HELENA, Mont. (October 10, 2023) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) submitted comments conveying their concerns around the management alternatives in the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) Bison Management Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
“In reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement alternatives, our organization does not feel the current alternatives presented adequately represent all management options that should be considered,” stated Raylee Honeycutt, MSGA Executive Vice President. “Alternatives should include management tools like population control, spring hazing, vaccination, culling, tribal hunting, and shipment of excess animals to processing facilities. While alternatives include some components, it is imperative to have all management tools be available to manage the herd depending on time of year, location, and environmental scenarios.”
The EIS released in August, included three proposed management alternatives of Yellowstone bison with three different population thresholds. Alternative 1 being the “no action” alternative included a range of 3,500 to 5,000 bison. Alternative 2 would reduce shipments to slaughter leaving a population range of 3,500 to 6,000 bison after calving. Alternative 3 mandates a hard stop to bison slaughter with tribal hunting and transfer as the primary population management methods allowing the population to grow up to 7,000 head.
The 2000 Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) established a target population at 3,000 head. MSGA continues to express its concerns with the increase in the bison population as it is likely to increase bison migration out the park and the risk of brucellosis transmission to cattle and the limited forage availability in the park during winter for a growing herd size. The association is further concerned with the concept of limiting management tools as the population increases, leading to an exponential growth in bison numbers.
MSGA looks to YNP to address its concerns in the final decision and MSGA will continue to remain engaged on this topic.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots membership organization and is the trusted voice of cattle ranchers. With over 135 years of history, MSGA advocates and ensures cattle ranching remains relevant, safe and a sustainable way of life for generations to come.
Director of Marketing & Communications
To view more MSGA news, visit https://mtbeef.org/news/