Montana Outdoors

Jan 27, 2011 5:05 PM by Adam Bell (KBZK Bozeman)

Bison roaming near Yellowstone pose problems

BOZEMAN - Several of the 25 bison released last week wondering onto private property have caused all sorts of problems for both state and federal officials, so Montana's News Station checked to find out what officials are doing to keep the Interagency Bison Management Plan going.

Despite the fact that federal and state officials have had to continually force the bison back off private property in Southwest Montana over the last several days, their attitude remains positive.

Montana Department of Livestock Spokesperson Steve Merritt told us that while the process can be challenging at times, it's one they will continue to learn from."

"I don't think it changes the progress at all. This is an experiment, we had no idea what the bison were going to do once we got them up there, this is just a learning process and one more step in the idea of being."

There were 15 bison that wandered off the allocated 2,500 acres for them to roam on and went across the highway onto private land. One female bison also refused to leave the private land near Yellowstone National Park.

"She was among the group of 15 that had been out every day, we had tried to haze her back in with the rest of the cohert, for two and a half days so the decision was made to lethally remove her because of her presence on private property," Merritt explained.

He also told us that several ideas are being considered on how to keep the bison on this federal land, including feeding them, removing the bison that keep wandering or even replacing them.

Merritt did not give a time frame for when this decision will be made, but we will keep you posted on this developing story.

Meanwhile, 62 bison that had been temporarily held in the Stephens Creek capture facility inside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park were released Thursday afternoon and moved south further into the park.

The bison were among 88 captured to select that experimental group of 25 which were released at the north end of the Gardiner Basin last Wednesday.

Forty of the bison released back into the park Thursday tested for exposure to brucellosis and of that group, 19 tested positive and 21 negative for exposure to the diseased.

Finally, no bison have been shipped to slaughter during the winter of 2010-2011.

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