Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Bison to Move Farther North into Montana


Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that “An agreement among state, federal and tribal officials expected to be adopted this week would let Yellowstone National Park bison roam more freely across tens of thousands of acres in southern Montana.”

The area in southern Montana that the article was referring to is the Gardiner Basin. 

We spoke with Christian Mackay, Executive Officer of the Montana Department of Livestock on Thursday.  He says that this agreement will make, for the first time, an actual physical barrier for bison.  That physical barrier, which the bison will not be allowed north of, is Yankee Jim Canyon.  South of this barrier, he says, very few cattle remain and bison will be allowed in on a seasonal basis.

Christian outlined that the decision to open up more area for bison will not open the state of Montana up for more brucellosis risk.

While details will still need to be worked out, it is expected that bison hunting will be allowed in that area to help manage the population.

Christian explained a zero tolerance policy for bison that went farther north, saying that they do not want the concept of how to get out stored in the herd memory.

While the agreement is still expected to be adopted this week, work will need to be done within the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to get everything in place.  Christian expects that the plan will be fully functional by next season.  The IBMP partners will be hosting an open house Thursday, April 14 to provide an overview of these changes to those interested.  It will be at the Yellowstone Association Building in Gardiner (308 Park Street, formerly the Cecil’s Building).

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


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