The importance of Horse Butte-
This is a photo of Horse Butte taken on April 13, 2008. The bare slope is extremely critical spring bison range, and Montana Department of Livestock tries to kick the bison off it every spring despite the Hose Butte Grazing allotment being closed and the rest of the Butte owned by people who want to see bison.
Gardiner, Montana is the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
The area around Gardiner is much lower than the rest of Yellowstone Park, so hungry bison naturally travel downhill from the deep snow seeking the bare ground.
West of the Park, however, the country is flat and almost the same elevation as inside the Park. So why do they leave to the west?
The major reason is Horse Butte, a long low ridge that runs east to west, presenting a long bare south-facing slope to the rays of the spring sun.
In the past Montana Department of Livestock has been adamant that bison won’t get to use this grass although there are no cows to eat it in the spring, summer or fall. Moreover, the people who own the Butte and most neighbors want to let the bison use the butte.