Yellowstone National Park proposes to kill roughly 1,000 wild bison this winter — mostly calves and females — as officials seek to reduce the animals’ annual migration into Montana.
Park officials are scheduled to meet Thursday with representatives of American Indian tribes, the state and other federal agencies to decide on the plan.
It marks the continuation of a controversial agreement reached in 2000 between Montana and the federal government that was meant to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis from bison to livestock.
Almost 5,000 bison roamed the park this summer. A harsh winter could drive thousands into areas of southwestern Montana.
Hunters, including from tribes with treaty rights in the Yellowstone area, are anticipated to kill more than 300 of the animals this winter. Others would be captured and slaughtered or used for research.
“Through the legal agreement the National Park Service has to do this,” said Yellowstone spokeswoman Sandy Snell-Dobert. “If there was more tolerance north of the park in Montana for wildlife, particularly bison as well as other wildlife, to travel outside the park boundaries, it wouldn’t be an issue.”
Yellowstone has one of the largest wild bison herds remaining in the world. Since the 1980s, more than 6,300 have been slaughtered and almost 1,900 killed by hunters.
Despite that aggressive effort, the park’s herds remain at near-record levels. Last winter, officials removed 737 of the animals, falling short of their target of up to 900 animals.
This year’s proposal puts more emphasis on killing females and calves, to reduce the population’s reproductive rate.
“They are a hardy species,” said Stephanie Adams with the National Parks Conservation Association. “But until there’s more room for bison to range beyond the park boundary, we’re going to have to rely on larger numbers of bison being sent to slaughter.”
The burly species, also known as buffalo, once roamed most of North America and numbered some 30 to 60 million animals, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
As the West was settled, commercial hunting drove bison nearly extinct. By 1884, an estimated 325 remained in the United States, according to the service.
Attempts to relocate portions of Yellowstone’s herds to avoid mass slaughters have seen minimal success, amid opposition from ranchers and landowners worried about disease and competition from bison for grazing space.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock last year proposed allowing bison to roam year-round in an area west of Yellowstone if the population drops to fewer than 3,500 bison. The Democrat has yet to make a final decision, spokesman Mike Wessler said Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Wm Michael Dooley says
I am opposed to this killing 1,000 Bison!!! We should send them to other states in small herds. This is a disgrace!
INFIDEL GEORGE says
That would cost the gubment money that they need to bring in and train their harbingers of the destruction of the USA as we know and love it!
Alex Kimbrough says
Fully agree with u!!
glenn sailer says
MR DOOLEY: GET A LIFE….WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR BEEF, CHICKENS AND PORK COME FROM????
Marlies Renee says
How is it that the wild animals were able to thin their own herds before so called mankind came along to make this choice they have no right to make, now we will see dead Bison laying to rot the way it was done before, take the sin, leave the rest because MANKIND was too stupid to eat the meat the Indians ate, they used every part of an animal they killed but no not us, AND I DON’T EAT ANY BEEF, PORK, CHICKEN, I refuse to eat the very meat they pump up to make a normal chick grow to full size and larger within six weeks, some times the chicken is too large to even hold it’s self up and the legs break, ever buy a chicken with a broken leg? How do you think it got that way, by pumping it up with animal steroids, antibiotics, and other crud that does US more harm than good, as so called humans we have more diseases than ever from our own ignorance of faster production. Mass killing is not going to do anything but wipe most of them out, if man was so smart we would take what we need but man is greedy, I say leave them alone, if you get attacked, then you should have not been trespassing in their home.
Better to kill off cattle than bison. Beef is bad and buffalo meat healthier for human consumption.
Relocate to other land is a better option. Ask native americans if they want them first. Screw this government.
INFIDEL GEORGE says
I too am apposed to this slaughter, and I agree that these bison should 1. Be utilized by our native brothers as food and tourist attractions at the various reservations within the buffalo’s natural range / 2. There are other, more heinous, beings on this planet that need harvesting and those be A-holes, Democrats, Liberals, Communists, Socialists and anyone that brings harm to the USA and her LEGAL citizens!
glenn sailer says
PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN THE HUNT WILL OCCUR AS I WANT TO PARTICIPATE….I DONATE A MAJOR PORTION
OF MY GAME KILLS TO LOAFS & FISHES. WHAT IS THE COST AND WHO DO I CONTACT????
What excuse will the manly hunters use for shooting calves: the thrill of danger?
This is nothing more than the federal government pandering to the Indians and valuing ranchers’ commercial profits over American wildlife. The Indians should be thankful they are not white, for if they were, the government would be arresting them for doing exactly the same thing they are now being privileged to do.
joe davis says
For years the U S Forrest Service fought the snowmobilers over riding in Yellowstone during the winter partially because of the bison! They said that we disturbed them and ruined their habitat! Now, they are just going to slaughter them! I believe that the real reason for not wanting us their in the winter, was so the government employees wanted to collect their un-employment and have the winter off! We rode by hundreds of bison and never encountered a problem! We respected them and they respected us! Our trails through the snow also allowed the wild life a path to travel on and made life easier on them so they did not have to travel through the deep snow and use more energy !!!
Bison are more efficient in grazing using less water–hence harder to make a ranching profit on. Consumers can increase demand for ‘grass fed bison’ bison/buffalo ground and steak meat in major food market chain stores.
Do ranchers and farmers need a viable option to give bison more room to graze?
The meat from the resulting proposed ‘culling’ will end up on the shelves and on someone’s table hopefully–who stands to profit from this?
Do you think I can bring my ten snowmobiles and chase around these dumb animals shooting all of them? I will do it for free.
wilbert jennings says
We allow our leaders to do some of the stupidest things and they keep doing more and more each day. There are people starving in America and yet we are going to slaughter so many buffalo and most of it want be food for anyone.
Every bison on government land should be regarded as the property of native Americans. Let the tribes be given exclusive rights to the animals to determine how to reduce the population, and let them decide who can hunt them. The tribes can hunt the bison themselves or sell hunting permits to non-natives, with all of the proceeds going to the tribes to improve living conditions on their reservations.
chick clark says
ronhart what you said makes to much sense but you are 100 percent right but look what blm and forrest service is doeing to the wild mustangs and wolf project ,. both of these projects cost the tax payers millions of dollars pinning the horses because they want to kiss the greedy rancher ass at the tax payers expense and I am a rancher my self this said,. if it was not for the horse and the windmill we would still be in the stone age ,. as we owe I very life to the horse who as a fact feed the people pulling the plow,. I know you can tell I am mad as hell with my government and I am a 100 per cent disabled veteran with two tours of duty with the101 air borne paid my dues to say what I want I thank it should be open season on trators to this country and no bag limit n
Captain Joel Blahnik says
The “majesty” of the bison is a North American “miracle!” & “gift!” We must preserve this resource and if decided to go into a “harvesting mode” can utilize the buffalo as a fantastic food resource, socially commercial, and also as a food resource for the “deprived” who do not have “their fingers” on these “units” that control this concern (esp. for the future!).
My perspective—-“HUG the BUFFALO” with respect and diligence,for their ‘ROLE’ as a food resource to the American Native tribes that utilized this resource “before the arrival of the white man ( who decimated this species) as “sport” (psycholligically as a carry-over of European warfare).
Let us build for the future with “buffalo farms!!!”
PEACE to these magnificent animals!
Agree with geezer. Geezettel
I totally disagree with the slaughter of Bisons and its a total disgrace .Native tribes once viewed the Bison as sacred animal just like cows in India ..Ancient tribes knew the Bison provided food and shelter but they did not killed them randomly or slaughter them in great numbers .