©1999 Wolff Den Design - Lady Wolf - Ralph Maughans Wildlife Reports

 

The Yellowstone Bison Page Updates
 From the beginning of the slaughter through 1999.


99 Dec 31 Montana state wants to stop federal abandonment of the joint bison plan. Billings Gazette. Wisely, the federal government says it doesn't want to continue the pointless slaughter of bison. Montana's state government wants to carry their divisive stupidity into the 21 Century and are asking the federal district judge to not let the federal government withdraw.
99 Dec 18 Department of Livestock Sets the Stage for Continued Slaughter of Bison by Howard Davis, Chairman of the Board, Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
99 Dec 18 No Trace of Brucellosis Found in 80 Percent of Yellowstone Buffalo Examined After Slaughter. Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Not only that, but the percentage with brucellosis has declined. Meanwhile over 90% of the bison in Jackson Hole, WY are infected. That state of Wyoming, nevertheless, takes a relaxed approach to this problem, totally unlike Montana Governor Racicot and his bison killers.
99 Dec 16 Feds pull out of bison talks with Montana. By Joe Kolman. Gazette Bozeman Bureau. Once APHIS and the Montana DOL sang from the same songbook, but DOLs recalcitrance to try anything but slaughter send the feds to court to try and pull out of the now infamous "interim bison management plan."
99 Dec 15 Buffalo Field Campaign Report. The winter snow is starting to gather and the Montana DOL waits.
99 Dec 14 Bison Field Campaign Protests at Courthouse against a man who shot a Yellowstone bison on his Park boundary property. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
99 Dec 13 Yet another editorial. This one from the Billings Gazette. State Must be Cautious with Game Farms.
99 Dec 12 Editorial from the Missoulian. State was not Prepared for CWD Outbreak. I predicted over a year ago that mad elk disease would break out in Montana. I also worried at a public hearing about DOL's inattention to the threat of tuberculosis in game farm elk. When will that shoe drop? Is Montana DOL good at anything except shooting bison that wander from Yellowstone?
99 Dec 9 Buffalo Soldiers from Mother Jones. "The activists of the Buffalo Field Campaign are putting themselves on the line to try to stop the state-sponsored killing of the nation's last herd of wild bison" by Maryanne Vollers.
99 Dec 7 More on Racicot. Gov. Racicot for some reason is getting big national press, and he is slated for a high job in George Jr's Administration. Readers of the bison slaughter page must be puzzled by the national media's inattention to his role in the senseless bison slaughter. The bison, however, are not the only victims of his political ambition. Read about the situation in Libby, Montana (his home town) from the Billings Gazette. 12-11-99. Former U.S. Rep. Pat Williams says Montana is lying about the mine: State has known for years. Missoulian.
99 Nov 23 Is Montana's bison slaughter governor slated for a high post in the George W. Bush Administration? The campaign contributions are in, and many think champ fund-raiser George W. Bush is as good as elected President. Montana's governor Racicot, whose oily visage lurks behind the bison slaughter, is being billed as an honest, open governor who could become in charge of the environmental policies on your public lands. Montana enviros who know him say, "Yuk." Here is the story in the latest issue of Grist.
99 Nov 5 It's confirmed. Mad-elk disease enters Montana while Montana DOL looks the other way. Billings Gazette. Montana Wildife Federation calls chronic wasting disease the greatest threat to Montana wildlife in 100 years.
99 Oct 30 State pushes its anti-bison program By Joe Kolman Gazette Bozeman Bureau. It looks like it's going to be another unpleasant winter around West Yellowstone and Gardiner. The Montana DOL, apparently emboldened by Gov. Racicot's recent defense of their Yellowstone bison killing program, is going on the offensive as is the Buffalo Field Campaign (see article below) on the other side of the issue.
99 Oct 29 Buffalo Field Campaign Begins its Winter Season Defense of Yellowstone Bison with a demonstration at the office of Montana DOL. Their new release.
99 Sept 29 Chronic Wasting Disease attacks the deer and elk of the West. High Country News. Chronic wasting disease is a spongiform encephalopathy similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow" disease). The difference, if there is one, is that this disease attacks deer and elk. Many are pointing their fingers at elk ranches as the focal point of infection. Its spread is doubly alarming because the monomania of the Montana Department of Livestock about brucellosis seems to blind it to this threat to wildlife, and maybe cows and people. Spongiform encephalopathy is a fancy way of saying it eats out the brain until the brain looks like a sponge.
99 Jun 29 "Mad elk" disease infects Montana game farm elk. Billings Gazette. When we debated the Montana state vet at ISU last winter, I raised the question why the Montana Department of Livestock doesn't seem to care about any disease except brucellosis. I asked, what about the game farms? What about chronic wasting disease? He assured us everything was fine. As this story shows, things are not fine. It's time the Montana DOL begins to care about other animal diseases, and concern about human diseases from livestock (besides brucellosis, which no gets any more except careless vets), might be nice too. Did anyone notice the recent story about how some Montana livestock near Billings came down with anthrax? Yes, that's anthrax!
99 Jun 7 Racicot meets with George W, reportedly about job. Montana's bison-killer governor is in Texas today meeting with Governor George W. Bush, reportedly about a cabinet post or Vice Presidential job should Bush become President in 2001.
99 May 23 Another contentious bison winter ends as DOL hazes bison back into Yellowstone Park. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Another winter of strife and some bison slaughter appears to be over. The good news is that only 90 bison were slaughtered by the Montana DOL, not a significant number. The bad news is that this pointless policy will continue next year, and the governors of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming want even more taxpayer money spent.
99 May 7 Ninth Circuit Court Refuses to Halt Bison Slaughter. CNN. Sadly the status quo reigns and so the civil unrest and the bison slaughter seem destined to continue indefinitely.
99 May 7 Montana State Vet says they won't change bison policy. Billings Gazette. Gertenson says DOL will continue to capture and kill bison outside Park.
99 May 5 Racicot, Feds meet on Bison. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Racicot holds to rigid anti-bison positions.
99 May 3 National Wildlife Federation offers to pay for cattle brucellosis vaccinations. Bozeman Daily Chronicle
99 May 4 Bison Battle: Wildlife groups offer to pay ranchers for vaccinating cattle against disease by JENNIFER McKEE Billings Gazette.
99 May 4 Montana DOL rejects vaccination offer. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. As I predicted. Once again this shows DOL's real intent is just to kill America's bison.
99 May 8 National Wildlife Federation disappointed by weak response to offer. Billings Gazette.
99 Apr 14 Meaner and Nastier Montana DOL captures 60 bison for winter's biggest slaughter. News release Buffalo Field Campaign. Additional news: The Montana legislature tabled the proposal to return Montana bison management to the Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. So it remains with this single-minded, arrogant Department of Livestock. Ninth Circuit Court asked to halt the program.
99 Apr 9 U.S. Forest Service issues a warning to the Montana Department of Livestock for hazing buffalo in closed eagle habitat. News release from Buffalo Field Campaign.
99 Mar 31 Montana DOL finally has their Horse Butte Bison Facility Running, and they have Captured as many Additional Bison as were Captured and Killed so far all Winter. Yellowstone Bison Slaughter Expands. Montana Ignores Federal Call for Moderation, Captures 29 Buffalo in New Trap at Horse Butte . News release from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
99 Apr 1 West Yellowstone: State nabs 29 bison, 2 protesters by Joe Kolman. Billings Gazette
99 Apr 1 State Uses News Trap on 29 bison. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
99 Mar 31 Department of Livestock Hazes Illegally. Two Volunteers Arrested. Volunteers liberate 5 buffalo from Duck Creek Trap last night. News release from Buffalo Field Campaign.
99 Apr 2 Eighteen bison shipped to slaughter. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. by Scott McMillion. The article says 18 of the 29 bison tested for brucellosis, tested positive. Post-mortem analysis of bison that tested positive and were slaughtered this winter has revealed that the Deparment of Livestock's test has a very high false positive rate.
99 Mar 28 Montana's bison-killing governor for Secretary of Interior? Todd Wilkinson doesn't like the idea. Opinion Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The year 2000 elections are just around the corner. It could have big impacts for wildlife.
99 Mar 26 Montana Department of Livestock Baits 10 Bison with Hay and Sends 8 to slaughter.
99 Mar 20 DOL builds their bison capture pen and arrests 4 more protestors. Billings Gazette. DOL's last minute attempt to salvage the winter and do some real bison killing continues.
99 Mar 18 State of Montana orders Arrest of Buffalo Field Campaign folks. Defenders of Wildlife Condemn their actions. Given that winter is almost over and the few bison outside the park will soon return, it's pretty hard to view DOL's actions as anything other than revenge. Wonder if the Montana legislature showed the wisdom to take bison management away from the DOL? (see the story below).
99 Mar 18 Montana Legislature to consider bill today to take bison management from Montana Dept. of Livestock and give it to Montana Fish and Wildlife. Details fro Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
99 Mar 11 Feds Ask Montana DOL to "lighten up" on Bison. DOL says "no." Billings Gazette. Montana DOL maintains its hard-line attitude, hardly unchanged after three winters. Meanwhile the number of bison killings has fallen dramatically, mostly due to the actions of Buffalo Nations (note: they recently changed their name to Buffalo Field Campaign).
99 Mar 10 BISON EIS COMMENTS: Buffalo supporters oppose preferred government option by Joe Kolman Billings Gazette. Remember that Yellowstone bison environmental impact statement you commented on several months ago? Results of the public comments are out. 67,000 people commented and 47,000 supported the "Citizens Plan," drawn up by a number of conservation organizations. The majority of the rest of the comments favored other bison-friendly plans. There was almost no support for the government's "preferred alternative." There was a little support for the anti-bison plans.
99 Mar 8 Most bison killed this winter disease free says Greater Yellowstone Coalition. How can DOL justify this on top of their other flimsy excuses?  Not only do they kill infected females on a range that has no cattle in the winter or the spring, they kill bulls, and even uninfected bulls.
99 Mar 2 Proposed wasting disease rules draw fire from wildlife groups. Billings Gazette. Is the State of Montana inconsistent on how it treats brucellosis as compared to something that is really starting to worry many folks -- chronic wasting disease in deer and elk? More on "mad elk" disease from High Country News.
99 Feb 27 Indians gather at Yellowstone to protest buffalo killings. CNN. Sacred ceremony conducted.
99 Feb 23 Native Americans near their goal of Yellowstone. Gardiner to be reached Saturday. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.
99 Feb 20 Lakota Indian spiritual walk to save Yellowstone bison crosses into Yellowstone County, Montana (Billings). Billings Gazette. " 'This is a nonviolent spiritual walk to remind people that the indiscriminate killing of these sacred animals continues despite public outcry,' said Rosalie Little Thunder, a walk organizer and an elder of the Lakota nation."
99 Feb 9 BUFFALO WALK IS MORE THAN A SPIRITUAL TREK: OLD TRADITIONS AND NEW TECHNOLOGY BLEND AS HUNDREDS GATHER FOR A WALK DECRYING YELLOWSTONE BUFFALO KILLS. Chicago Tribune by Tracy Dell'Angela. The 507 mile "Sacred Buffalo March" to Yellowstone is underway.
99 Feb 9 A Senseless Slaughter in Montana. Opinion by Robb Brady of the Post Register (Idaho Falls, Idaho). I agree the slaughter makes no sense if preventing brucellosis spread is the goal or of convincing APHIS, or the states, that Montana cattle are safe. My hypothesis, which I shared with the Montana and Idaho State vets, in a recent debate, is that is due to professional tunnel vision and also a method of expressing hostility to Yellowstone National Park, the federal government, and people in other states by Montana's livestock establishment.
99 Feb 9 Blockaders Enter Third Week In Tripods on Forest Service Road 610 to Stop Construction of Buffalo Trap. News release from Buffalo Nations.
99 Feb 8 Buffaloed by Fear. Editorial in the Denver Post.
99 Feb 5 Nez Perce Tribe may consider Protest of Buffalo Kill. Spokane.net. This is the second native American tribe to begin protest against the Montana Department of Livestock's policy on Yellowstone bison.
99 Feb 5 Bison Hazed and Slaughtered. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Two more bison bulls were slaughtered by DOL. Brucellosis could theoretically be spread from bison to cattle if the cattle are exposed to infected bison afterbirth. There are no cattle in the area in the winter, bison do not give birth in the winter, and (perhaps news to those experts in the Montana Department of Livestock) bulls do not give birth, not even in Montana. Eighteen of the 21 bison slaughtered this winter have been bulls.
99 Feb 4 Bison Protesters Arrested. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.
99 Feb 3 Tripod Sitters Continue to Blockade Road. News release from Buffalo Nations.
99 Feb 2 U.S. Forest Service Grants Permit for a semi-permanent Horse Butte bison capture "facility." Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion. Now the stage is set from the confrontation with Buffalo Nations which is blockading where Montana DOL wants to put their bison capture pens. Does this whole affair remind anyone of anything else that goes on endlessly even though the public says "end it now?"
99 Jan 31 Indians plan march to Yellowstone to boost awareness of bison killing: 'The killing has to stop,' organizer says. Billings Gazette
99 Jan 27 DOL's Cow Chip-Science: Defenders Decries Montana's Yellowstone Bison Slaughter; Conservationists Provide Scientific Analysis. News Release. Defenders of Wildlife.
99 Jan 26 Buffalo Nations Blockades Construction of Horse Butte Bison slaughter facility. News release by Buffalo Nations. Protesters set up camp near where another pen is be built by Joe Kolman. Billings Gazette. Jan. 27.
99 Jan 25 West Yellowstone Garbage Board Refuses bison carcasses. Billings Gazette.
99 Jan 24 Lawyer arranging Free Legal Defense for Buffalo Nations. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It seems like more and more folks want to help BN.
99 Jan 24 Tribes not comfortable with Montana's Yellowstone Bison policy. Opinion in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
99 Jan 24 Buffalo Nations embodies long-term civil disobedience. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott Mcmillion. Will civil disobedience eventually save the bison so they can cross out of Yellowstone Park?  I asked the writers of the bison management EIS (during the public comment period) if they had calculated the cost of annual civil disobedience as one of the costs of their bison plan? We all know the answer.
99 Jan 21 Montana DOL Refuses to Alter its hostility to out-of-Park bison. Billings Gazette. As criticism rises from all quarters, Department of Livestock digs in.
99 Jan 18 There’s no defense for slaughter of park bison. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Opinion by author Todd Wilkinson. Wilkinson is author of the controversial Science under Siege. He really gives it to Racicot the the Montana DOL in the opinion piece above. He concludes, "If you, too, believe that Montana Gov. Racicot’s bison policy is based on Stone Age logic, send him a rock."
99 Jan 17 Buffalo Nations Asks for Volunteers. Buffalo Nations news release.
99 Jan 16 Construction starts on new bison trap. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Construction of the controversial bison trap at Horse Butte has begun. Now the Montana DOL will be able to trap more bison so it can "save them" (or other doublespeak), at least the minority of bison it doesn't decide to kill.
99 Jan 15 Rift among Indians on distribution on bison meat. Is distribution of the meat from these "diseased" animals to Native Americans something they want?
99 Jan 14 More bison defenders arrested; 5 more bison bulls sent to slaughter. Bozeman Daily-Chronicle. The bison tested positive, but few experts consider bulls capable of spreading infection. Jan. 13, 1999 - Buffalo Nations' news release on the blockade and arrests.
99 Jan 12 Major conservation groups decry the start of the winter slaughter. Buffalo Supporters Reflect on the Death of Eight Buffalo. This is from Buffalo Nations.
99 Jan 10 Finally some good news! DOL considers kinder, gentler bison policy. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The DOL is willing to consider not killing bison bulls or bison calves or cows who have already given birth. Given minute probability of transmitting this disease, especially when no cattle are in the area, is this finally a hint of cost/benefit rationality? DOL has said the past that this definition of "low risk" bison many not appease the state veterinarians in other states, but some folks believe the "alarm" of other states at infected bison in Montana may have been inspired by Montana either directly or indirectly. DOL is under new leadership, and hopefully they are working at a solution that will end the years of confrontation.
99 Jan 8 Idaho man opens DOL gate and releases bison. He is arrested. Billings Gazette on-line. The bison controversy reaches a new level with civil disobedience. January 9, 1999 - Mike Mease, co-founder of Buffalo Nations, arrested. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. One other protestor was also arrested. January 8, 1999 - No Cattle, No Justification: Montana Begins Slaughtering Yellowstone Buffalo to "Protect" Cattle that are Not There. News release from Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
99 Jan 8 Its finally started, DOL starts to capture bison for slaughter. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Just as I predicted, the bison hazing has ended in January, the DOL claimed it was useless, which it is, and they have begun to kill bison.  I also predicted civil disobedience, which has begun (see story above). Significantly they are going to "donate" the bison meat to "Indian tribes or charitable organizations."  Why are bison so "diseased" that they can't be tolerated in the area when the cows don't arrive until June, but the meat can be eaten by humans (or don't safety concerns for "Indians" and the poor count?).
98 Dec 16 Forest Service is taking additional comments on the Horse Butte bison capture facility. Billings Gazette
98 Dec 31 Action Alert: Comments on Horse Butte Buffalo Trap are due on January 13, 1999. You can email your objections now (click on "action alert"). Update on 1-6-99. The FS has changed the email address for comments.
98 Dec 23 Congressional committees tie up CUT purchase money. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. It's little more than political blackmail. Both the NPS proposal and the radical bison proposal hatched by their Department of Livestock were massively rejected by the American people during the comment period on the proposed bison plan.
98 Dec 21 -50 F. on the Solstice. Field report from Buffalo Nations. The "dis-information from the DOL the report speaks of, is this. Whenever DOL hazes some bison back into the park, it issues a news release saying something like this -- "Today the Montana Department of Livestock saved 85 bison." The response is this . . . saved them from what? The answer is, "the Department of Livestock," which is the only threat to them. DOL plans to start trapping them this winter, testing them, and then hauling the diseased ones off to the market.
98 Dec 14 Montana's Governor Mocks Public Opinion with his Stand on Bison. Opinion by Todd Wilkinson in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
98 Dec 10 Bison hazing operations continue. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Hazing has never worked for long.
98 Dec 7 More than 100 bison are outside Yellowstone Park. Buffalo Nations calls for volunteers.
98 Dec 2 Forest Service ignores the public and local landowners. Gives Montana Department of Livestock permit for Bison trap at Horse Butte. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. "Both [Governor] Racicot and Forest Service Regional Forester Dale Bosworth said the goal of the trap is to reduce the number of bison that must be killed." How can that be when every pregnant female trapped will be killed whether she tests negative for brucellosis. or not?
98 Nov 30 Latest Buffalo Nations update.
98 Nov 22 First bison/DOL conflict of the winter season erupts. Billings Gazette. Dr. Arnold Gertonson, the Montana state vet, provided a lot of disinformation in this news release. These "diseased bison" he talks about suffer no ill effects from the disease and are perfectly healthy. Second, the bison did not drift out of the Park due to lack forage in the Park, although later in the winter they may do so because the forage is too deep under the snow. I have been checking carefully since DOL and others started this talk of how Yellowstone is overgrazed.  For the last two seasons in October, the grasses in the Lamar Valley have at least 90% of their seed heads intact despite all of the ungulates that graze there. Furthermore, the formerly heavily browsed willows are coming back. Any wolf watcher will tell you this. The area at the confluence of Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River is a good example of a thriving willow community. Report from the field from Buffalo Nations. dated 11-20
98 Nov 17 Horse Butte area Residents Hate DOL's proposed bison trap. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. But of course, Montana's DOL has never paid much attention to the wishes of private property owners or the public.
98 Nov 17 Rough winter will bring bison confrontations. Billings Gazette on-line. I'm afraid it will. Montana's DOL hasn't learned a thing and is more arrogant than ever.
98 Nov 16 Preparations being made for Bison Migration. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
98 Nov 6 Bad news of the Bison this winter. Judge Lowell upholds the "interim" bison plan. Billings Gazette. Although the comment period just ended on the rotten new bison plan, the interim plan is worse. Note: The photo in this article is very misleading because it (1) old, (2) deals with an issue different from the DOL bison slaughter, (3) combines the old hunting issue in Montana with a recent news report from Wyoming.
98 Oct 14 First Buffalo Nations Report for the Winter. I do this as a service to Buffalo Nations, a hardly group of brave young people who protect the bison and face down the Department of Livestock Gunners for the last two winters. I don't necessary agree with everything they say, but you be the judge.
98 Sept 25 WILL WILD BUFFALO ROAM NO MORE? Indian Country Today. A great article by wildlife ecologist Virginia Ravndal.
98 Sept 6 Where the Buffalo Die. Denver Post editorializes against the proposed bison plan.
98 Aug 29 Wildlife Federation attacks elk-killing plan: Whitefish [Montana] legislator vows to create private shooting preserve. Billings Gazette On-line. "Game farms" are a growing problem in the West. Without arguing the ethics of them, nevertheless, they pose a disease threat to native wildlife and humans. While this article on indirectly mentions it, the hypocrisy of the Montana Department of Livestock is once again shown -- no interest in likely disease threats; much interest in killing Yellowstone bison despite any disease transmission in 75 years.
98 Jul 21 Here is an example of some excellent written public testimony on the bison controversy by a political scientist.
98 Jul 1 Draft environmental impact statement for the new bison management plan. This is a link to the government web site on the plan.  This the first time the public has been formally asked to comment on bison management in eight years -- eight bloody years where the politicians have ignored American citizens. The shots were called by western senators, Governor Racicot, and state veterinarians who seem to think the eliminating the never-transmitted brucellosis from wild bison is worth any cost in your money and our national natural heritage. Conservation groups are appalled at the draft plan, and they are developing their own proposal. Please stay "tuned." I will furnish further information. This is your chance to permanently stop Governor Racicot and his bison killers, but it's their modified proposal that is the preferred alternative; and they have the advantage.
98 Jun 21 Pearl Jam member goes to bat for bison. Billings Gazette on-line. Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, a Montana native, takes up the cause of the Yellowstone bison. Meanwhile, some Republicans are pushing Montana's bison-killer, cyanide-mining-supporter governor, Marc Racicot for President!
98 Apr 22 Bison make an unexpected spring exodus from Yellowstone Park. Over 250 bison are threatened by DOL.  Note: added on May 16, 1998. The situation was finally defused when, rather than killing the bison, the DOL drove them back into the park.  I wondered why the bison left the Park as the snow began to melt.  I traveled to the area.  My tentative conclusion is the bison came out to eat the early green grass growing along US 191. They also probably were seeking the salt from the highway (see photo)
98 Apr 20 Last Minute Threat to the Bison. Just when you thought the bison were safe for the winter, a last minute threat to them has come due to their movement out of the Park and the Department of Livestock.
98 Apr 13 Charges Dismissed Against Bison Slaughter Protester.
98 Mar 13 Post Register. Ads will seek more support for Yellowstone bison solution. The InterTibal Bison Cooperative and the National Wildlife Federation are launching an advertising campaign in hopes of increasing public interest in the problem of on Yellowstone National Park's wandering bison.
98 Mar 10 Racicot, Babbitt discuss bison management. Signs of a thaw on the bison slaughter?
98 Feb 28 Mild winter leads to lull in controversial bison killing. Post Register. The result of the mild El Niño winter has been that only eleven bison have been killed. The threat posed by further political battling and court suits have been averted for a time by the mild winter. I was in Yellowstone just a few days ago. The elk and bison are in fine condition compared to a year ago. Thanks also go to Buffalo Nations for hazing bison away from the Montana Department of Livestock. I think BN deserves a conservation award.
98 Feb 4 Buffalo Nations Protesters receive light sentences. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 2-4-98. I would predict that unless the politicans of Montana begin to respect the Yellowstone Country more than they do, civil disobedience will become a more or less permanent feature around Yellowstone as Americans, rightly or wrongly, come to try and defend their famous national park and the public lands around its borders.
98 Jan 30 Montana Department of Livestock Kills Six more Bison. News Release from Buffalo Nations. DOL has only killed eleven bison this winter due to efforts of Buffalo Nations and a milder winter, but DOL seems to be behaving as obnoxiously as possible when they do it. This is quite an article. Story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
98 Jan 23 First bison of winter lured to slaughter. News Release from Buffalo Nations. Note that last year this time about 500 bison had been slaughtered.
98 Jan 18 Buffalo Nations and DOL Butt Heads. Things are heating up, folks. Meanwhile, the snow is piling up fast.
98 Jan 13 Latest Buffalo Nations Update. There is still not a single bison that has been killed this winter.  However, the snow is finally beginning to pile up. In this latest BN update, they tell what they have been going near West Yellowstone to prevent Montana's Department of Livestock from starting the shooting.
98 Jan 5 Buffalo Nations Saves the First 16 bison. Last year at this time the slaughter was fully underway. The lighter snows of this year have kept bison inside Yellowstone Park, and Buffalo Nations has harassed the first 16 bison away from death at the hands of Montana's Department of Livestock. This is BN's late December update.
97 Dec 30 Noted biologist thinks Judge's feeding order is a bad idea
97 Dec 22 Buffalo Nations' latest Report.
97 Dec 18 Good News? Montana Federal Judge Limits Bison Kill. Article in Post Register. U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell rules he will not let more than 100 Yellowstone Park bison be killed this winter without a court hearing. Although last year Lovell refused to halt or order a modification of the plan while 1100 bison were slaughtered, I understand he was very upset by what happened.  In the latest case he dressed down both federal officials and Racicot's bison-killing officials. He will require weekly reports from now on from both federal and state agencies.
  There is even more to his decision -- good things and bad things to a number of contrasting points of view. Judge says Yellowstone Park must prepare to feed bison, closing roads. Article in the Post Register, Dec. 19.

People who don't want bison outside Yellowstone will like the judge's order which requires preparation for artificial feeding of bison in the Park. People who are mostly concerned about dead bison rather than natural management of the Park will like his decision. Those who are really worried about brucellosis won't like the decision (are their really any such people). This is because artificial feeding will concentrate the bison and facilitate the organism's spread. Those who want to stop snowmobiles will like the decision because the judge is ordering contingency plans for closing roads. Those who worry about the spread of noxious weeds (invasive alien plants) will not like the artificial feeding because the feed will bring weeds.

97 Dec 10 Montana officials disagree with change in bison plan. Story in Post Register. Despite pleas, Montana officials oppose any changes from the plan last year that killed 1100. It will be up to the weather, the Park Service, and citizens to keep the bison away from Governor Racicot's bison killers. I wonder if Montana will leave piles of bison guts on public and private property this winter like they did last?
97 Dec 6 Yellowstone Park rangers to try and haze bison away from Governor Racicot's bison killers. Story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
97 Dec 4 Buffalo Nations' latest update. Is the slaughter about to begin?
97 Nov 30 Wyoming update.
97 Nov 24 Buffalo Nations Bison Update. 60,000 signatures against the slaughter are delivered to Governor Racicot. The National Wildlife Federation, the largest and most conservative of the national conservation organizations, has collected over 60,000 signatures from summer visitors to Yellowstone National Park. Those signing, oppose the killing of bison that wander outside the boundaries of the Park seeking winter forage. The signatures have been turned over to Montana Governor Marc Racicot.
97 Nov 12 Update: What's going on right now?
97 Nov 7 Buffalo Nations to help drive bison from private property this winter. Link to an article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
97 Oct 15 First news release of the winter season from Buffalo Nations.
97 Oct 11 Fed offers to help end bison slaughter. It looks like letters to the Clinton Administration might have begun to help. The federal agency APHIS, one of the major culprits behind the slaughter has been directed to take steps to avoid another bison massacre this winter. Whether Montana will go along is another question.
97 Sept 30 The Greater Yellowstone Coalition gives its view on the proposed new bison management plan.Yellowstone's Country's premier conservation group criticizes the proposed new bison plan, which has been delayed from public release for several months. In my view, the coming winter looks like another bleak one for wild bison, and the future looks bleak for Wyoming ranchers, elk hunters, and wildlife enthusiasts with this single-minded federal agency, APHIS, having seized the reigns of wildlife management in the Yellowstone Country.
97 Aug 28 The National Parks and Conservation Association announces the "Bison Belong" campaign. I have learned that on July 25, NPCA announced the "Bison Belong" campaign. They are seeking support from Montana business offering each business a chance to become a "bison friendly business" if they agree to five principles:
  1. 1:   Wild bison are a symbol of the American West that must be protected.
  2. 2:   A healthy and wild Yellowstone bison herd contributes to the quality of visiting the Park and the vitality of the Montana business community.
  3. 3:   The business opposes the killing to wild bison.
  4. 4:   The Montana and the national government must agree on suitable winter habitat for bison in Montana, so the wild bison in Yellowstone can roam safely into Montana during the winter.
  5. 5:   The governor of Montana [Marc Racicot] and federal officials must find a solution to the dispute before the winter of 1997-89 begins.
  In just a month they have enrolled nearly 200 businesses in towns and cities adjacent to the Park. Here is the list. I know most visitors want to patronize businesses that want to keep and protect the Yellowstone County, but how to tell? This is the first time I have seen a list like this. As a rule of thumb, if the business supports wild bison, they probably support other efforts to prevent Western "wise use" officials and APHIS turning Yellowstone into a de facto ranch. Download this list and take it with you. I am on my way soon to Red Lodge, Montana. Now I know where to stay!

In other news, the federal agency, ADC (Animal Damage Control) has changed its name to "Wildlife Services." I wonder how many animals will receive their services this year?

97 Aug 23 Thrower of bison innards gets 190 days.
97 Aug 22 As a service to Buffalo Nations I have made their latest update into a web page. I do not necessarily endorse all their proposals or tactics. I mean, after all, if they were a serious group wouldn't they be handing out money to congressional politicians instead of trying to educate visitors to Yellowstone?  ;-)
97 Aug 12 "APHIS blunders into Wyoming and much more." I haven't had time to an update on the bison for a while, but there is a lot of news, none of it good.
  • Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund sues to stop the "interim" bison plan.

  • The plan that resulted in the deliberate killing of over 1100 bison last winter is still in effect and will probably govern bison "management" for the winter of 1997-8. As a result the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (SCLDF, pronounced "skull duff") is suing in federal court to try and get the plan set aside for this winter.
  • The new bison plan is delayed
  • The final plan for bison management was supposed to be available to the public for comment on July 31. This is the plan discussed in my articles of June 22, June 26, and July 20 (all above). However, due to infighting among state and federal agencies and within state and federal agencies, the plan has been delayed. According to the new schedule, work on the draft plan is to be completed by Sept. 30. Next is will be printed and released to the public on Oct. 24. Then, the public will have 120 days to comment. The final version will be issued June 15, 1998, and formal adoption of a new management plan is to occur Aug. 15, 1998. Remember that the "preferred" option has already been chosen (see my June 22 article). This delay also means that the likelihood of another bison slaughter this winter is growing because the old "interim" plan will be in effect unless the lawsuit by SCLDF is successful.
  • APHIS blunders into Wyoming

  • As I indicated in several of the articles above, the federal agency APHIS is expanding both the geographic boundaries and the degree of the conflict. I say APHIS has "blundered" into Wyoming, but that might not be true.  I have learned that one of high officials in APHIS is a real zealot on the matter. He actually believes brucellosis can eliminated from its animal vectors in the GYE. The Wyoming situation is complicated. Here it is in more detail.
97 Jul 20 Eight prominent wildlife scientists do say the bison plan undermines the essence of a national park as a functioning natural ecosystem. On the 15 th of July they wrote to President Clinton asking him to overturn the plan the Park Service has agreed to with APHIS (the federal Animal, Plant Health, Inspection Service), the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Montana.
      The scientists are Mark S. Boyce and Evelyn H. Merrill at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point; Robert A. Garrott of Montana State University, Cathy Whitlock University of Oregon; Andy Dobson of Princeton University; Nancy Stanton, chair of the University of Wyoming's department of zoology and physiology; Linda Wallace of the University of Oklahoma; and Samuel J. McNaughton of Syracuse University. All have done research on and in Yellowstone National Park.  With the exception of Professor Boyce, they were apparently not invited to testify at the congressional hearings on wildlife management in Yellowstone held early last spring. See my March 4 update.
The scientists said, among other things, to the President, that they support the Park's policy of natural regulation which began 29 years ago. The natural regulation policy began in the late 1960s after years of controversy about Park rangers shooting elk and bison and proposals for hunts inside Yellowstone Park. The eight scientists wrote:

      Since 1968 populations of bison and elk have fluctuated according to natural variation in forage production, winter severity, disease and predation. . . . In 1995 with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone, all of the ecological components are in place to permit Yellowstone to function unimpeded by human influence. . .
      Fluctuations in bison abundance may be fundamental to the natural functioning of the Yellowstone ecosystem because of the effects that bison have on vegetation when they are abundant, and because their carcasses provide important protein for grizzly bears and other scavengers following severe winters. . . .
      Scientists recognize the value of this [natural] park management policy because parks are ecological baselines by which we can evaluate the consequences of human management on landscapes outside the parks.

I believe I said earlier that wolves would help be a big step forward in natural regulation inside the Park. I'm pleased that those much more knowledgeable than I came to the same conclusion. They do disagree with my earlier comments, however, and apparently see the new plan as more of a threat to natural regulation than I did.

97 Jun 26 Some are saying that the proposed new agreement marks the end of Yellowstone's "natural regulation" policy of wildlife. . . not really, I think. The number of bison will not be allowed to grow over about 2500. Humans will then limit the further growth. On the other hand, the reintroduction of wolves is a big step forward in natural regulation of populations. Now we have wolves, bears, cougar, bobcats, coyotes, and fox, plus birds of prey, influencing the size of animal populations inside Yellowstone National park. The biggest disappointment in the preferred alternative to me is the continued hysteria over brucellosis. If western politicians had half as much concern over human disease and the poor vaccination rate of children in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, folks in these states would be much better off.
97 Jun 22 A "preferred alternative" has been selected by the various governments for the new bison management plan. This will be open to public (your) comment when it is officially released. This new plan is intended to replace the "interim" plan that resulted in so much slaughter this last winter. There is some good and bad in the preferred alternative. Details. Here is the official news release. I received it today (6-25).
97 Jun 17 Fears that this year's "recruitment" of new bison would be small are now confirmed. Fewer than 150 bison calves have been counted, guaranteeing that the Yellowstone bison herds will go into the winter of 1997-8 with a population barely larger than the present reduced population of about 1700. About 3400 bison were present before last winter's slaughter and winter die-off. About 1100 were deliberately killed and about 600 died of starvation, not because of deteriorated range; but because a mid-winter thaw, followed by a storm and a freeze covering the grass with a foot of solid ice with snow on top of that.

The government is still operating under the so-called "interim plan". If this plan is not changed a renewed slaughter may occur next winter. The only saving grace would be a mild winter. Mild weather may be in order because El Nino has appeared again in the Pacific Ocean. El Ninos usually bring precipitation-sparse winters to the Yellowstone Area.
An environmental impact statement is scheduled to be released this summer on options for bison management. If one of these is formally adopted by next fall, it would replace the interim plan. I will keep folks posted about the EIS and how they can respond to it. As a matter of fact, see the next story (added on June 22).
97 Jun 4 The intertribal bison cooperative meets in Bozeman and likens the slaughter of the bison to the 19th century slaughter of Native Americans.
97 May 25 A Park Service study concludes Yellowstone's northern range is not overgrazed
97 May 10 Bison are safely herded back into the Park. Yellowstone National Park officials have herded 107 bison, which tested negative for brucellosis, back into the Park. The deployment of cattle west of the Park has been delayed due to bad weather. Other news: controversial Montana state vet packs his bags.
97 Apr 30 Will Governor Racicot order out his gunners to kill the bison on May 1.? Stand by! There are bison outside of the Park at Horse Butte and along U.S. 20 (leading into West Yellowstone from Idaho) and U.S. 191 (going north from West Yellowstone). Presently a blizzard is underway.
97 Apr 25 Latest Update. Most bison move away from Park boundaries, but all eyes are on the first of May. Additional: The federal agency Animal Damage Control (ADC) has changed its name to "Wildlife Services." I wonder how many wildlife they will "service" before 1997 is over?
97 Apr 22 Montana just keeps it up. Another alert from the Bison Advocacy Project.
97 Apr 9 Will a new bison slaughter gear up in May? Another alert from the Bison Advocacy Project.
97 Apr 7 Is Yellowstone Overgrazed? Opinion piece by George Wuerthner.
97 Mar 27 Alert from the Bison Advocacy Project. I was not familiar with this group (new I suppose). The alert was emailed to me. I am posting it to provide information on their view. I have also added some comments of my own.
97 Mar 24 Rotten bison innards dumped on Gov. Racicot and Secretary Glickman.
97 Mar 20 Only a thousand bison still alive in latest count.
97 Mar 18 Bison Update: Americans eat Yellowstone buffalo burgers; Yellowstone Park Rangers Protest the bison slaughter.
97 Mar 8 Montana Celebrates Yellowstone's Birthday by killing 1000th bison of the winter
97 Mar 4 Bison update. Politics, politics!!
97 Feb 27 Bison slaughter update.
97 Feb 18 CNN story on the bison.
97 Feb 11 Bison Update. New federal flexibility on brucellosis, but the Park Service is forced by lack of success in hazing to begin capturing bison again.
97 Feb 5 Bison Update. Feds act to save the bison; Montana continues the kill.
97 Jan 30 Editorial: "Slaughter isn't Management" from the Idaho Falls Post Register
97 Jan 30 Bison update. Jan. 30. Yellowstone opts out of its part in the slaughter.
97 Jan 27 News release by Yellowstone National Park on the "bison operations."
97 Jan 25 Lawsuit filed for an emergency injunction to halt bison slaughter.
97 Jan 16 Yellowstone bison slaughter alert! This was the first article on what was to become an endless and pointless controversy. RM 1-14-2001


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