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

Lawmakers vote to keep wild bison off Montana land

…..and do it with a boatload of arrogance

John Brenden R-MT

Not surprisingly, the Montana Senate voted on a bill that would keep Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks from relocating bison anywhere in the state except for the National Bison Range in northwest Montana for the next two years. The Montana House has yet to pass any similar bill but there are many being considered.

Governor Brian Schwietzer has promised to veto any bills of this nature.

Senator Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, D-Crow Agency summed up what could result from this action.

“If the attack on buffalo continues, they will be listed as an endangered species. I don’t think you want to do that.”

To rub it all in with a strong note of arrogance, Sen. John Brenden sang a couple of bars of “Home on the Range” to the protests of Democrats.

If anyone thinks that western states aren’t run by the landed nobility you might want to think again.

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Update. Ralph Maughan on the teabagging Republican Brenden. Brenden Farms got almost $500,000 in farm subsidy payments from 1995-2009. That is about $34,000 a year.
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A09372868

Over 15 years that would be an average of $33,152/Year.  Some might call this federal government hater a hypocrite, and a mean one at that.

Montana governor blocks shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter, suggests Park feed the bison

This is a strange turn of events.

Montana gov blocks shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter, suggests park feed animals.
Matthew Brown – Associated Press

Here is the actual executive order signed by Brian Schweitzer:
Governor Schweitzer Stops Importation of Bison into Montana for 90 Days

Feb. 16. Schweitzer halts bison slaughter. Bozeman Chronicle. By Carly Flandro. (added by Maughan)

Read the rest of this entry »

Judge clears way for Yellowstone bison slaughter

Decision will be appealed
513 bison at risk of being slaughtered

Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign, Tatanka Oyate, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Native Ecosystems Council, Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation filed for a temporary restraining order in hopes of keeping Yellowstone National Park from sending 513 bison being held in the Stephens Creek capture facility to slaughter. Unfortunately, but expectedly, Judge Charles Lovell denied our request.

The decision will be appealed to the 9th Circuit.

Judge clears way for Yellowstone bison slaughter.
By Laura Zuckerman | Reuters

Is Gardiner, Montana, the Selma, Alabama, of Wildlife Conservation?

“On bigotry and bison management at Yellowstone National Park”-

It think this is a fine opinion piece in New West. Is Gardiner, Montana, the Selma, Alabama, of Wildlife Conservation? By Michael Leach, Guest Writer.

I kind of feel the same way as Leach.

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Note that Leach, who used to work for the Park Service, but longer does, has started Yellowstone Country Guardians. It is in our blogroll. He seems to attract enthusiastic young people to learn about Yellowstone.

Greater Yellowstone Bison show signs of inbreeding.

Government slaughter could irreparably harm bison species.

Buffalo on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

Recently I referenced unpublished data indicating that bison suffer from compromised mitochondrial DNA which could be exacerbated by government slaughter without any examination as to how it will affect the already genetically compromised herd.  That information has now been released.

Historically, bison have gone through what is known as a bottleneck where the population declined to such a low number that their genetic diversity became severely limited. The Yellowstone herd of bison is derived of only about 50 individuals, half of which were brought in from other areas such as northwest Montana and Texas. In recent years, while conducting repeated culling – where greater than half of the Yellowstone herd could be killed either by slaughter or winter kill – government managers never studied how their actions affected the genetics of the bison. For example, prior to the winter of 2007/2008 the population was estimated to be 5,500. That winter 1,631 buffalo were killed by the government and hunting but an additional 1,500 died from starvation due to the harsh winter that they were unable to escape because their habitat has been so curtailed by the policy of Montana and its greedy livestock industry. This left only 2,300 bison, or less than half of the bison herd, the following spring and possibly irreparably harmed the remaining genetic diversity of the herd. Read the rest of this entry »

*NEWS: Conservationists Seek Emergency Injunction To Prevent Yellowstone Bison Slaughter

Conservationists Seek Emergency Injunction To

Prevent Slaughter of Yellowstone Bison

Harsh Winter Conditions May Lead to Repeat of 2008 Slaughter

Contacts:

Tom Woodbury, Western Watersheds Project: (406) 830-3099
Dan Brister, Buffalo Field Campaign: (406) 726-5555
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign: (406) 646-0071
Glenn Hockett, Gallatin Wildlife Association: (406) 581-6352

Bison in deep snow © Ken Cole

Bison in deep snow © Ken Cole

HELENA, MONTANA – A coalition of conservation groups, Native Americans, and Montanans filed an urgent motion for injunctive relief in federal court today to prevent a repeat of the 2008 slaughter of over 1400 wild bison captured on public wildlands near the border of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

Many of the same factors that contributed to the mass slaughter in 2008, including heavy snowpack, bison population size, and the continuing agency intolerance for migrating bison, are in place this year as well.

With the Stephens Creek bison trap inside the Park already near capacity, and more bison migrating toward their natural winter range in Montana to forage at lower elevations, Park Service Spokesperson Al Nash indicated that the agencies may begin sending hundreds of bison off to slaughter whether they carry the disease brucellosis or not.  While it is concern over the possible transmission of brucellosis to cattle that is the justification offered for preventing bison from utilizing their winter range in Montana, at the present time there are no cattle present in the bison’s winter range corridor, and no risk of transmission.  And that, according to the Plaintiffs challenging the bison management plan in federal court, perfectly illustrates why the plan needs to be scrapped.

“One of the twin goals of the bison management plan is ‘to ensure the wild and free-ranging nature of American bison’,” said Tom Woodbury, Montana Director for Western Watersheds Project, “but ten years into the plan, there is still zero tolerance for bison being bison on our public wildlands.”

Read the rest of this entry »

300 Buffalo Captured at Yellowstone National Park’s Northern Boundary

Those that test positive for brucellosis exposure to be slaughtered

The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone has begun in earnest. Today Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers witnessed the capture of at least 300 buffalo in the Stephens Creek capture facility.

It appears that 13 of the bison captured were from the group of 25 allowed to leave the Park under a $3.3 million deal between conservation groups, the government, and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Those bison were captured and taken back to the Park on Friday and another one was shot because agents said she refused to go where they wanted her to. This leaves 10 out of the Park on those lands with another one whose whereabouts are unknown. The captured bison also probably include the 62 which were released from the Stephens Creek trap on Thursday.

This deal was touted as a “major breakthrough” by the groups who supported it but so far it has been an expensive fiasco.

Generally around 50% of bison test positive for exposure to brucellosis and Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, told the Buffalo Field Campaign that all of the bison that test positive for brucellosis exposure will be slaughtered. The test does not conclusively show that the bison actually have brucellosis and culture tests done in the past, which look for the actual bacteria rather than antibodies expressed by the buffalo, show that the rate of infection is actually much lower.

Yellowstone Releases 62 bison from Stephens Creek capture facility

Good news is hard to come by in this issue.
Here is today’s Buffalo Field Campaign weekly update.
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Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field
and in the policy arena to protect America’s last wild buffalo.

Buffalo Field Campaign

Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
January 27, 2011

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ACTION REWARDED! Yellowstone Releases 62 Bison!
* ‘Corridor to Nowhere’ Continues to Harm Wild Bison
* Update from the Field–Bison ‘Hunt’ Continues Along Yellowstone Boundary
* VOLUNTEER!  Please Join BFC on the Front Lines!
* Just $10 for Wild Bison 2011 Calendars! Accepting Photos for 2012 Calendar
* Last Words
* By the Numbers
* Helpful Links

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* ACTION REWARDED! Yellowstone Releases 62 Bison!

Buffalo Supporters,

Thank you for contacting Yellowstone’s Acting Superintendent Colin Campbell to urge him not to slaughter the 62 bison currently confined in the Stephen’s Creek trap.   After receiving hundreds of phone calls and emails on behalf of these bison, the Park announced this afternoon that all the bison will be released!  Please give yourselves a pat on the back and take a moment to contact acting Superintendent Campbell and thank him for doing the right thing.

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Read the rest of this entry »