Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
Bison Herd

American Plains Bison book by Dan Bailey

American Plains Bison
Rewilding an Icon

By James A. Bailey

What's Happening...

Re-Introducing Bill to Improve Conservation, Management
Proposed Bison Bill for 2015 Montana Legislature

Bison Unfairly Cast as Brucellosis Villains
Part 3 and Part 4 by Todd Wilkinson

Letter to Interagency Bison Management Planning Partners
A Response to Montana Department of Livestock Proposal to Further Restrict Greater Yellowstone
Bison Habitat (pdf)

Wild Buffalo ManagementóResponsibility of Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks
Proposed Bison Bill for Montana 2013 Legislature (pdf)

Montanans Voice Overwhelming Support for Restoring Bison
Poll Results (pdf)

9th Circuit Upholds Yellowstone Park Bison Slaughter
Billings Gazette Article

Gallatin Wildlife Association Comments on Bison Entering Montana from Yellowstone
To Joint Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks/Department of Livestock Bison Habitat EA (pdf)

Native Habitat for Americaís Last Wild Buffalo Is Guaranteed by Treaty, Tribes Say
Indian Country Today Media Network Article & Video

Are There Any Wild Bison In Our Future?
by Jim Bailey, PhD, Retired Wildlife Biologist

Update January 2012
From YBF President, Joe Gutkoski

A Public Comment
re: Interagency Bison Management Plan

Hazing Is Cruel And Unnecessary
Editorial by YBF President, Joe Gutkoski

YBF Joins Suit To Seek Emergency Injunction To
Prevent Slaughter of Yellowstone Bison

Buffalo Field Campaign Press Release

Billings Gazette News Article...
Bison Corralled For Slaughter As Activists Ask Court For Halt

Hearing On Lawsuit Over Wild Bison Hazing
September 20, 2010

Buffalo Field Campaign Press Release
Billings Gazette | Helena Independent Record

Press Release - March 23, 2010
YBF Joins Suit to Protect Quarantined Bison & Public Trust
Lawsuit Seeks to Secure Public Access to Bison and Prevent Privatization of Calves

Letter to Regional Forester
Petition to designate Bison as a sensitive species in Region One

Press Release - November 9, 2009
Conservationists File Suit Against Federal Agencies to End Bison Slaughter
Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
a plaintiff

The Sad and Shameful Situation of the Yellowstone Buffalo

Church Universal & Triumphant Bison Easement Deal

Published Editorials

Yellowstone Buffalo

Brucellosis Research

Regionalizing Brucellosis Can Be A Win/Win Solution

Buffalo In The Greater Yellowstone Area

Article in New West about Fish, Wildlife & Parks Scoping Period on Bison Hunt

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Latest News about Yellowstone Buffalo
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Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
Board Of Directors
Articles of Incorporation

Buffalo Allies
of Bozeman

Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery
and Conservation Act of 2009

American Buffalo


Buffalo In The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA)

The American Buffalo Foundation (ABF), formed in 1990, is a tax exempt public interest organization that has been quietly working to restore Yellowstone National Park (YNP) buffalo into the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). The goal of ABF is that buffalo be managed as wildlife, patterned after the North American wildlife model, that wildlife biologists have accepted throughout the nation, and has successfully restored many species in the past 100 years.

We will continue to work with people who own cattle and other interested parties to protect Montana’s “Status 3” brucellosis-free level through practical risk management; by regionalizing the disease delineating brucellosis management areas, while managing Montana’s buffalo as wildlife.

Our first objective is to allow wild buffalo to move from Yellowstone National Park into historic grazing ranges on public lands in the Greater Yellowstone Area. They are a valuable wildlife resource that has been preserved as a wild species through management by the National Park Service. They are restricted in the use of valuable and necessary low altitude winter habitat by a misguided brucellosis zero-risk policy of no tolerance for buffalo by the State of Montana. Brucellabortis was brought into the GYA through imported cattle who then infected native wildlife such as buffalo, elk and bear.

On January 22, 1999 the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requested that the Montana State Board of Livestock (BOL) soften the actions of hazing, capture, test, and slaughter against buffalo that step into Montana. The BOL refused to consider the request. This request by USDA was before all of the dollars began flowing due to the federal Department of Homeland Security designating brucellosis as a select agent that may be developed as a Bio-Weapon of Mass Destruction. Senator Gary Perry sponsored a bill in the 2003 Montana Legislature that handed over jurisdiction of buffalo from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). The Department of Livestock has historically had zero tolerance for buffalo. The DOL’s current solutions are so draconian that they threaten to undo 100 years of important wildlife recovery achievements. This national wildlife resource is downgraded by their actions of killing all the pioneering herd leaders trying to explore the GYA for more habitat and food during the severe winters.

Tax dollars spent on Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Since the 1930’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture has spent $3 billion trying to eliminate brucellosis. In 2002 the federal Department of Homeland Security designated brucellosis as a select agent that may be developed as a Bio-Weapon of Mass Destruction, under the Homeland Security (Bio Terror) Act, This triggered large sums of federal dollars into the Greater Yellowstone Area. Last year (2005-2006) over $10 million was spent on hazing, capturing, testing, quarantining and slaughtering.

• $4,360,000 for Phase I, II, III. This costs $26,220 per cow/calf pair passing out of Phase III as a 4 year old buffalo free of brucellosis.
• $441,000 to Montana State University for brucellosis vaccine research.
• $895,000 to the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee.
• $660,000 to Montana State Department of Livestock
• $69,000 to Montana State Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
• $6,900 to Federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
• $1,200,000 to Yellowstone National Park for pneumatic bio bullets inoculating buffalo at a range of 20 yards, (a foolish exercise in futility).
• $750,000 for hazing and capturing.
• $200,000 for trucking buffalo to slaughter houses, sometimes 500 miles into Idaho.
• Unknown amount for the cost of 7 homeland security agents to guarantee safety of trucking.

Today’s zero-risk, no tolerance for buffalo policy is very expensive and has evolved into an employment career for the above named agencies. The above listed costs are only estimates that were gleaned from local newspapers because a true accounting is difficult to get from the government. With this large amount of dollars flowing into Montana, it is literally impossible to talk seriously with the federal, state and research agencies about a practical method to regionalize brucellosis and delineate brucellosis management areas for control of the disease.

We believe it is time to request a review and full accounting of the state and federal expenditures targeting all brucellosis related management, research, hazing, capture, testing, confinement, feeding, shipping, slaughter, quarantine, and eradication work related to the GYA and its wildlife since 1990. We know that millions of dollars of taxpayer money is being funneled into this on an annual basis and we want a full, complete, transparent accounting of these expenditures as soon as possible. There are more economical and more humane ways to protect Montana’s cattle in brucellosis-free status, while respecting and managing our buffalo as a valued, native asset worth millions of dollars annually if they are allowed to be managed as wildlife.

Quarantine of Buffalo

Under the guise of research, FWP is now constructing Quarantine structures Phases I, II, and III, 8 foot high, double fenced quarantine enclosures to hold captured buffalo yearlings. The objective is producing brucellosis-free, cow-calf pairs over a 3 or 4 year quarantine period at a cost of $29,500 a pair. Buffalo females are sexually mature at 2 ? years old, while their prime breeding age is 4 to 10 years. Males under 6 years old are not socially mature, while at ages 8 to 10 year old bulls are in prime breeding age.

Phase I is located in an old elk farm near Gardiner, MT and the Cinnabar Basin Bridge, rented at $80,000 a year plus fence upgrading, maintenance and feeding. There are now 87 yearling buffalo held there.

Phase II is at the Slip and Slide Ranch property near Gardiner, MT rented at $50,000 a year with the costs of fencing at $400,000 plus maintenance and feeding.

Phase III is planned on the Dome Mountain Winter Range on 400 acres of the best bottom-land grass, just south of Daily Lake. Dome Mountain wildlife range was purchased some years ago with sportsman license fees.
All three fences will be barriers to wildlife movement.

There is no need for this redundant research. It has already been accomplished with buffalo at Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park and Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge where brucellosis free cow calf pairs were produced over a period of time. Disease-free buffalo cow-calf pairs are available for the cost of rounding them up and trucking them to the desired location. We have no idea what the ultimate cost of fencing, maintenance, feeding and salaries of researchers will be. It is difficult to get a true accounting of money spent on this probably worthless research. Brucellosis is so endemic in GYA wildlife that it can never be eliminated without hazing, capture, and testing all buffalo and elk. It is an impossible task when dealing with roaming wildlife in the vast wild lands of the GYA. With the DOL having jurisdiction of buffalo they are attempting to eradicate a cattle disease by slaughtering wildlife; a futile effort. Today’s zero-risk policy is very expensive with over $10 million spent in 2005-06.

The Quarantine System

The quarantine system treats buffalo like domesticated and diseased cattle and not wildlife. Capturing buffalo in concentrated enclosures opens the danger of chronic wasting disease. Over 1,000 buffalo were slaughtered and 4 brucellosis-proof bulls were shot migrating west down the Madison River into wildlife easements purchased by the taxpaying public.

A second objective of quarantine by FWP is to reintroduce buffalo into Montana’s Big Open in eastern Montana. FWP does not have the courage to say where the buffalo will go because the Montana Stockgrowers Association has no tolerance for buffalo.
FWP now seem to be cooperating with the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation in specifying the Taylor Fork in the Upper Gallatin River as a possible site for reintroduction of the disease free buffalo from the quarantined pens.

It has been shown many times that brucellosis can be expunged from herds in fenced areas. There are numerous genetically pure, brucellosis-free, public owned buffalo herds in the west, if one is truly serious about reintroducing buffalo on public unfenced lands. We propose that MSU research facilities be used. We do not need further confinement of buffalo and redundant research. Quarantining of buffalo, places legitimacy on continuing hazing, capture, testing and slaughter.

History of the Slaughter of Buffalo

The slaughter of buffalo started in the winter of 1988-89 when the YNP fires so depleted the range and the snowfall piled up to record depths that buffalo moved into the Gardiner basis in large numbers. Pressure on FWP from the Stockgrower’s Association caused a special hunt which took place along US Highway 89 outside YNP boundaries. The hunt was highly visible to anti-hunting activists with their national news video camcorders. Capitulating to the demands of Stockgrowers, FWP used no discretion in managing the hunt and when the shooting was over, 569 buffalo were killed; many in the highway burrow pit and all in plain sight of a concerned public.

News coverage of the fate of the great beasts caused a national uproar against Montana. People across the country could not understand why the buffalo were not allowed to migrate to winter forage areas. Hunters took all of the blame. In fact, the reason so many buffalo were shot was the caving in of FWP to pressure from cattlemen. The previous, discrete, financially viable efficient public hunts were turned into an unacceptable slaughter of a wildlife resource in full view of an enraged public. Montana’s Governor Stan Stephens was embarrassed and could not stand the heat from the nation.
In 1997, 1,079 buffalo were slaughtered. Of those that were hazed back into YNP, 1,300 starved to death, exhausted and fetuses aborted due to continuous hazing by DOL and hazers on snowmobiles. Buffalo are true wildlife and cannot be treated like cattle.
The public hunting of buffalo ceased until the administration of Governor Brian Schweitzer promised to facilitate a solution to the impasse.

In the winter 2005-06, 942 buffalo were slaughtered in meat processing plants and an additional 12 died from injuries inflicted by harassment and capture. YNP trapped and sent to slaughter 1,249 of them; FWP sent 40 to slaughter; and DOL sent 49 to slaughter. Slaughter numbers are very difficult to ferret out of the agencies. We are convinced that many more buffalo were killed than shown above.

On January 12, 2006, DOL hazers on snowmobiles forced bands of buffalo back on Hebgen Lake ice pack and 12 of them broke through the ice into the frigid water as they were forced in a bunch instead of walking in single file as they do naturally. Two drowned and the remaining 10 were hazed back miles into the national park boundary only to die of cold and exhaustion. This type of cruelty by DOL in their never changing, no solution policy, treats buffalo with contempt and indifference; this, in the name of making the GYA safe for cows.

Elk Slaughter for Brucellosis

On February 17, 2006 in Idaho’s Muddy Creek Trap (locally called the “Mother of Traps”), 131 elk were hazed, captured, tested and 14 were sent to slaughter. Later 240 additional elk were trapped and 42 were slaughtered at a cost of $5,800 per slaughtered elk with a total cost of $336,000 for the operation in 2006.

Fish & Wildlife agencies must now take back wildlife management from cattle agencies or else the present brucellosis elk slaughter will migrate north to Montana. We must modify the 5 agency Interagency Bison Management Plan, so that it protects Montana’s brucellosis-free status but also conserves our rich elk resource on public lands.

DOL and APHIS threaten to unravel 100 years of an important North American wildlife recovery achievement. It makes a major shift in wildlife management involving a national resource authority by FWP giving over control of wildlife to DOL and APHIS.

Grazing less than 1,000 cattle in Montana’s GYA is not economic compared to wildlife related tourism, recreation and hunting based businesses.

Public Land Buffalo Ranges

We must increase the area that buffalo can wander in the GYA. In the Gardiner, Montana area at Bear Creek, Eagle, Phelps, Little Trail, Bassett, Cedar, Slip and Slide, Joe Brown and Sheep Creeks, Dome Mountain, Daily Lake to Six Mile Creek areas. In the West Yellowstone area at Horse Butte, North Side Hebgen Lake, Red Canyon then up through the Cabin Creek Wildlife Management corridor to Taylor Fork, Buffalo Horn and Porcupine Wildlife Management Areas. These public wildlife ranges were set aside or purchased with sportsmen license fees and are available for buffalo to graze. The Gardiner and West Yellowstone areas have more public land and least amount of cattle than anywhere else in Montana. We can share a place for wild buffalo in this unique corner of the GYA, instead of slaughtering them when they step across the politically drawn park boundary into Montana. It is only right that we make a permanent place for buffalo, managed as wildlife by FWP with public hunting to balance their numbers with available forage. Buffalo will spread out and in time develop a natural immunity to brucellosis. Immune animals test positive but are now being sent to slaughter with all of the other buffalo who test positive.

Wild buffalo and elk graze the steeper slopes and wind blown uplands where they digest plants not generally preferred by domestic cattle who like softer green grass. Cow calf buffalo herds group into 10 or 20 animals and spread out over the ranges to maximize access into un-grazed areas. The present zero risk brucellosis policy of DOL and APHIS is very expensive to the taxpayer with $10 million spent in 2005 slaughtering 1,000 buffalo and thus far in 2006 over 900 buffalo were trucked to slaughter.

With access to public land, buffalo will spread out as they eventually develop a natural immunity to brucellosis. Conflict free public lands amount to hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat that can be grazed by buffalo that migrate out of YNP, yet is currently not available to buffalo. Placing these lands available to buffalo would improve management options.

Brucellosis Disease

Brucellosis is a disease brought into the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) by cattle that then infected native wildlife like buffalo, elk and bear.

It can cause ungulates to abort their first pregnancy. It is a seasonally contagious disease with the window of infection in April or May, when aborted fetuses lying on the ground are being licked (an instinctive reaction) by other cows. Domestic cows of reproductive age are the class of ungulates that are susceptible to contracting the disease.

As APHIS has controlled brucellosis in the broader USA, it has shifted its attention to buffalo in the GYA and zero tolerance and eradication. This causes the treating of wildlife the same as diseased livestock. It is not economically or politically feasible to justify such an impossible policy of hazing, capture, quarantine and slaughter. Montana may lose its brucellosis-free status due to contradictory policies of USDA and USDI.

Brucellosis is a manageable disease through regionalizing and delineating brucellosis management areas. It is so endemic in GYA wildlife that it can never be eliminated in free roaming wildlife within GYA’s great expanses of wild land.
Brucellosis proof cattle can be grazed on buffalo ranges such as steers, yearlings, horses and mules. Brucellosis is endemic in elk, buffalo and bear in the GYA. Nationally brucellosis infects fewer than 10 herds of cattle.

When brucellosis is first discovered in a herd, APHIS recommends destroying the herd and herds in the surrounding area must be tested to ensure the disease does not spread. When a second herd is infected in a state, as in the case of Wyoming, destroying the herd is mandatory and the state loses its brucellosis free status. Ranchers would then have to test their cattle before shipping out of state.

Brucellabortis is the brucellosis bacteria transmitted through licking by cows of aborted fetuses. Pregnant ungulates abort their first fetuses or go into premature labor. Calves may be weak and unhealthy. In humans that have contracted the disease it is called Bangs or Undulant Fever with typical flu-like symptoms and is listed as a Category B threat to both humans and cattle.

A positive test for brucellosis indicates exposure but not necessarily infection because unconfined wildlife eventually develops immunity. Immune buffalo test positive and all buffalo that test positive are sent to slaughter.

Today’s zero risk policy for brucellosis is extremely expensive and not proportionate to the threat. State veterinarians in 19 western states agree that reducing buffalo-cattle contact through space and time separation and establishment of special brucellosis management areas that only graze brucellosis-proof livestock such as steers, horses and mules on buffalo public-owned ranges.

Wyoming ranchers are now questioning the practicality of eliminating brucellosis through hazing, capture, testing, quarantine and slaughter. They say it is time to reassess how much of a problem brucellosis really is. Is the risk proportionate to the threat? Does it cause that much harm considering that is so endemic in the GYA? Can brucellosis be managed in the GYA? Wyoming ranchers want to reassess the probability.

Since 1930 APHIS has spent $3 billion trying to eliminate brucellosis. Is it possible to regionalize the disease and delineate brucellosis management areas where special measures would be used to contain the disease and keep it from spreading?

We keep hearing that YNP is the last reservoir of brucellosis in the nation. It is also the last great reservoir of public owned wildlife such as buffalo, elk, deer, moose, grizzly and black bear, big horn, wolverine, fisher, lynx and martin; precious wildlife worth far more than less than 1,000 cows, grazing seasonally.

Hunting to Balance Buffalo Numbers

We have learned that buffalo will reproduce and occupy their entire habitat and will move to occupy additional habitat if allowed. Population control is necessary because overgrazing will deplete the range. The discrete hunting of buffalo on their winter ranges outside of the park is an obvious and profitable solution to control buffalo numbers. What is needed is to acquire migration corridors and grazing habitat where licensed public hunters can participate in a fair lottery open to all, participated by many and managed by FWP. Surplus animals can be harvested by public hunters after buffalo have been firmly established on public land outside the Park would be correct and profitable.

Buffalo provided food, clothing and shelter for Indians and explorers. Without them the west would have been a land of starvation. The destruction of the buffalo in the 1880’s was a loss of wealth many times greater than what if would have cost to conserve them. This outrageous waste was committed against Indians with inexcusable extravagance and carelessness. We can now begin to make right this old wrong.

The present hunts of 2005-06 and 2006-07 are nothing more than park boundary hunts. We must expand Zone 2 to include public land outside YNP where buffalo can live and graze year round. There they can be pursued by licensed hunters, discretely harvesting a game animal managed as wildlife by FWP and not as diseased livestock by DOL. We must acquire into public ownership migration corridors that buffalo can use as a pathway to public owned winter ranges.

Discrete, efficient, money-making public hunts can be reinstated that are a fair harvest, open to all and participated in by many. 140 licenses will be issued in 06-07 season by FWP between November 15 and February 15. Montana law classifies all non-confined buffalo as wildlife, big game animals held in trust by the state for the use and enjoyment of the people.

Buffalo population is estimated at 3,900 in August 2006, down from 4,900 last year. Since June of 2005 more than 1,000 bison had been shipped to slaughter another 46 were killed by hunters. 500 Calves were born as an average in the past. This year’s hunt 2006-07 offers 140 tags including 45 cow/calf permits and 95 either sex including 16 permits for Indian tribes. Hopefully the buffalo will be allowed to move into new grazing ranges outside park boundaries on public lands where discrete hunters participate in a fair chase hunt instead of park line shoots that discourage true hunters.

Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP)

The IBMP plan was made by 5 government agencies from the 3 states within the GYA, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming: the States Departments of Livestock; USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); State Fish & Wildlife agencies; the USDI, National Park Service; and USDA Forest Service. The IBMP was made as a result of APHIS controlling brucellosis elsewhere in the nation. It then shifted its attention on buffalo and elk in the GYA and are treating our wild buffalo the same as diseased livestock. Their current policy and actions threaten to undo an important North American wildlife recovery achievement involving a national wildlife resource and making a major change in wildlife management responsibility and authority. Eradication of brucellosis through a zero tolerance policy by depopulating buffalo and elk and replacing them with quarantined brucellosis-free animals is not economically practical and not possible politically in the vast mountains and forests of the GYA. It is difficult to justify such an impossible policy since cattle growers have made no concessions in the brucellosis issue.

The practical solution is that the IBMP must be revised so that it conserves a rich buffalo wildlife resource while at the same time protecting Montana’s brucellosis free status.
The five government agencies responsible for administering the IBMP are gridlocked on hazing, capture, quarantine and slaughter addiction, which only perpetuates endless conflict and falls short of practical habitat solutions for buffalo outside the boundaries of YNP. The plan limits the buffalo to small areas (Zone 2) near YNP boundaries. Changes to the plan, to protect and connect habitat to winter ranges for a long term, sustainable and economic feasible solution for buffalo, is the solution. We must regionalize the disease within the GYA and delineate brucellosis management areas, where brucellosis-proof steers and horses may be grazed on buffalo ranges. The GYA brucellosis issue in buffalo and elk can be adequately controlled through managing the risk rather than the costly, zero tolerance, fruitless eradication program that has no sound scientific basis. This would prevent DOL from taking over management of wildlife from FWP. Zone 2 must be expanded to include adjacent public grazing lands to accommodate buffalo and to test new alternatives in management. Wildlife agencies have an obligation to retain Montana’s brucellosis-free status buy they also have to obligation to manage buffalo as wildlife and to see them living year round on public wildlife ranges in the GYA.

In severe winters, YNP is not a complete wildlife habitat system Public land in the Gardiner basis, the West Yellowstone Basin, the Upper Gallatin River Valleys, and the Centennial Valley must be open to buffalo grazing. This resolution of the problem is long overdue.

YNP is the last reservoir of public owned wildlife and if allowed buffalo can re-establish itself on the above named public lands without any cost to the state and at a large economic benefit.

Private Land Protection

Montana law MCA 81-2-121 protects private property owners from adverse wild buffalo impacts. Zone 2 in the IBMC’s plan accepts buffalo within Zone 2. Private land within zone 2 where owners do not want buffalo should be re-zoned to zone 3 where buffalo are prohibited. Landowners are not required to give up any rights. Neither eminent domain, nor condemnation is suggested. We must manage the brucellosis risk and the IBMC’s plan does not.

Zone 3 in the IBMC’s plan, is a zone of no tolerance for wild buffalo. This is a vast landscape of US Forest Service and Mt state FWP public wild land that is wildlife-conflict free and waiting for buffalo. We must take advantage of this conflict-free land and waiting for buffalo. We must take advantage of this conflict-free public land and place it into Zone 2 to improve management of buffalo and to improve fair chase hunting.

In order to move into brucellosis management on a regional basis and to delineate brucellosis management areas, DOL and APHIS should certify susceptible livestock, brucellosis-free, without cost to owner to protect livestock producers from damage or regulation.

Following are public owned lands qualifying for Zone 2:

North of YNP, Gardiner Area

  • Large Acreage: Bear Creeks, Eagle, Phelps Little Trail, Bassett, Cedar, Slip & Slide, Joe Brown, Sheep Creeks, Dome Mountain, Daily Lake to Six Mile Creek northern boundary.
  • 1,600 Acres: Church Universal and Triumphant conservation easement private land
  • 5,352 Acres: Dome Mountain Ranch, private land; work with USFS and FWP and private land owners to modify livestock management

USFS Grazing Allotments in Joe Brown and Slip & Slide Creeks should be revised to accommodate brucellosis proof livestock such as steers, horses and mules.

West of YNP in the West Yellowstone Areas at Horse Butte, North Side Hebgen Lake, Red Canyon, Cabin Creek Wildlife Management Corridor, Taylor Fork, Buffalo Horn and Porcupine Wildlife Management areas.

Less than 1,000 cows occupy the North, Gardiner Area and the West Yellowstone area, near YNP. Most graze for a couple months each summer. It is not practical to allow these few cows to jeopardize the brucellosis of Montana’s 2 million cattle.

The following lands listed are the private owned cattle grazed lands in the north of YNP in the Gardiner Area:

  • 640 acres Church Universal and Triumphant at Trestle Ranch
  • 197 acres Raymond and Dorothy Stermitz property
  • 52 acres Wayne Hoppe property
  • 40 acres Bill Hoppe property
  • 67 acres Hank Rate property
  • 996 acres on north side YNP

West Yellowstone Area:

  • 1,105 acres Red Canyon Ranch, Ezekial Dumkee
  • 325 acres Stinnett family Duck Creek properties
  • 711 acres Munn’s property
  • 2,141 acres on west side YNP

These 3,137 acres are grazed by less than 1,000 private owned cattle. We must look for opportunities to work with neighboring private land owners who are friendly to buffalo and who own relatively large acres of important buffalo habitat

For further information please contact: Joe Gutkoski, Vice President, Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation, 406-587-9181

October 21, 2006


Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
Bison Herd
304 N 18th Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Tel: 406-587-9181