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Once again the state of Montana, along with Yellowstone National Park, are killing bison migrating out of Yellowstone National Park. The slaughter of Yellowstone’s bison is represented as a disease contamination program, but it is really a sham. If disease control were the issue, we wouldn’t be killing bison. The more you know about the brucellosis-bison issue, the angrier you get. For instance, news reports always note that so many bison “tested positive” for brucellosis. Most people assume that this means that the bison in question have brucellosis. In reality field-testing only demonstrates that the bison in question have antibodies to brucellosis. They have been exposed to the disease—perhaps even in the womb, but it doesn’t mean they can readily transmit the disease. I would test positive for polio because I was “exposed” to polio virus as a youngster—but I cannot transmit polio to anyone.

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter a Sham

Once again the state of Montana, along with Yellowstone National Park, are killing bison migrating out of Yellowstone National Park. The slaughter of Yellowstone’s bison is represented as a disease contamination program, but it is really a sham. If disease control were the issue, we wouldn’t be killing bison. The more you know about the brucellosis-bison issue, the angrier you get.

For instance, news reports always note that so many bison “tested positive” for brucellosis. Most people assume that this means that the bison in question have brucellosis. In reality field-testing only demonstrates that the bison in question have antibodies to brucellosis. They have been exposed to the disease—perhaps even in the womb, but it doesn’t mean they can readily transmit the disease. I would test positive for polio because I was “exposed” to polio virus as a youngster—but I cannot transmit polio to anyone.

Secondly, transmission of brucellosis is difficult and seldom—if ever—happens, with wild free roaming animals. The usual pathway for transmission is for a cow bison to abort an infected fetus. Then a domestic animal like a cow has to come along and lick the fluid before the brucellosis bacteria dies—which under wild conditions is fairly quickly since the bacteria is not able to survive outside of the body. The domestic animal would also have to beat a scavenger like coyote, raven or other animal to the aborted fetus before the scavengers consume it.

Additionally, nearly all bison abortions—and abortion in wild bison is an extremely rare event—occurs in the late winter. In most of the habitat used by bison at this time of year, cattle are not present. They are back at the home ranch being fed hay. That is why simply keeping cattle and bison separated is a fairly easy solution to conflicts—if a solution were something that the Ag boys were interested in creating.

Third, because it is through abortion of a fetus, bison calves, and bison bulls cannot transmit the disease even if they have it, yet calves and bulls are regularly killed. If fear of brucellosis transmission were really driving this program, there would be no reason to kill these animals.

Fourth, far more elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem carry brucellosis than bison. A high percentage of elk in Wyoming carry brucellosis because of the feed grounds that the Wyoming Game and Fish maintains. The unnatural concentration of elk favors brucellosis transmission. Yet the US Dept. of Agriculture does not require the state to close the feed grounds that would go a long ways towards reducing brucellosis occurrence in the ecosystem. Additionally, they don’t slaughter elk—at least not yet. Why? Because hunters and perhaps, more importantly, some outfitters would come unglued if the same policy of non-tolerance of elk outside of our parks were implemented.

There is plenty of cattle-free bison habitat outside of Yellowstone. The Upper Gallatin River drainage in the Teepee Creek and Daily Creek areas has no livestock. Much of the Dome Mountain and Eagle Creek basin near Gardiner are livestock free, as are other lands in the region. And of course I would advocate that other public lands be open to bison by removal of livestock or the understanding that any rancher grazing these public lands must accept the low risks involved. In Wyoming, ranchers regularly graze their cattle on allotments with bison—demonstrating once again that brucellosis transmission is a rare, if non-existent risk that most ranchers are willing to accept.

The slaughter program is driven by antiquated federal policy. Originally the desire to eradicate brucellosis was done under the guise of public health. Brucellosis can also occur in humans—where it causes fever like conditions, swelling of the joints, and in rare cases even death. Back in the 1930s when the brucellosis control program was implemented, many people were exposed to brucellosis either because they lived around livestock and had contact with infected animals or they drank unpasteurized milk. Today the disease is very rare and about the only people who get the disease are veterinarians and others who work around infected animals.

So the original purpose—a public health issue—no longer applies. So why does the US government continue to spend money on brucellosis eradication? Well, one by-product of the brucellosis control program is that it saved ranchers money. Brucellosis can cause abortion of a fetus in infected cows. To save ranchers the loss of some calves and potential profit, Ag interests successfully persuaded the government to continue its brucellosis eradication program—at a cost of billions to taxpayers—with all the benefits now largely going to the livestock industry.

One incentive that the Department of Agriculture implemented to get states to crack down on brucellosis was to threaten the loss of brucellosis-free status. Why is this important? Well, again it’s money. A state without brucellosis-free status must test and certify that any cattle moved out of state are free of the disease. This adds a slight bit to costs and more paperwork for producers. Also in brucellosis-free states, livestock producers may not be required to inoculate their livestock against the disease—again saving some expense.

However, there is no rational reason producers across an entire state should be penalized because one or two herds of livestock become infected. The Department of Agriculture has the authority to quarantine individual herds. But the threat of state-wide loss of brucellosis-free status continues because Ag interests want to control wildlife. Their zero tolerance policy is both unrealistic and harmful to the free movement of wildlife. Why should bison be denied access to public lands in Montana, or any other state? We don’t impose zero tolerance on any other native wildlife just for moving into a state.

I think there are several reasons for the continued slaughter. One is the long term goal of Ag interests to gain control over wildlife—to wrest it away from state Fish and Game agencies and the public. Short of doing that, they want to control the wildlife agenda of state wildlife agencies—which in many western states they already do.

Beyond that, I suspect some livestock producers fear the widespread movement of wild bison on to other public lands. Bison are a direct competitor with cattle. If more bison are grazing Forest Service or BLM lands, there will be less forage left for domestic livestock. They also fear that wildlife advocates such as myself will start to question why we shouldn’t have bison grazing our public lands instead of someone’s privately owned livestock. Their fears are justified. I ask exactly that question.

In short livestock producers fear that if they let the genie of wild bison grazing on all public lands out of the bottle, they will never get it back inside, and in the end that can only hurt the ability of ranchers to graze public lands.

It’s time to let wild bison roam our public lands. Our parks should not be prisons, maintained by a fence of bullets or traps. There is no good reason why wild bison cannot co-exist This shameful destruction of wildlife to appease an irrational and increasingly irrelevant industry must end.

About George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner has published 36 books, including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy

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  1. George, you make a very strong case. My 2 cents: It’s a sham for people to call these YNP bison ‘wild’ when they are nothing more than glorified zoo animals for half the year for all the tourists.

    The real issue I think is management. What bothered me about wolf reintroduction was that the management aspect was never adequately addressed as part of the package. Leaving us with the mess headed to the courts now. Like it or not our ‘wild animals’ have a confined range that can handle only so many. Addressing management is honest and crucial. Increasing bison range only delays the management issue until, once again, it rises to a fever pitch. I prefer a hunting option for bison to manage the population within sustainable range limits. Just my opinion.

  2. Craig: are all the other wildlife in national parks zoo animals to you? The bison in YNP are not fed, they are not sheltered, they are not enclosed by a fence. The restrictions on their seasonal movements are constrained by the Montana Department of Livestock. Allowing them to make these seasonal movements to access forage and calving grounds is not about increasing their range. If brucellosis is such a serious concern then why aren’t elk treated similarly and vaccinated, hazed, slaughtered, etc. More importantly, why can’t the cattle who may/possibly come into areas where wildlife were, or are, be vaccinated? Why can’t funds from DoL go towards vaccination of cattle–the efficacy of the vaccine is higher for cattle. The current DoL, NPS, etc. plan for bison “management” is completely bass-ackwards and a waste of taxpayer dollars. You have the MT DoL and other Ag interests to thank for that–don’t blame the bison.
    Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful piece Mr. Wuerthner.

  3. Craig Moore – what do you mean these Bison are nothing more than glorified Zoo animals? Is it because their range is restricted by the Gov’t agencies that kneel before the Special Interest Groups? It seems that too many people with alterantive motives are contridicting themselves with various convoluted reasons and arguements.
    Keep them penned up in an artifical boundary – have no predators that could establish a natural control of numbers – kill them when they don’t behave your way and so forth!
    To do things THIS way, WILL lead to nothing more than ZOO type environments; NOT what parks were designed for!

  4. Glorified zoo animals, yes. There was a time when bison were hunted and were truly wild and wary of human presence. Now they stand there and have their pictures take by human hordes who want to pet them. Completely habituated. So, no these animals are not wild.

  5. Craig,
    If you really think these animals are NOT wild Come on up here and catch one of them and go for a ride. I have a saddle I would be HAPPY to let you use. Completely Habituated? I think NOT. Just because Humans are encroaching everywhere, and Bison have nothing to fear (except the DOL and a few like them) thus they don’t run, does NOT make them tame. People with that mind set are exactly the ones that get hurt or killed because of their foolish thinking. (Thus resulting in the death of the animal.) Thinking like that results in things like what happened on Cristmas Day in San Fran.
    Why weren’t some of the 385 area bison tag holders called to hunt? Instead, our Agencies just captured and shipped them off to slaughter. Fair? I don’t think so.
    DOL and APHIS can’t even make up their minds as to whether it’s Disease or over population. They use either or to justify their actions.
    George what a wonderful article, too bad the Agencies are too stupid to admit their mistakes. Too FOOLISH to change their ways, and TOO selfish to try and REALLY help the Cattle industry, by putting that money they waste on the operations into actually helping the Ranchers with vacine costs, testing costs, and Fencing costs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. IT’S MUCH EASIER TO FENCE OUT THAN IN!!!!!

  6. Craig, And from this you determine that Bison are NOT wild? I guess then the bears that frequent campgrounds, and the ones way back that used to beg from motorists, and the Grizzlies way up in Canada that don’t see humans that much so have no fear of them and don’t mind them being around, are considered NOT WILD? Coyotes that enter cities and towns to scavange, are NOT WILD?
    Sure Bison get used to traffic, but that, in NO way can be considered NOT WILD. Why should they ‘fear’ humans in the back country? They have not feared humans in their entire lifetimes, why start now? Sure they run from people one time but that doesn’t mean they will do it the next time. They are WILD!
    There is a lady up here that decided to take a walk in the winter, when someone started a snow-machine. The Bison (15-20) that were over half a mile away, heard that snow machine start, and stampeded down the road, if it hadn’t been for a neighbor just going by and allowed this woman to jump in her car, she would have been trampled. Does that sound NON-wild? No. BUT it does sound ‘habituated’ by no other than the Government Agents and their procedures.
    These Agents, ‘habituate’ these animals into despising people on snow-machines, ATV’s, Horses, because of the harassment they get from the Agents.
    Do the Agents even consider their actions and the ‘danger’ they put tourists,and locals in by doing things this way. Of course not.
    The bottom line is they have been given a budget to work with, and if they don’t spend it all they won’t get it again the next year. So they waste it away on totally stupid operations that don’t benefit anything or anyone except the pocket book of the departments involved.

    So I guess I’ll have to admit that the Bison, (as well as every other living thing), are ‘habituated’ to a degree. And that ‘habituation’ process is thanks to the Agents that chase and harass these animals. They still are Very WILD animals.

    Webster’s Dictionary definition “Wild; adj. Living in a state of nature; NOT domesticated.”

    Webster’s Definition of “HABITUATED; To accustom; familiarize.” Habituated doesn’t mean NOT wild.

  7. Ann, it has not escaped my attention that you have sidestepped my point about bison herds growing beyond the limits of range attributes. That is the problem. Let’s get back on track and off the red herrings.

    Wild they are not. However, even habituated animals are dangerous.

    So what is the solution to bison population management??????

  8. Craig;
    You are hopeless, and a waste of time.

  9. Ahhhh! What a cerebral comment, Ann. Perhaps instead of having your intellectual pockets turned inside out you can actually respond without the person invectives about how to manage bison herds given limited range boundaries..

  10. Yack yack yack…get back to the point. The bison slaughter is not a necessary “managment”. As pointed out, it goes back to everything else…follow the money and it will lead you to the obvious as stated in the article. Bison are competetion for grazing land and pose a minut risk of costing a rancher a minor amount of cash. While I am a huge supporter of our farmers and ranchers, this issue falls on public lands where we should all have a voice. And the “big industries” special interest groups, whether it is ag, timber or mining/oil have had a stranglehold on control of “our” lands. Mr. Wuerthner…great article, but how does this get changed? Can you give some insights on how to go about that?

  11. Current YNP bison range can only sustain about 3000. The present population is about 4700. How does the 1700 excess populatiion get addressed??? Merely increasing the range only delays that decision. The yack, yack, yack servers only to avoid the issue of management.

  12. First, the article is related to the Sham the Park Service and other agencies are putting out to the public, using disease as their reasons to slaughtering the Bison. Which some of us know that the disease issue is a low risk issue, as was stated by the State Vet.
    So YOU, Craig are the one that needs to get ‘back on track’.
    Considering the fact that you can’t admit that Bison of YNP are WILD, I can see how you want to turn the subject of the article to what you want it to be.
    So the next time you want to change the subject of an article, why don’t YOU write the article?

    In case you haven’t noticed there is a Bison hunt, and even the hunters are being ‘screwed’ by the Agencies. Just talk to a few of the hunters that weren’t allowed to harvest some of the Bison that were hazed captured and shipped to slaughter at tax-payer expense. These guys would have harvested a Bison, at no expense to me or any other tax-payer.

    Just because someone tests positive for HIV does NOT mean they have AIDS.

    No matter how you look at it, the Government is trying to ‘fool’ the public with the excuse of disease control.

  13. Ann, no matter how you look at it, you and the BFC continue with your foolish claims that these habituated bison are ‘wild’ in any sense of the word, and that coming to grips with a finite range can be avoided by just asking for a little more land. Bison will outgrow their boundaries as they have already demonstrated. Now, I ask again, how should their population be managed to maintain sustainable levels given a finite range?

    Wrapping the bison management issue in such emotive words such as ‘slaughter’ only serves to mask the real issue that we either face today or delay until tomorrow. See my first comment.

  14. My experience with YNP bison is that they are acclimatized to the presence of humans over decades and do not consider them a danger. This is a fact, YNP visitors are not, but the bison are not tame.

    To “hunt” YNP bison is about as sporting as killing a cow in a pasture.

    The problem of heard management is that to many agencies are involved and each serve different purposes. One management formula should be adopted and enforced by one agency. This agency should be one that has the best interest of bison stability and growth. The method of disposal of excess bison should be considered carefully to be humane and transparent.

  15. Jim, I would have the Park employees haze the buffs with bean bag loads from shotguns during the summer tourist months to get them educated before the fall and winter hunts. The buffs should be made damned wary of humans as they used to be in the wild.

  16. Craig, bison are wildlife. You’re line of thinking is very dangerous. How many elk can the Park sustain? What about mule deer – should we contain, capture and slaughter them at the border as they enter Montana? These are not “Park” animals they are valued native wildlife and the viable population objective for wild bison in the State of Montana must be somewhere above the current objective of zero by May 15.

    There are thousands of elk, some of which have been exposed to brucellosis, which are currently free ranging in the Madison Valley and elsewhere outside the Park. They will largely calve in Montana, a month later than bison calve. We have continually suggested that the habitat available to elk in southwest Montana is a reasonable goal to establish for wild bison as well. For starters, the winter ranges provided by the Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area in the Madison Valley, the Gallatin (Porcupine) Wildlife Management Area in the Upper Gallatin and the Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Upper Yellowstone frame a “scientific minimum” for wild bison in southwest Montana. Once restored on a year round basis to Montana, public hunting is the most reasonable and sustainable method of wild bison conservation.

  17. George, thanks for writing this excellent article.

  18. Craig,

    First I hope that you realize there is no magic number regarding how many buffalo the park can hold. You can even ask the NYP it’s self. The 3000 is just a number from the BMP.

    Second all your reasons to call them zoo animals (I’ve actually been around them and know how wrong you are) are all reasons to allow them access to public lands.

    Finally all of your reason for killing buffalo are also true for elk. So I say it’s time to stop avoiding the issue/ I think you need to step up to the plate and come out agents elk. I think you need to promote the mass killing of the elk. Otherwise it dose make seem a little fake.

  19. If an animal is ’rounded’ up into capture facilities, then loaded into trucks and taken to a ‘SLAUGHTER’ house. What else do you call it but SLAUGHTER?

    The actual Idea of having YNP Agents riding around in the summer shooting bison with bean bags is absolutely HYSTERICAL, as well as STUPID. Talk about ‘habituating’ an animal. In the end you will have Bison charging anyone they see on any type of transportation. (depending on what type of transportation the Agents use to do this stupid task) I pity the poor ‘tourist’ or otherwise that might be enjoying a bicycle ride, or horseback ride, when they come upon a Bison that has been ‘shot’ with the bean bags.

    Craig won’t believe Webster’s Dictionary’s definitions but yet he swallows all of Wikipedia on line, and that can be edited or altered by anyone at any time. So it’s no wonder why he thinks Bison are not wild. I’m not sure he’s ever been among them or even seen one up close.
    Like most have said before, harvesting is a good management tool, BUT not when used as a carnival crap shoot.
    And to allow the Agencies to try to ‘fool’ the public in order to ‘manage’ the herds is as bad as Hitler and what he did to try and have the ‘Perfect Race’.
    APHIS says disease and YNP says numbers. Neither are a legitimate excuse at this point in time.
    If the Government is manipulating us on this issue, makes you wonder what else they are manipulating us on.
    It all boils down to the Budget and money and nothing to do with trying to manage a WILD herd of Bison, or helping the Cattle Rancher.
    Because the Rancher is dependent on their cattle for a living, APHIS has them by the short hairs. More Ranchers need to question these tactics like the rest of us are doing in order to protect the Ranchers livelihoods.
    But to have our Government trying to SHAM us just won’t cut it. And that is what is great about this country that we CAN stand up to them and tell them, they are the IDIOTS they think we are.
    It wouldn’t take as long to convince them if the Cattleman could see through the wool that is over their eyes.

  20. Alas, the fruitless debate continues ad nauseum. And all those hunters who would pay for the priveledge and are on a call up list, will never get a phone call. I’m sure the tribes really appreciate all those hides and heads dumped in their laps to process. Sheesh.

  21. Ann, you are so right. I really get tired of people who claim that animals who do not instantly run from a human being as not being wild. Nowhere in the dictionary definition of “wild” does it say, “fails to run from human beings”. I have four dictionaries in the house and checked them all. There are two types of wild animals that do no instantly run at the sight of a human being. Those that have learned that humans need not be feared, and those who have never seen a human. If you were to approach an African lion in the wild and it did not run, does that that mean that it is not wild? These animals all still have the “flight or fight” instinct intact. They may be more tolerant, but it is still there. Just ask the photographer who was mauled by the grizzly in Yellowstone this past Spring, and lost half of his face. People who make the mistake of thinking that these animals are domesticated simply because they are tolerant, are the ones who add to the statistics each year.
    Elk, when they leave the park, become more wary. It’s almost like they know where the border is. They also become more wary during hunting season. They suddenly disappear off my property (at least around my house), as do the deer. Somehow they know. I believe that bison would do the same, if they were given year around habitat outside the park. Until they are, a hunt is just an unsportsmanlike shooting gallery.
    I keep asking the question: Why is 3,000 bison too many, and 9,000 elk not nearly enough?

  22. Ann, with both hands take a firm grip on reality and then re-read my first comment. Personalizing the discussion is childish at best.

  23. Frank;
    I agree with you, 3000 Bison on over 2 million acres, that’s one Bison for every 600+ acres. 4000 Bison is one for every 500 acres. Yet that’s too many?

    Craig; No matter how many times I read your posts, it’s obvious you think you know what’s best, and anyone that doesn’t agree with you is ‘childish’, or ‘foolish’.

  24. George – thanks for a well-written article.

    Bison are wild no matter how hard some people try to spin it. George make an excellent point – that if bison were tolerated in Montana as other wild, migrating animals are such as elk, deer, bears, etc. there is much public land available for them. Public lands that our public wildlife have a right to use. There are thousands of acres of public lands in the upper Gallatin, Antelope Basin extending into the Centennial Valley and upper Ruby River on the West side and Dome Mountain etc, on the North side. By allowing bison to roam there would be more grounds to hunt on leading to a more ethical hunt.

    Montana hunters and the clubs that represent them including the FWP have failed to live up to the North American Model of Conservation, a cornerstone of wildlife trusteeship. FWP persuaded hunters that by opening up a bison hunt, hunters would naturally become more engaged in the struggle of the bison and push for more tolerance. It has failed miserably. The hunters of Montana turn their backs on bison. They are happy to kill (help with the slaughter) of bison but they have no interest in supporting free ranging bison into the state. They are as culpable as the DoL in the extermination of all bison that enter Montana. Of course, Schweitzer made all kinds of promises to end the slaughter but like most of his talk it is just that.

    It is disgraceful from a hunter’s perspective to have a FWP Department that does not have the backbone to standup to the DoL and Legislature and assert their legitimate rights to the full and uninhibited authority to manage the bison. They have the hunters whacking the bison apparently their work is done.

  25. A bunch of good discussion…

    I might have added to my article that in addition to permitting migration of bison to other public lands surrounding Yellowstone, we could also be restoring bison in the rest of the West. Yellowstone bison could be used to start wild, self sustaining bison herds in Montana including the Charles M. Russell/ Missouri River Breaks NM, on the BLM/FS lands of the lower Yellowstone/Tongue/Powder River, on the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest , including Red Rock Lakes NWR, along the Green River, Red Desert and Bighorn Basins of Wyoming, in the Vermillion Basin/Browns Hole NWR of Colorado, on public lands around the Lost River, Lemhi and Beaverhead Mountains of Idaho as well as other lands of formerly occupied by these animals. Allowing them to migrate on to public lands beyond Yellowstone borders would be a good first start in the restoration of wild bison across the West.

  26. Craig; Your links are proof of hand raised domesticated Bison. NOT Yellowstones WILD Bison.

  27. Tim and George:

    You have both made some great points here. It is interesting to note that the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is currently revising its Forest Plan. In response to comments on that plan (p596) at the link provided the forest service states – “The Forest Plan does not address brucellosis.”

    Interesting, given that thousands of elk wintering in the Madison Valley and elsewhere will likely calve on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on sagebrush/conifer rangelands that are also dedicated to federally subsidized cattle allotments.

    If you are of the mindset that brucellosis actually matters, the science indicates that brucella bacteria has never persisted passed June 15 in the Greater Yellowstone Area, even when scientists purposely placed infected aborted fetuses in the field (Aune et. al unpublished). Thus, cattle allotment turnout dates of June 15 or later – preferably July 1 is pretty rock solid prevention mitigation against any possible brucellosis transmission event between cattle and elk. Since bison begin calving about a month before elk, usually mid-April while elk typically beginning calving mid-May, there is less risk from bison than elk as spring advances. However, with a slight modification in public land grazing turnouts on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and neighboring BLM lands we have a win-win solution to prevent the transmission of brucellosis from elk or bison to cattle using public lands.

    The Gallatin National Forest is already there in the 2 allotments they administer in the Taylor Fork of the Upper Gallatin with cattle not entering the area until July 1 or July 10. These are the kind of win-win opportunities that exist and are continually ignored by the agencies and their so-call “adaptive” interagency bison management plan. The “Plan” states that bison can not cross the Sage Creek-Wapiti Creek divide due to the presence of cattle allotments on Forest Service public lands in the Taylor Fork. With July cattle turnout dates already in place and plenty of elk already calving in the area, why are bison excluded? It makes no sense.

  28. Tim and George:

    You have both made some great points here. It is interesting to note that the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is currently revising its Forest Plan. In response to comments on that plan (p596) at the link provided below the forest service states – “The Forest Plan does not address brucellosis.”

    Interesting, given that thousands of elk wintering in the Madison Valley and elsewhere will likely calve on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on sagebrush/conifer rangelands that are also dedicated to federally subsidized cattle allotments.

    If you are of the mindset that brucellosis actually matters, the science indicates that brucella bacteria has never persisted passed June 15 in the Greater Yellowstone Area, even when scientists purposely placed infected aborted fetuses in the field (Aune et. al unpublished). Thus, cattle allotment turnout dates of June 15 or later – preferably July 1 is pretty rock solid prevention mitigation against any possible brucellosis transmission event between cattle and elk. Since bison begin calving about a month before elk, usually mid-April while elk typically beginning calving mid-May, there is less risk from bison than elk as spring advances. However, with a slight modification in public land grazing turnouts on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and neighboring BLM lands we have a win-win solution to prevent the transmission of brucellosis from elk or bison to cattle using public lands.

    The Gallatin National Forest is already there in the 2 allotments they administer in the Taylor Fork of the Upper Gallatin with cattle not entering the area until July 1 or July 10. These are the kind of win-win opportunities that exist and are continually ignored by the agencies and their so-call “adaptive” interagency bison management plan. The “Plan” states that bison can not cross the Sage Creek-Wapiti Creek divide due to the presence of cattle allotments on Forest Service public lands in the Taylor Fork. With July cattle turnout dates already in place and plenty of elk already calving in the area, why are bison excluded? It makes no sense.

  29. Ann, I posted the ‘wild’ bison pictures as Tim made the claim that they are wild no matter how people spin it. NO ONE ever defines ‘wild’ in a meaningful way to apply to bison. There are many dog attacks, and even deaths, upon humans every year by these domesticated, habituate animals. These are not ‘wild’ dogs, only vicious and dangerous. The bison that the woman rides in the picture might just get a notion and attack someone. That doesn’t make that bison ‘wild.’

    My comment about using the bean bags is dervived from bear conditioning measures to keep them away from humans.

    The comments about increasing the bison range sail right past the issue I posed. We have limited range space available. When a bsion population exceeds the carrying capacity of that range, how best to manage that population? NOT one bison advocate will address the best possible measures to maintain sustainable herds in finite range space.

  30. Craig, As I noted before once restored on a year round basis to Montana, public hunting is the most reasonable and sustainable method of wild bison conservation. I would add to that that natural predation and perhaps some winter kill would also play a role.

  31. The BFC, is up here daily working to get outside the park habitat for Bison. A lot of the BFC members are hunters themselves.
    I was a hunter, but with age and accidents taking their toll I no longer hunt. Even when I did hunt I wouldn’t hunt my own ‘backyard’ because I like having the animals around.
    Hunting as a management tool, is one thing. But USING hunters to eradicate is an entirely different issue. That’s like taking the kid you babysit to the store and having him/her shoplift for you. Your not doing it so you shouldn’t get in trouble. That’s the mentality of the Agencies using the Hunter the way it is set up now. To stop a hunt in order to haze is stupid. If they are going to have a hunt let the hunters hunt. If not then don’t. But quit trying to ‘fool’ the public with having their so-called hunt.
    When the Park Service hazed and captured those Bison over by Gardener the other day, why didn’t they allow the tag holders to harvest them?
    BECAUSE. It wouldn’t have cost the tax-payers to have ‘hunters’ do it, and it wouldn’t have allowed the Agencies to use up funds.

    There are thousands of acres on this side of the Park that are in dire need of some kind of grazing. There are No Cattle allotments so why won’t they let the Bison graze it off. The people out here want the Bison here. But again it boils down to the Budget and tax-payer dollars being taken away from the Agencies if they down’t waste them away on these goofy operations.

    And Tim is right Bison are wild no matter how you may want to spin it Craig. Even the hand fed domesticated ones still have the Wild streak in them. Many people who thought they had ‘tamed’ their Bison have been gored or trampled to death. Just as a hybrid wolf still has the instincts of the wolf. I don’t care how many generations of hybrid you get there is ALWAYS the wild instinct.

  32. George and others:
    Regarding bison abortion events being extremely rare please see work done by APHIS (Rhyan et al 2001) on the web at:
    Only 2 naturally occuring abortions have ever been documented with lab proof of Brucella abortus as the cause.

  33. Craig, I don’t see why you think bison are any different from any other wild animal. Elk wander freely. Deer wander freely. Pronghorn, bear, wolves, coyotes, fox, moose…all wander freely. All have finite ranges. I haven’t noticed any of them strolling around the Bozeman Mall. The best way to “manage” wildlife populations is NOT to manage them. To allow Nature to manage them the way it did for millions of years. Believe it or not, habitat has always been “finite”, and Nature doesn’t need man to “manage” it. Nature can be cruel, however, killing off thousands of animals in one bad winter (for example) in order to balance things out, or predator populations increasing in the overabundance of prey. With our modern sensitivities (as well as the belief that any animal that dies that hasn’t been “harvested” by a human being is a waste), natural “management” isn’t going to happen. So we use hunting to artificially “manage” wildlife. When numbers get too high (according to our arbitrary standards) we increase the number of tags. As the population drops, we decrease them.
    No “bison advocate” that I know has any problem with the concept of bison hunting to “manage” the herd. Though not ideal, in today’s modern world it is a completely acceptable form of “management”.
    The problem is that we keep bison “caged” in Yellowstone National Park ten months a year, where (as you point out) they are very used to people being harmless, only to open the “gates”, as it were, during hunting season. Allowing them out of the park only to be shot or captured and sent to slaughter. Surely you do not consider this to be sportsmanlike?
    Additionally, forcing bison to live year around on their Summer range (in the Park), is kind of like setting aside a preserve for Monarch butterflies in the United States (their Summer range) while slashing and burning their Winter habitat in Mexico or South America. They cannot survive without both. There are millions of acres of suitable habitat outside of the park. Much of it excellent Winter range.
    All that we want for bison is that they be treated just like every other large mammal in the Yellowstone ecosystem. No better….no worse.

  34. There is a lot of conversation about what is or is not a wild animal. I’m still waitng for some insights as to how we can go about changing this ignorant government policy so that the bison can share the range of federal lands.

  35. Vagabond: I suggest calling Governor Brian Schweitzer at (406) 444-3111 and expressing your frustration with the status quo. Suggest the “plan” must be amended to better protect the few livestock at risk by building a few fences to protect the small pastures they use and allow the bison to migrate to winter ranges already owned by the public in the Cedar Creek/OTO/Dome Mountain area in the Upper Yellowstone basin. That would be a good start.

  36. Craig,

    Why don’t you go stand by one of those “zoo animal” bison and I’ll take your picture. Be sure and pet him on the nose.

  37. George,

    Another well written and on the point article. Why can’t you be president?

  38. “Another well written and on the point article. Why can’t you be president?” I second this! I fear George has too much integrity and common sense to lead us though.

  39. First of all when do gooders get in the business of “reintroducing” wildlife where they want it without an adequate plan to control it, and fit it into the habitat that it was introduced into, this is what happens. The same thing is true of wolves, they were absolutely necessary to keep Yellowstone going for a few more years, now they are everywhere, but no one wants them killed, well the folks actually trying to deal with them might, but not those in cities with a glossy page magazine picture in front of them.
    Buffalo are herd animals and travel as a herd, and they go thru fences…big fences if they want to be someplace else. They are hunted and killed jsut like they were in the old days because they jsut stand and watch the others fall around them, they don’t hide like elk, never have, never will. Now days of course hundreds are not killed out of one herd like they were then.
    If you truly do believe that disease is not a problem try to get your state to take a dozen of them untested and turn them loose in a state or national park in the area. Do not expect a handful of ranch families to carry the burden for you to feel good about yourself. Why are folks so intent on making others who have so much to lose live with the disease? Let’s all work together to eradicate the disease, then let them roam where they will from Chicago west. Then at least when they have to be dealt with due to homes or freeways, it doesn’t fall on a few people to carry the burden.
    The cattle that have been infected have all been immunized, at least those in Wyoming. That is one of the reasons that rumors of deliberate infecting with super doses of brucella by the anticow groups floats around from time to time. The ranchers have done everything in their power to protect their herds, and they still lose everything when they get an infected animal.
    Buffalo are not the same as deer, antelope, or elk, or any other wild animals, they are big, they are destructive if they want to go somewhere. Fences won’t hold them.
    There is a program on domestic buffs and those who raise them on tv, and they mention that even the best of fences will sometimes be breached by them.

  40. Marion,
    The idea of vaccinated Bison roaming the interior of our country is a great one, but it still comes down to public Bison eating what ranchers believe is their private cattle grass. I’m all for it myself. Interestingly I live surrounded by Ted’s Bison and I’ve never seen one roaming I-15. His fences seem to work very well.

  41. Craig, you seem like a DoL agent–bait and switch the topic so that people don’t pay attention to the real issues. You are using pics from drive-thru safaris and trying to compare them to wild bison. Yes, that is totally comparing apples to apples. Well done.

    Marion, ranchers bear some of the burden but the rest of us pay for it with our tax dollars. We pay for ranchers to graze their animals on PUBLIC LANDS. That’s right, PUBLIC LANDS that are paid for by the PUBLIC. Ranchers get to graze their livestock on public land. They receive subsidies. I have spoken with ranchers who don’t have grazing allotments on public lands and they have said that they would, in a heartbeat, accept an allotment on public lands–wolves, bison and all–because it is so much cheaper than what they have to pay. So the ranchers who have these coveted allotments essentially get assistance from government to turn a profit and they complain about it.

    Last I heard, Montana livestock were not vaccinated. So maybe you should go after them for not taking it seriously and stop putting all your problems on bison and city dwellers–if you want to live in the west and enjoy the wilderness, you need to deal with, you guessed it, the wilderness. And you should be thanking city denizens for wanting to stay in their crowded cities–do you want them to move out West so they can have a say about THEIR public lands in these areas? If you want to eradicate brucellosis, which was brought over by European livestock, then you need to address it in elk as well. Numerous agencies (including APHIS and the National Academy of Science) have said that without addressing it in elk, it would be virtually impossible to eradicate in bison. Billions of tax dollars have gone into eradicating brucellosis and yet the elk are ignored. You conveniently ignore the transmission of brucellosis to cattle from elk and keep harping on bison. Very logical.

  42. Vaccinated buffs are exactly what the BFC is fighting against, you do realize that don’t you? They want infected bison running across the country, or at least the GYE. And if you feel that ranchers are obligated to feed their grass to buffalo, why are you not contributing thousands of dollars worth of feed for them? Why do you feel ranch families are obligated to support them for your pleasure?
    I suspect one reason that Teds buffs are not getting out is because he controls the numbers for the amount of feed he has for them, including hay and probably grain. If they get hungry, they’ll go where they want to.

  43. Nicodemus, I’m not the one making the propagandist claims as the BFC repeated does about the “last wild bison.”

    There about 225000 bison in the US today. The YNP herd has about 4700, 200 short of the all time high population.


    1. How do bison advocates and the BFC define ‘wild,’ ferae naturae, as applied to the 4700 and the 225000?

    2. How much finite range is enough for the bison in Montana and everywhere else? Buffalo Commons?

    3. What herd size management control measures are acceptable? If they fail, is commercial slaughter acceptable?

    Without the definitions, facts, and data it is impossible to discuss the issues here beyond the emotional dimension.

  44. Seems like the bison inside that stalag north of Gardiner stay inside their fence. I guarantee you that they could knock that thing down if they wanted to, but they don’t. I also see them wandering around even the flimsiest fences in the Tetons, in Mammoth, in West Yellowstone and in Gardiner (unless they are herded through a fence by DOL. It’s not like Yellowstone is completely surrounded by cities or ranches. With the exception of a handful of cows owned by the CUT, it’s miles to the nearest ranch with year around cattle; and miles further to the nearest city (not counting the TOWNS of West Yellowstone and Gardiner….most of the residents of which are happy to have bison). Meantime, there are millions of acres of unfenced National Forest land surrounding the Park. Public land. Ideal habitat. I have no problem hazing bison away from ranches. Let them roam the PUBLIC land.
    Are you implying that when elk get hungry, they don’t go where they want? Seems I’ve seen THEM traveling in HERDS. Seems like I’ve seen THEM go through a fence or two.
    When they slaughter bison that test positive for brucellosis antibodies, what do they do with the meat? Donate it for human consumption!!!! Brucellosis is such a health problem, yet they donate the meat for HUMAN CONSUMPTION! Hmmmm! Seems like the only REAL problem is that it can cause a cow to abort. I say, let the buffalo roam (sounds better than bison in this context), and in the unlikely event that some cows get brucellosis, reimburse the rancher for the lost calf and get on with our lives! Makes a lot more sense, and would be a heck of a lot cheaper, than all this hazing, capturing, testing, slaughtering etc., etc.

  45. Marion, what’s with this “reintroducing”? The bison in Yellowstone were never reintroduced. They were supplemented, but never reintroduced.
    #1 You know the answer to that. First, most of those 2 million some odd bison you speak of have some cow genes. The Yellowstone bison do not, and are descended from wild bison without break from time immemorial (with the exception of the supplementation mentioned above..18 cows and two bulls were brought in from private herds). All other wild herds that are left are very small and confined to very small areas, and WERE reintroduced. The Yellowstone herd is, therefore, considered to be the last truly wild, genetically pure, free roaming herd in the United States.
    #2 How much habitat is enough for elk or deer? What bison need is Summer AND Winter habitat (at minimum). There is plenty of habitat available. Once again, it’s not like they come out of the park and walk into Bozeman.
    #3 What herd size is acceptable for elk? That’s for state biologists to figure out. Herd size would be controlled just as elk herd size is controlled. With a legitimate hunt. Not a shooting gallery. Not a hunt that has the audacity to charge for and issue tags for an animal that may or may not be in the state for you to hunt (depending on weather etc.); but a true RESIDENT species. A REAL, FAIR CHASE bison hunt in Montana would draw people from around the world, just as our elk hunts do now.

  46. Frank, I was talking about the 225000 in the US and the 4700 in YNP. There was a mere tiny remnant of bison in YNP area when where there was a substantial reintroduction of bison to mix with that tiny remnant. If what you are implying that only genetically pure, blue-eyed, goose stepping, stiff arm saluting Aryan bison are entitled to charactarization ‘wild’ I suggest you have erroneously elevated genetic purity over life style. For example, we have wild hogs in many parts of the US that were once domestic stock. I would further suggest to you that many of the 225000 outside of YNP’s bison are more ‘wild’ than the YNP are. See:

  47. Frank, first of all, the buffalo brought into Yellowstone were taken to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch. They were not allowed to mingle with the Pelican herd, which was where the remaining animals were for a number of years. I don’t know or particularly care whether you call it introduction, reintroduction, or addition, they are from domestic herds. Despite your claim, “last wild genetically pure” simply is not true. There are genetically pure buffs all over the country and they are all decended from wild buffalo somewhere along the line.
    Buffalo are not elk, they will stand their ground, they do not hide, there was never and never will be a hunt like a deer hunt. they are far more destructive than other animals.
    Every effort is made to control elk numbers, not only inside of Yellowstoen, but also in the states themselves.
    Like it or lump it brucellosis is a bad disease for humans, as well as livestock. Again, none of you want to address why it is that you are not insisting that these infected animals not be turned loose in other states, try the dairy producing states for a beginner. Infecting herds of cattle destroys a great deal more than the calf that is lost, they destroy a lifetime of work for entire families. Ranchers spend thousands of their own money to prevent the disease and you guys are intent on getting it spread more and more. I simply do not understand.

  48. Marion, you talk about Wyoming cattle being vaccinated then you somehow think that seg-ways into BFC arguing against bison being vaccinated when I was referring to Montana LIVESTOCK. Which topic are you speaking to in the Mexican jumping bean comments you seem to make? I’d be happy if all cattle were vaccinated against it. But Wyoming and Montana have different regulations. So talking about BFC saying that bison shouldn’t be vaccinated and that Wyoming cattle are is illogical. You also are claiming that ranchers are paying for “buffs” to eat grass. Um, if the ranchers are grazing cattle on public lands, which taxpayers (the public) pay for, then how are the ranchers subsidizing bison eating THEIR grass? Taxpayers pay for public lands, and the subsidies that the federal government gives to ranchers to support their businesses. So I get to pay for the DOL harassing wildlife. I am paying for rancher subsidies and cheap grazing allotments (who then charge for their products) to support their businesses. More of my money goes to ranchers than it does to wildlife and yet we still PAY THEM FOR THEIR PRODUCTS. I know you will somehow take my comments and distort them into bison being the cause of all evil, but so be it. YOU still have not come to grips with the fact that if this disease is so vitally important to eradicate, then management of elk is necessary as well. You claim that elk are managed–just having a hunt is not disease management. In fact, gut piles left behind by hunters can increase chances of disease transmission. Elk are not hazed if they leave the park (although the DoL have unintentionally swept them up in their hazing operations and sent them straight into barbed-wire fences–so there is your proof of how fences get knocked down. once again, not bison.). Elk are not being tested or shipped to slaughter. Elk are not being vaccinated that I know of. There have been several tribes who have asked for bison that have been hazed and captured to supplement their herds–but their requests have by and large been denied. Instead the DoL and NPS send even the bison who test negative for brucellosis off to slaughter.

    You refuse to see the truth of the situation. Fine. You could kill every last bison in the GYE and that still won’t eradicate brucellosis because THE ELK HAVE IT TOO (along with a number of other species). You keep blaming everything on bison and claiming that opponents of the current bison management plan are not addressing “the real issue of insisting that these infected animals not be turned loose in other states”. That particular comment is along the same lines as Craigs–let’s not concern ourselves with the facts of bison and brucellosis, let’s just label them as bad. Let’s ignore the elk. Let’s ignore the impact that subsidizing ranchers on public lands has on all of us. Let’s ignore anyone who says anything other than–yes, kill the bison! That will solve it all and we’ll all live happy and brucellosis free. For the love of little green apples! Your lack of logic and willful ignorance of the facts is so infuriating.

  49. BAAA BAAA BAAA Fix the Vaccine for the Cattle quit wasting that money on these stupid hazes that don’t accomplish anything.
    Put that Money into Vaccine research to vaccinate the dang Cattle. It would save a heck of a lot of headaches and tax-payer dollars.
    Horses and cattle go through fences, so Marion you want to
    kill all of them too?
    Cattle and Horses chew the paint off vehicles you don’t call that damage?
    Once a cow aborts because of the Brucella it is then immune.
    USDA can hoof-print the Brucella and find out where it originated and they feel they can controll it from doing this.

    So why in the WORLD won’t they be allowed to do it? BECAUSE the BUDGET the DOL gets. They don’t want to lose that money they waste on hazes. And with people like Marion and Craig not being able to see the real TRUTH they continue to waste our money and the Ranchers livelihoods.
    Marion you are one of the worst for trying to destroy a ranchers way of life, because you push for wasting the money instead of actually doing something about a vaccine.

    Craig I don’t know how many times you have to be told that ‘hunting’ would be a viable management tool but not when it’s handled this way. There needs to be habitat year round and OUTSIDE the DANG PARK!!!!
    Since neither of you live anywhere near where these Bison would be habitating what the heck is your problem?

    And if ANYONE thinks that the Bison will be all over the place i.e. interstates and downtown Bozeman, you need a shrink.

    I for one don’t like the Gvt using me for ANY of their underhanded tactics. Unlike some of the people that act like the sheep they used to raise.

  50. Ann, give me a break. You and your fellow BFC folks do not support hunting as the prefered management control option. Otherwise, we would not be treated to the endless tales of woe and grief every time a few head are taken by hunters.

  51. Craig;
    It’s so nice to know that you know all about me.
    For one I’m NOT a BFC member never have been and never will be.
    You have Proof the BFC is against harvesting as a management tool once there is habitat OUTSIDE the Park FOR the Bison? Then show me.
    I complain about the hunters and the way they do things, i.e. parking in the middle of the roads causing the locals to get stuck trying to go around the vehicle, cutting fences (that I have to repair), going down my PRIVATE road when it’s posted NOT to do so. When they Trespass on any ones property that doesn’t want the hunter on there. When they call some of the elderly as well as myself names. When they shoot a bison and leave it to suffer for over two hours while they pick their noses. When they leave their trash all over the place.

    Yes I complain when the DOL run Bison through the fences and through deep snow and out on to the thin ice causing some to drown. But you know what? As much as I despise sheep I would complain if I saw them treated this way to. (and yes I wear wool, but won’t eat mutton)

    I complain that people like you are so gullible to think that the Gvt is up front and honest with you on the reasons behind their actions.
    I complain that my tax payer money is wasted on these operations, when the only thing the operation actually accomplishes is keeping the Agents off the unemployment line.
    So my dear Craig, again you fly off the plow handle when you shouldn’t have.

    Just so you know I’ve been over to the BFC camp and had Elk, Deer, Antelope, Moose, and Bear at their dinners. I have Bison in my own freezer, along with a porcupine, (I’m NOT going to eat the porcupine though). So Quit acting like you know all about me or the BFC.

  52. Ann,I will not go through chapter and verse how you have opposed bison hunting on Horse Butte. Your opposition speaks for itself. As to the BFC, just look at their endless updates of woe, despair, and hand wringing here at NewWest every time there are animals taken by hunters.

  53. Craig,
    YUP and every one of those was to do with PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS being ignored by belligerent hunters, and DOL. The one that was left to suffer was shot on PRIVATE PROPERTY, and left to suffer on PRIVATE NO HUNTER PROPERTY. The name calling was done on PRIVATE PROPERTY. So Craig you do NOT have a clue.
    What happens on the Forest Service is not my concern as long as it’s done ‘legally’, and nothing is made to suffer, and they are not shooting anywhere near my buildings and livestock or family. Or my friends…..
    I will continue to complain about this so-called hunt too until there is habitat available to these Bison YEAR around, and the DOL gets out of the mix.

    The updates you talk about, NOT ONCE have said NO to hunting as a management tool IF there is year around outside the Park habitat. And the DOL no longer controls WILD LIFE!

    The more you assume the less you know.

  54. Brucellosis willl remain alive and well until all suspectible animals are immunized and/or destroyed.
    Immunizing and destroying livestock alone just isn’t going to do it. No herd has ever had anywhere near the percentage of positive animals as the elk (3-5%) and bison (30-40%), yet they are destroyed even though they have been immunized and supposedly the rest of the herd are immune. The buffs and elk are encouraged to breed and increase. This is not going to solve the problem. At least the elk can be hunted in reasonable numbers. We have to get serious and eliminate the disease…period.

  55. Marion:

    A quick note. You start with the assumption that we need to eliminate the disease. Brucellosis is no longer a public health issue, and is only a problem for livestock producers who may lose some of their calves to abortion.

    This entire brucellosis control program is another subsidy to the livestock industry. It is another externalization of business costs by the ranching industry imposed upon the public and the public’s wildlife.

    The cost of protecting one’s livestock from brucellosis should be a cost of doing business. One can do a lot to avoid contracting the disease including moving livestock from places where bison, elk, and so forth are found, instead of removing wildlife. They could even start lobbying to close the feedlots in Wyoming–which for the most part ranchers support even though it helps to spread brucellosis among elk.

    Ranchers could immunize their cattle, and also purchase special insurance, not unlike wheat farmers who have hail insurance in the event that a storm takes out their crop.

    This not a public responsibility or issue. Instead this is just one more example of the livestock industry transferring its costs upon the public.

  56. geo, you really need to contact the CDC and APHIS and let them know that you have decided that brucellosis is not a health issue anymore and get them to change all of their rules and precautions. They both seem to still operate under the assumption that it is.
    They both seem to think as long as even one person contracts the disease it is a helath issue. You might also want to provide them with your studies that show it is not a problem, or they might ignore you.
    For the life of me, I cannot see how even the most obtuse can think that controlling brucellosis is a subsidy to ranchers. They pay to vaccinate their own cattle, they pay to try to keep them separated, and they pay dearly if they still get an infected cow, they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    This problem should not even involve the livestock industry, it is a poor management problem of the NPS and G&F departments. It is also shear stupidity to insist on keeping the disease alive and well.

  57. Brucellosis was once a disease worth worrying about, and it still is in some countries.

    With all of the emerging diseases, that’s what the government should be spending its money on. How much West Nile is there in Greybull, Marion?

    Here in SE Idaho, the incidence has been the highest in the United States, e.g., Bingham County in 2006.

    Why isn’t there a vaccine by now? . . . wrong governmental priorities I think.

  58. How can you even think that the ranchers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars , when they got reimbursed for EVERY animal that was hauled to slaughter. It may not have been ‘top’ dollar but how can you be so sure what the market would have been when they were of market age? I do agree that the killing of the Bulls and Steers is Bogus, and that is due to people like APHIS and you Marion that are still living in the iceage. There was NO guarantee that all the animals they were paid for would have made it to sale date in the first place, let alone not having to have spent a bunch of money on them during their lifetime on the Ranch just to get them to the sale.

    You have the type of mind set that if some one is in a coma PULL the PLUG.
    If someone breaks a bone cut that part off instead of trying to fix it.
    Like has been said many times before APHIS is antiquated in their policies and people like you Marion continue to feed the fear.
    Just because some of us respond to these posts doesn’t mean we are NOT trying to get APHIS to admit to the stupid costly actions they are doing.
    Marion do you have a dog? or a cat? do you vaccinate it for Rabies? if so then you too are keeping Rabies alive and well. Rabies is a far more SERIOUS disease than Brucellosis, But maybe you can get the Idea.
    The Vaccine is where the money should be spent NOT in killing everything that lives in the wild.
    This is nothing more than a witch hunt and the Bison (not the Elk and all other animals with the disease) are the witches.
    Catch up with the times!

  59. Marion;
    Would you be so up in arms if the Bison were only 500 in number and never left the park? Bet not. You wouldn’t give a tinkers dam if they had Brucellosis or not. So admit it the disease isn’t the problem is it? You don’t like Bison.

  60. Ralph:
    Good point about West Nile. I can just see the Gvt. out there rounding up all the mosquitos for slaughter, to eradicate the disease, instead of working on the VACCINE.
    People need to take precaustions for themselves, and not expect the government to change their pants for them when they have an accident. Hate to say it Marion but that’s what the liberals do. Run to the Gvt. to fix what they are to lazy to take precaustions for. Not like you don’t KNOW about Brucellosis and how it is transmitted.

  61. I seem to be missing your point Ralph, are you saying we need to protect the mosquitos and develop a vaccine for humans? what about the effect on sage grouse, it really hammers them, vaccinate them too?
    How much do you think it woudl cost to develop a vaccine for every human in the country to be immunized against brucellosis as compared to the cost of eradicating the disease?
    Ann, yep, I’d be concerned about brucellosis if there were only 500 buffalo left, especially if they dropped from the near 5000 now. That to me would be an indication of disease and of course brucellosis would be a consideration. It might even be an indication that the disease had mutated and was killing the buffalo cows shortly after infection like lab studies have indicated happens with moose.

  62. Marion Stand up so this doesn’t go over your head this time.
    I was saying IF there were only 500 Bison in the Park from the beginning, and they weren’t coming out of the park. So this is a hypothetical.
    Your Moose scenario is another Lab experiment. There are Moose all over the area on my side of the park. I even have a Cow moose in the pasture. All the lab experiments don’t even come close to what goes on in nature.
    If you were so concerned like you say you are why aren’t you fighting the Feed lots there in Wyoming? Those are TEN times, at least, more dangerous to the Cattle industry, than a few Bison wandering around.
    From what I gather you are one that just sits there and swallows ALL the Gvt. has to tell you.
    How you came up with the idea Ralph wants to save the mosquito, is beyond me.
    Who ever said to vaccinate humans for Brucellosis? You take precaustions and there is absolutely NO RISK for humans to contract the disease. You improve the Vaccine for the cattle and problem solved. A lot less costly too than what is going on now.
    Kind of like driving a car. Keep your eyes open while driving, pay attention, and the RISK of an accident is reduced immensely.

  63. “Why isn’t there a vaccine by now? . . . wrong governmental priorities I think.”
    This quote indicates to me that he considers vaccination to be the answer, not eradicating mosquitos. Vaccines are developed by medical researchers, not politicians. We have pesticides available, but many cannot be used due to effets on wildlife.
    I guess I do not understand your point Ann, even though I stand up, about the 500 buffs. What is it? I want to see brucellosis eradicated in the US period, and since we are the only remaining repository for it, it would seem that would need to be attended to here.
    As a matter of fact I do ant to see brucellosis eliminated from the feed grounds even if that means such a heavy hunting season that they are all killed and we have to start over. Unfortunately the FEDERAL feedground at Jackson is not under any kind of control by Wyoming. Perhaps you would have some influence closing that down.
    Once you decide that it is up to property owners to move the livestock they bought the property to run them on so you can use it for your species du jour, you are trampling on some very basic private property rights.

  64. Due to pesticides affect on wildlife? What about it’s affect on humans? You actually think there is a possibility to exterminate all mosquitos? You must be joking. Just like you think there is a possibility to eradicate Brucellosis on this planet.
    What about the people that buy Property, for a safe haven for wildlife? Do their rights get to be trampled on? Especially when there is absolutely NO possibility for a disease to get transmitted.
    You seem to think that just because someone owns livestock they should get special treatment. Well I don’t. If you OWN the property, then you should be allowed to keep anyone or thing off it that you don’t want on it. The same as you should be allowed to let anything on it that you want there. ESPECIALLY when there is NO risk to anyone or thing in the area.
    Why is it so hard for you to see that an improved vaccine FOR cattle is a more sensible way to go than to continue the way things are going. It’s obvious these tactics they have been using are NOT working, as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have already proven. It isn’t the Bison it’s the ELK. (it makes as much sense as seeing a fox kill your chickens so you go out and eliminate every hawk that flies around and ignore the fox den behind the coop)
    And to say that this is the only repository left is completely absurd. When the disease is worldwide. And to think you were/are in the healthcare profession, I would hate to think how you would treat someone with AIDS or leprosy. Or would you refuse to give care to someone that has it? I would hope that you would be smart enough to take the precaustions necessary to prevent you from contracting the disease, and NOT ‘pull their plug’.

  65. Ann, I specifically said in the US. All of the articles recently stated that it had been eradicated in the US, EXCEPT in the GYE. Why do you want to keep it alive and well? It will remain a problem no mater how far you insist on letting infected animals roam, no matter how much private property is taken over, until it is erradicated. Frankly there is no argument for your “I want what I want when I want it, no matter what happens to anyone else” attitude, so this is futile.

  66. Ann,

    I support the gradual return of the bison as a free-ranging wild species and am also appalled by the corrupt and dishonest way in which the Yellowstone herds are mismanaged today. Yes, bangs must be controlled, but on the basis of facts and not through manipulative scare tactics as it is done today. You also already know what I think of a lot of the people posting here and their “make the nice talk to soften them up, then do a double reverse to make them so confused that they either cop to your line or stand in stupefied silence” schtick.

    I am on your side, even kind of a neighbor; however, I’m also a cattleman raising a registered herd of a relatively rare and ancient cattle, where my focus is on the breed and not the meat. Through this process, I have had to learn to focus on the preservation and nurturing of genetic bandwidth in a limited population and have thus had to learn how tricks in population management can help or hinder your ability to make best use of what you have to preserve what is most important over the longer term, which is the genetics. Please forgive me if you already know what I am going to tell you.

    First, I see BFC and others placing a great emphasis on the value of individual bison and their humane treatment and these things are very important; however, as individuals, each of us will inevitably come and go and that applies to individual bison as well. What is really important over the long run is what happens to the family tree and that means the genetics. In a constrained population, which is the case in these bison and in any rare species, your top priority is to keep from losing any of your remaining genetic range. I’m an old man and just as chauvinistic as the next old geezer; but, the truth is that, from the standpoint of preserving the full genetic range of the population, males are barely even relevant; it’s all about the females, especially in herd animals where polygamy is the norm anyway.

    Let me explain using bison as the specific example. As a group, your heifers and cows carry all the genetic material of the herd with the exception of only the Y chromosome. Only the bulls carry the Y; but, the Y is one of the chromosomes, if not the chromosome, carrying the least amount of information; it’s basically mostly just a switch; and it usually, depending on the species, has some of the least variability, least diversity, across all the other bulls within the population. In terms of the Y, one bull is pretty much about as good as another and all the other chromosomes are shared with the heifers and cows anyway. It pains me to say it; but, from the standpoint of preserving genetic bandwidth, we bulls are not all that valuable regardless of the circumstances.

    When you look at population dynamics in herd animals, the effect is even more pronounced. Yes, you need bulls in the herd, but only at a rate of between one and ten percent depending on the species and the terrain that the bulls need to cover in order to cover all the heifers and cows. Most of the bulls beyond the number absolutely necessary will rarely breed anyway; they are driven out to become bachelors who only eat the grass that could be more productively allocated to the cows and cause fights that reduce the vigor of the bulls that do become herd bulls and do the breeding. Over the long run, a population of bulls that is close to the minimum required to fully do their job will allow greater use of available habitat, which is artificially constrained to the Park at this point, by the heifers and cows; enable the population of heifers and cows to stay as large as the constrained habitat will allow; and thus represent the most efficient approach to preserving the genetics, until such time that the habitat is no longer so constrained.

    So, what am I saying in terms of how we work to preserve the Yellowstone bison? First, I’m not saying that we shift focus away from efforts to let the buffalo roam. Expanding the range must remain the target. Second and as long as we are dealing with artificially constrained habitat, I’m saying that the focus needs to remain on preserving the genetics of the herd, even though we might not want to see individual animals slaughtered or mistreated. Third, I’m saying that, in order to most efficiently pursue sustainment of the genetics in artificially constrained habitat, the focus needs be on saving the heifers and cows, even when it means trading bulls for heifers and cows. If a hunt helps the cause politically, then oppose the hunting of heifers and cows with the knowledge that “harvesting” bulls comes at lesser risk to the objective. If you have limited resources, time or money, to fight animals being shipped to slaughter, then direct those resources toward saving the heifers and cows, especially the younger cows in cases where you might not get too many more calves, heifer calves, out of an older cow.

    …just my suggestions for working a strategy in the bison’s ultimate favor.

  67. Well Marion, continue to dream, because eradicating Brucellosis is never going to happen without complete extermination of all living things, and that is still no guarantee. Where as; trying to convince the powers that be, that it would be much more cost effective and plausible to improve a vaccine, IS possible. I know that task is going to be a hard one to complete but at least there is a chance.
    There are very few if any diseases that have been eradicated. BUT preventable is another story. And without KILLING everything out there.

  68. Mike; Thank you for your insight. I agree with you whole heartedly. I do understand what you are saying in keeping the genetics ‘ideal’. My father was doing that same thing but with horses before WWII, but when he got called up his dream went out the window.
    My complaint as to the killing of the Bulls, is in two places One: The Bull and steer of the Morgan herd. There was NO need to slaughter them since they had absolutely no chance of spreading the disease. To me, APHIS and the cattle industry, are not using known facts to enforce their outdated rules. If they really were concerned for the Rancher and his herd, they would have only slaughtered the ones that were infected, monitored the rest and left the Bull and steer alone. Or kept that herd in a quarantine , and studied it to try and improve a vaccine for cattle. The Budget the DOL gets for their operations could have covered the entire cost (of the first scenario) and still had an abundance left over for someone else’s herd were it found infected. How much is it costing to keep those Bison calves in quarantine, how much easier would it be to handle domestic than the bison?
    Second: APHIS says they will slaughter to prevent transmission of the disease. Well then since we all know that Bulls can’t transmit, why do they insist on killing the Bulls? Again it’s as you said, they are CORRUPT and DISHONEST, mostly to the Rancher of whom they profess to try and protect. After all Bison are not ants, and it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between Bulls and Cows, so they could sort them out and release the Bulls, and save money that would be spent on slaughtering and transporting the bull. BUT NO. They have a bottomless pocket and why should they try to save a few bucks. I’m not sure of the cost of transporting a Bull to the slaughter house and paying to have it processed, but I would bet it would cover the cost of vaccinating and testing at least one or two domestic cattle.
    I was not raised to see that kind of thing go on and just sit there on my hands and say nothing, or bow my head and suck it up.
    Don’t get me wrong I know what you mean about the genetics, but my point is, to point out how APHIS lies to get acceptance. There are more holes in their reasoning than a spaghetti sieve.
    By the Way GOOD LUCK with your endeavor.

  69. Ann, read what I wrote in the very first on this thread and have written over and over:
    “Let’s all work together to eradicate the disease, then let them roam where they will from Chicago west.”
    You cannot vaccinate only part of a susceptible population and ahve results, it must be all or none. That is why schools will not allow kids without immunizations to attend. It simply does not work to immunize only half of the kids.
    It is the stance of many buffalo folks that brucellosis was brought here by European cattle (although I don’t know that is proven 100%), but the same folks are adamant that it would not be “natural” to eradicate the disease from the Yellowstone area, I simply cannot follow that logic.
    By the way can you direct me to studies that have proven beyond a doubt that infected bulls cannot transmit the disease? It is a disease of the reproductive system that can be transmitted orally, as well as blood to an open wound. I believe the female calves at that are being isolated are going to be test bred to infected bulls to test that theory aren’t they, or is it jsut to test vaccine?

  70. No Marion I can’t direct you to any studies that can give 100% proof on anything, be it Bison and Brucella or Birth control and pregnancy. Besides if I could you wouldn’t believe it anyway.
    Just as you can’t give me any studies that prove Bison can or have transmitted the disease to cattle in natural settings.
    Your school scenario is a perfect example. The children (cattle) that enter the school, (pastures in proximity of Bison) are vaccinated. And when a new strain of flu etc. is discovered they improve the vaccine. SAME THING. They don’t go around vaccinating or banning all the vendors, suppliers, visitors, or anything else that pops in and out of the school. They vaccinate the darling little kids. (cattle). When the vaccine’s quit working they IMPROVE the vaccine. They don’t go out there and try to eradicate everything that might or has come in contact with the bug. Oh yes they could try, but for once they actually realize it is more cost effective to vaccinate the children.
    I can’t understand how you having been in the health profession would even begin to think you can eradicate a disease. Even if you think you can then you’ve made your first mistake because you’ve let your guard down, to the next strain to infect. And that can be totally devistating

  71. Thanks to Bob Jackson for his comments & to George W. for writing the article. I enjoy reading most of the New West articles but get S0 depressed about the lack of rationality in so many of the comments. If we can’t solve the Bison issue how can we solve larger more important issues?

    This issue reminds me about the irrational Cuba-China debate wherein our government supports ever increasing trade with China–the largest most powerful communist country in the world-while prohibiting trade with Cuba, a weak country just off our shores that is not a threat to anyone one. The “rule of reason” is lost in most of our public discourse. Facts mean nothing, ideology rules the day!

  72. Until there is a recognition that brucellosis is cobnsidered a human health problem and a willingnees to work to eliminate it, I don’t see any hope of coming together. The idea that “we are going to have our own way, no matter who pays the price, nor how high that price is, as long as it is someone else” must be put aside and a means of controlling the disease must be the goal for everyone.

  73. Marion;
    Controlling a disease is a lot different than eradicating it.
    Just like your school kid scenario, it is easier to ‘control’ it in the things you already have control of. The CATTLE.
    Until people like you realize, that it would be much easier and cost effective to work on vaccines for cattle, our monies are going to continue to be wasted on unproductive operations.
    It’s already been proven that hazing and slaughtering Bison has NOT kept the disease from spreading to the cattle. As Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have shown. The focus is in the wrong place, and while the Agencies are busy barricading the front door, the burglar(brucella) is coming in the Back door. Just like I said before, Why kill all the hawks when you saw the fox kill the chickens and they are still allowed to live behind or under the coop? Either repair the coop,(which in the long run would be the better solution) or get rid of the fox, but just because hawks MIGHT kill chickens, it doesn’t make sense to eliminate them when you SAW what killed the chickens in the first place.
    Why is that so hard to understand?
    We all agree that Brucellosis CAN be dangerous, But when precautions are taken it is NOT.

  74. Thank you mw for the compliment. I’m sure Mr. Wuerthner appreciates it also. If anyone wants to hear more on social order herds and THE bison issue my Tall Grass Bison partner, Susan Chin, former wolf and bear “public servant” in Yellowstone, , and I am to give a presentation at the Bozeman Library Sunday afternoon,the 24th of Feb.. This is at the invite of Bison Vison, based out of Livingston. They want to amend the wrongs and put respect for bison and what these functional bison herds can teach people…. literally on the ground ….something Yellowstone should be doing but has defaulted by way of maintaining its stagnant bison management status quo. The meeting is scheduled for up to four hours so Bison Vision and Tall Grass Bison should be able to respond to any and all questions.

  75. Bob; I have a friend in GA that is Native American and he is raising a small herd of Bison on his land. He was asking me if I knew anyone that could help him with advice etc. on raising a Bison herd. Someone that has had experience. I told him the only person I knew that would fit that criteria, would be you. He also asked about the possibility of being able to get some of the YNP Bison for their herds to alleviate some of the inbreeding.
    Is that a possibility? I, as well as he, know that testing for Brucellosis , etc. would be needed to be sure they weren’t infected but would it be possible and if so how.
    I would like to thank you again for all your insight. You are truly an informed individual, and I think a lot of people could learn from you IF they would open their minds to it.

  76. MW: Indeed we can and we will solve the bison management challenge. Irrational government harassment, hazing, capture and slaughter of bison within and near the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park is neither economically or ecologically sustainable. This subsidized house of cards will eventually fall. My voice is that of a concerned and optimistic hunter.

    A growing and diverse constituency has shared many win-win economically efficient and ecologically sustainable ideas with policy makers and the 5 agency members of the interagency bison management planning team. George’s article here has advanced that dialog and understanding.

    One simple idea to avoid this needless slaughter includes fencing to protect the few cattle that occur along the bison migration corridors in the Upper Yellowstone and Upper Madison Valleys. The points of conflict are small and manageable, while the solutions are of a landscape scale, habitat based and efficiently and respectfully sustainable.

    People are learning that hundreds of thousands of acres of conflict-free habitat are already owned by the public in the Upper Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison valleys. Places such as Cedar Creek, the OTO and the Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Upper Yellowstone Valley – Public lands all specifically purchased for big game habitat. Furthermore, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of historic and conflict-free bison habitat both within and outside the Park in the Upper Gallatin Basin framed by the magnificent Taylor Fork watershed and the Porcupine or Gallatin Wildlife Management Area.

    If bison must be captured to prevent commingling with a few susceptible cattle in the Yellowstone or Madison Basins then let’s transport them to the public land winter ranges in either Teepee or Dailey Creek within the Upper Gallatin watershed where there are never any cattle. This is an excellent alternative to the needless government slaughter the Department of Livestock (DOL), the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and now the Park Service are relentlessly waging on this critically important gene pool of wild bison.

    Increasingly, the public is becoming aware and sincerely disturbed by the ongoing dealings of the DOL, APHIS and more recently the Park Service. As well, the politicians who federally earmark the funding which feeds these wasteful capture and slaughter operations are being exposed (Formerly Senator Conrad Burns and now Senator’s Max Baucus and Jon Tester in Montana). Will “diseased” elk be the next big game species harassed, captured and relentlessly sent to slaughter by DOL, APHIS and the Park Service and the policy makers who needlessly fund their budgets for such activities?

    Instead, let’s instruct the policy makers and cooperating agencies to immediately begin fencing projects to protect the few pastures being used by susceptible cattle in the Upper Yellowstone and Madison basins. As well, we know too much not to encourage or just allow bison movements to conflict-free habitat areas on both public and bison friendly private property outside the Park where sufficient forage is currently available to sustain a spectacular restoration and conservation effort that will be envied by the world.

    Win-win cost effective solutions abound. We can work together to protect a few cattle while respecting and protecting public and private property rights on both sides of the issue, thus allowing the bison, like other wildlife in the area, to access the conflict-free habitat that exists today. The current “Plan” and its supporters are living in a house of cards that will eventually crumble due to the forces of nature and an increasingly informed public.

  77. I’m enclosing a link to CDC and their brucellosis information. Why dont you contact them and tell them it is NOT a problem and you feel the buffs should be able to roam free and infected cattle not be penalized?
    We can argue forever, but as long as CDC considers it a disease and a problem (they also consider it a bioterrorist weapon), APHIS and Montana DOL are obligated to do their best to get rid of the disease and prevent it’s spread.
    The ranchers are caught in the middle.

  78. Thanks to B.Jackson & G.Hockett for your response; with folks like you a solution may be found. As I am 70 years old & first visited Yellowstone when I was five years old, it is a special place to me & I still visit YP & HIKE AS FAR AS MY OLD LEGS WILL ALLOW!

  79. For those interested in real disease issues check out the Chicago Tribune at,1,5680204.story

    and the front page of the today’s Bozeman Chronicle, which highlight the nation’s largest beef recall, 143 million pounds of frozen beef.

    Apparently, the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company and slaughter house violated human health regulations by shoving crippled and sick animals with forklifts into the human food chain as far back as Feb. 1, 2006. These were “downer” animals that were apparently too sick to walk into the slaughter house.

    Of course the beef eating public has already largely consumed this meat that was deemed “unfit for human food” so the recall is a little late. Apparently, a significant amount of this tainted meat, 37 million pounds, went to the children’s school lunch program.

    Those interested in protecting human health appear to have plenty more serious issues to worry about elsewhere.

  80. Yes Bob?
    I don’t see anything. But it could be my computer again.
    It would be great with me if New West gave you my e-mail address. Then I could connect you with that friend of mine in GA. I know he would be very interested in talking with you.

  81. Ann, to answer your question, it would be wonderful if some of the family groups exiting Yellowstone were available for dissemination throughout the country. Not only do they have lots of infrastructure built into them (75 years of oganizational learning compared to 30 years for my herd) but they could also teach humans how to live wherever they were placed. But it is not to be. When Yellowstone first started killing its animals several Indian groups stepped forward to ask for these animals to be placed on their lands.

    APHIS said it was not possible because the quarintine period (two years) and the cost of building a fence strong enough to insure no break out (APHIS cited humane needs to have them placed in large pasture settings as well as extensive corrals to test animals).

    But Native Americans should not have been brushed off as APHIS tried to do …. and the deep conviction these people have in validated their past and present lives, and culture, meant, low and behold, they came up with a $2 million backed “line of grant credit”. Did APHIS follow through? Of course not, and finally said there was no sure way to know if brucellosis free tested animals were REALLY free of the disease. They used the Triple U bison ranch of South Dakota (the same herd used for filming “Dances with Wolves”, herd) with “brucellosis” in it. They said 7 years of vaccinating, testing and elimination of all positive reactors did not allow this herd to clean up its act . The herd was eventually liquidated (Yes, the thundering herd that stirred millions) and replaced with “brucellosis free” animals).

    To carry this scenario to present day, this is why APHIS slaughters the WHOLE herd of cattle when any are found to be “brucellosis infected’. Thus one has to believe Aphis has no intention of allowing a single present day bison to live in Yellowstone …if their practises to date are followed. Soon they will be pointing to the futility of the Park’s holy grail vaccination proposal and demand replacement (in other words kill) of all bison.

    Since the public will not tolerate this they will have to propose fences, sort of like the zoo bison viewing fences, only larger, once used by Yellowstone long ago for tourists to see bison while on vacation. Then out of sight and out of mind they will insist the slaughter commences. Forget that the elk will still have it. As mw states above in her comments, ideology is to be hammered out till it “wins”. The culpability of Yellowstone administrators is that each one of them knows this, but all think they can transfer and thus pass on to their replacements the horrors of carrying out APHIS’s mission under their supposed watch. This mentality is why one sees Yellowstone administrators compromising decisions of allowing bison to be killed on their lands. It has little to do with their supposed “struggle” to save as many as they can”.
    I’m sorry to say your Native American friend in Georgia doesn’t have a chance in H. And I am sorry he doesn’t.

    On to my previously posted comment “to” Mike. I doubt “mike” thinks I am attacking him personally since all of ag land grant science supports what he is advocating. But in order to get the point home sometimes it is better absorbed by readers if there is a name attached to the points addressed. That is why I go a step further in my posts and use my full name at the head of each comment. If mike did, I want him to know he is the “greater we” as voiced by the “dude,” in the movie, Fargo. If future posts dictate the emotions needed by use of a singular response name I will note this “greater we” intent. The power of statement needs to be felt but as the “dude” also said in Fargo, “Smokey is fragile”.The ultimate goal is for EVERYONE to learn.

  82. Bob Thank You!
    Not the news I would like to hear but yet the truth.
    As I am typing this right now the DOL is in the process of using a Bobcat to clear 4-5 feet of snow for a distance of about 3 miles to open an area for a capture facility, on the Horse Butte Peninsula. Again I tell you there will be NO cattle ever on this peninsula. and NO CATTLE in this area till mid to late JUNE.
    A good use of our Tax Payer dollars? I think NOT.
    They again will be hazing these animals in snow that is too deep for movement any faster than a slow walk.
    Last year when we had less than 2 feet of snow, do you think they did this? Heck NO they didn’t. They wait until the snow is such that these animals have a hard time getting around, and then they start their operations. You think that the slaughter house atrocity was bad? NOTHING compared to what these agents are about to do.

  83. George: That is the best, most succinct presentation of the YNP bison/brucellosis issue I’ve ever seen. Cheers to you, and don’t let up. Bill

  84. Finally some informative comments.
    Bob, what time is the presentation on the 24th? I would like to attend and encourage everyone who is in the Bozo area and cares about this issue to do so as well.
    Are they going to address the buffalo commons efforts across the country or just the local issues?

  85. vagabond, The presentations are 2-4 pm and if discussions continue then it can last till 5pm. What I talk about will definitely address the rationality and ability for any of the various buffalo commons projects to succeed. If any don’t consider social order herds as core to restoration they will end up with herds with big problems. Those projects considering genetic purity as central to restoration of bison on the plains will not understand herd development and also will not be able to address what is happening when herds get out etc. The result for them will be crisis management and thus destruction of any infrastruture build up.

  86. Yee Haw now we get to hunt wolves in Montana …I love My state

  87. thanks Bob J. should be an interesting presentation, I’m looking forward to it. It is great to get some access to actual information out of this blog verses just the ranting and ravings…
    By the way Bob O., don’t get too gun happy yet…the lawsuits are just starting over wolf delisting and that process will take years to sort out.