Montana Public Radio

Interagency Bison Management Plan

State, federal and tribal representatives tasked with managing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park voted again Tuesday to reduce the herd size as animals migrate out of the park this winter. 

Bison in Yellowstone National Park
YellowstoneNPS-flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday is challenging a long-contested bison hunt near Yellowstone National Park.

A group of Gardiner residents says the annual winter bison hunt just north of the park is unsafe for property owners, hunters, and tourists.

Yearling bison inside Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap.
Buffalo Field Campaign

At least 80 Yellowstone National Park bison are now trapped in government corrals. Hundreds more will soon follow suit and be sent to slaughter.

10 total bison tags will be available on the American Prairie Reserve this fall
(PD)

Yellowstone National Park today said it will begin capturing wild bison on Monday. Several hundred animals will be transferred to tribal groups for slaughter this year.

Bison
(PD)

The public is getting a chance to ask state and federal wildlife managers about bison management in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Cow bison with a newly born calf in Yellowstone National Park
Neal Herbert - Yellowstone National Park (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park might tolerate thousands more bison by 2017, or perhaps hundreds fewer. State and federal wildlife managers are developing a new Yellowstone bison management plan and several options are on the table.

Jackie Yamanaka

Another nearly 4-dozen Yellowstone National Park bison are scheduled to be loaded up today at the Stephens Creek Capture facility and delivered for slaughter in Big Timber and Columbus.

It’s part of the population control measures spelled out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

Yellowstone officials held a tour of the Stephens Creek facility yesterday.

Rick Wallen is the lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone’s bison program.

Yellowstone bison often leave the confines of the park in the winter for lower elevations in Montana.
Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park has started capturing bison near the park's north entrance and bison advocates have sued to stop it.

Disease management and carrying capacity are at the center of the operation.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a total of 800 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park could be removed.

"We're doing so to be able to approach the target bison population and to see if we can reduce the potential for a mass-migration of bison into Montana where there is still some limited tolerance."

Bison at the National Bison Range
Josh Burnham

Bison management always spurs passionate debate in Montana and a meeting tomorrow in Great Falls will consider whether wild herds should be established outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is considering that possibility.

Conservationist Keith Aune says he thinks Montana can develop a good plan. Aune's director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's bison programs.

lowjumpingfrog/flickr

National Park Service officials are announcing a partnership with the state of Montana to consider changes to managing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Hundreds of bison wander into the state from the park’s northern boundary during many winters.

Livestock owners worry about the animals damaging property and spreading disease.

The Park Service and the state have been operating under their current Bison Management Plan since 2001.

The agencies think it may be time for an update.