was grazing along the highway.  The volunteer made the call out of concern for the bison and motorists, fearing the animal might be hit by a fast-moving car.

Immediately after the volunteer placed the call, a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the bison’s location.  No one at the Conservancy called the sheriff or the Idaho Department of Agriculture. The Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Agriculture both have confirmed that another local landowner contacted them.

The Conservancy has long been a leader in bison management and conservation, returning bison to a number of its preserves across the Great Plains and, most recently, into northern Mexico.






Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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