Did Nevada Standoff Force MT FWP to Cancel Bison Meeting?

Aaron Flint posted on April 14, 2014 15:24 :: 1465 Views

Not only did the Nevada standoff suddenly come to an end over the weekend, but the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks decided to abruptly cancel a planned bison meeting in Lewistown that was scheduled to begin this week.  Coincidence?  That was the question raised by Keith Kubista, the President of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.  

The Northern Ag Network’s Haylie Shipp spoke with Ron Aasheim, spokesman for FWP, who said the meeting was cancelled because officials didn’t think it would be productive.  Click below to hear more from FWP’s Ron Aasheim:

Click to Listen

Sierra Dawn Stoneberg Holt, a rancher from South of Glasgow first alerted me to the meeting’s cancellation.  She said ranchers have been concerned that the meeting would not feature public comment.  

Stonberg Holt said she spent the last two weeks putting together thousands of documents, adding:

While I can think of some positive reasons they might have done this, none of them require the meeting to be cancelled in the middle of weekend, two days before it is set to begin.

So I am concerned that they realized that even without allowing public comment, the public’s strong opposition to releasing state-owned bison would be too evident to allow. I think we should seriously consider getting together to express the views that FWP didn’t want us to state.

Here’s the full press release from MT FWP:  


State wildlife officials have canceled a planned discussion that was to take place in Lewistown Tuesday and Wednesday on a bison conservation and management plan for Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks had invited a diverse group of interests and a number of state and community leaders to continue to participate in a facilitated public discussion in Lewistown on April 15-16. That gathering, which would have been the second since September, is canceled.

“We worked to gather large group of fundamentally different interests and constituencies, but there remained serious questions about intent and representation that are difficult to resolve,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena. “The gathering was designed to review issues and possible alternatives for bison conservation and management, but at this point it would be counterproductive to proceed with the discussion.”

The discussion group included conservation and agricultural representatives, state and federal agencies, county commissioners, and state legislators and members of the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Hagener thanked the citizens who agreed to participate in the planned conversation and said FWP will attempt to reconsider existing and emerging concerns on Montana’s bison management alternatives.

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