Montana FWP wants local anti-bison judge replaced on Gardiner Basin bison case

Judge who singlehandedly stopped years-in-making decision to let bison roam, not acceptable, says FWP-

Finally, after years, state and federal government agencies agreed to let bison begin to roam the Gardiner Basin just north of Yellowstone Park, but Park County district judge Nels Swandal sided with the Park County Stockgrowers Association to put the landmark agreement aside.

The stockgrowers were effective with their tired, but still effective arguments about spread of brucellosis and danger to people (the classic children at the bus stop argument). “Large numbers of bison now regularly congregate at school bus stops and other locations, interacting with children, elderly, and other individuals that live in the area to a degree not previously encountered,” Park County’s lawsuit stated.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and other agencies are asking for a new judge, but the existing judge (Swandal) gets to pick any replacement.

State wants new judge in bison case. By Carly Flandro. Bozeman Chronicle.

Meanwhile, we haven’t heard anything more about Park County prosecuting the man cited for shooting numerous .22 rounds among the houses to kill a bison.

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Regarding the views and actions of the Park County Commissioners, here is an interesting guest editorial. Guest column: We must rein in fears, attitudes over roaming bison. By Karrie Taggart (co-founder/coordinator of Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo in West Yellowstone — HOBNOB)

Montana probes killing of Yellowstone buffalo

Park bison killed by small arms fire-

It is redundant to call this sad and dangerous. Small arms are used not primarily to cause suffering, but to avoid a loud report from the gun attracting attention. Rural neighbors who are out to settle scores kill each others livestock this way.

Montana probes killing of Yellowstone buffalo. Laura Zuckerman. Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

Addition. Here is the story in the Island Park, Idaho newspaper. Bison haters attack roam-free policy.

4/23. More. Story makes it the U. K. Hunt for the Yellowstone bison serial killer after beasts shot in protected national park. The Daily Mail.

Buffalo Field Campaign: On-the-ground activism

Here are a couple of articles about the Buffalo Field Campaign and how they, and other groups are funded.  Contrary to popular belief BFC’s top paid people don’t make much money (trust me, I know this because I am on their Board of Directors).  BFC is also very efficient with its money and has very resourceful people working to maintain and improve its cars and property.  Most of its funds are spent on keeping people out in the field to document what happens to the buffalo and educating visitors to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park during the summer months.

Buffalo Field Campaign: On-the-ground activism.
By CARLY FLANDRO, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

The Donor Dance: How green groups stay funded.
By CARLY FLANDRO, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Bison Restoration in Montana

Buffalo Bull © Ken Cole

In February the National Wildlife Federation conducted a poll of 400 Montana voters and found that they are strongly in support of bison recovery in Montana.  Particularly, 70% say they support recovery in areas such as the Spotted Dog WMA near Deer Lodge and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge which covers 1.1 million acres in central Montana.

These results run contrary to the measures that the Montana Legislature has been to trying to push through which would make reintroduction of bison illegal or subject to the approval of county commissioners.

Among other findings, the poll showed that:

  • 63% of Montanans believe that it is possible to manage wild bison in much same ways as other wildlife species such as deer and elk.
  • 70% of Montanans favor having the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and parks investigate where wild bison populations could be restored.
  • 70% of Montanans favor allowing hunters to hunt wild bison
  • 72% s of Montanans support establishing a bison population at the 26,000 acre Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area, near Deerlodge
  • 70% of Montanans support establishing a population of wild bison in and around the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Montana.

Press Release.

Poll Results.

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 |

When Elk Fly

Montana, feds negotiating areas for buffalo to roam

If these negotiations are successful and result in the goals outlined then this would be a significant milestone in the buffalo wars that have raged since the mid 1990’s.

The arbitrary nature of the hazing and slaughter that has taken place over the years has taken a large toll on bison and cost millions of tax dollars with absolutely no positive results to show for it.  Allowing bison to use the Hebgen Lake Basin by moving the tolerance zone out to Quake Lake and allowing bison to use the Gardiner area by moving the tolerance zone out to Yankee Jim Canyon would give bison much needed winter habitat.

This is a step in the right direction.

Montana, feds negotiating areas for buffalo to roam.
Associated Press