Gov Ponders Bison Legacy with NY Times

Gov Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) appears to desire, as part of his legacy as Governor, a free-roaming bison herd in Montana.  This, according to a quote in The New York Times “Green” blog

For Mr. Schweitzer, bringing back the buffalo has become something of a mission. “A hundred years from now, no one is going to know who the governor of Montana was who brought the buffalo back,” he said. “But when they hoist me down into my place on the prairie, with the tall grass blowing and the bison walking over my grave, I’ll know.”

Cory Swanson, the attorney for Montana ranchers concerned with the bison transfers, is also quoted.

Currently the plan is for the herds on Indian reservations to be jointly managed by the tribes and Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Mr. Swanson said his clients would like to take wildlife out of the equation and have the tribes own the animals outright. The bison would then be classified as livestock as opposed to wildlife, and if an animal caused damage, a property owner would have recourse under Montana’s livestock laws.

Click here to read the full article.

UPDATED:  One Montana rancher is so upset with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the push to have a free-roaming bison herd in the state, that he has decided to pull his property out of the block management program. 

Haylie Shipp has this at

John Killen owns a farm and ranch near Angela, Montana.  John’s property has been part of the FWP’s “Block Management” program for several years.  Block Management is a cooperative effort between FWP, private landowners, and public land management agencies to help landowners manage hunting activities and to provide free public hunting access to private and isolated public lands.

John’s contention that Montana does not need a free-roaming bison herd is so strong that he has chosen to pull out of the program.

He added that he does not want to close off public access to his place or make things more difficult for sportsman.  However, he says that FWP has not been listening to the landowner with the bison issue and that this is showcased by their persistence.

Click here to read the full article.

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