Due to a mild winter, Yellowstone’s bison herd, which is plenty large, has remained inside the Park this winter. Montana’s Department of Livestock has had few to truck off under the fiction that they are dangerous to cattle, and Montana hunters who saw the state give a big increase this year for expensive bison tags have had little to hunt.
The bison hunt is controversial, in my view, because Montana refuses to give the bison any habitat, even though plenty of cattle free habitat exists to the west and NW of the Park. In the winter of 2005-6, a lot of bison left the Park and the small number bison hunt tags were quickly filled. For some reason, the state assumed that this large out-migration would happen every year, so this year they greatly increased the number of tags sold and did nothing to give bison room to roam beyond the Park.
Those who support bison being freed from their Yellowstone prison and bison hunters, who flat out got screwed, have plenty to complain about. The solution is easy — free the bison, but Montana’s state officials still won’t listen. They are blaming the bison for failure to migrate! No, it is not that unusual for the bison to stay in the Park. Montana government has only its selfish self to blame.
I hope the congressional investigation digs up the dirt that is obviously being hidden in Helena.
Story in the Billings Gazette. Bison staying in park this winter. By Mike Stark.