Fencing Terms in Bison MOU to be Amended


For the first time since bison were moved from the Corwin Spring facility north of Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Northern Ag Network had a chance to speak with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday.  Audio from the interview is available below, but one of the most interesting things that was uncovered came down to fencing.

The fence built on the Fort Peck Reservation north of Wolf Point to contain these bison was built a few years back.  As you can see by the picture below, it’s a tall, sturdy, 6-wire barbed wire fence.  We learned while at the containment facility Monday that they are also adding two electric wires to it.  The slack wires that you see toward the bottom are part of an older fence just outside of the boundaries of the pasture.

The fence above is “wildlife friendly” and claims are that it will adequately contain the animals, but there is one glaring problem.  The Memorandum of Understanding (read full version here) specifically calls for a woven wire fence.

Governor Schweitzer addressed this conflict during our interview by telling us that they were going to amend the MOU.

During the rest of our interview, Schweitzer addressed a number of topics.  Listen to his audio on each below:

He reiterated that he did not break the law established by Senate Bill 212 in moving the bison.

If the bison get out and cause property damage, the MOU states that the Fort Peck Tribe will be responsible for any and all damages.

In addressing this possibility, Schweitzer told us that livestock get out and that the problem is often the neighbor’s fence.

When asked if this was part of a statewide plan for free-roaming bison, Schweitzer says that he’s never seen such a plan.

For video shot Monday while at the bison containment facility and information about a call to impeach Governor Schweitzer over the bison movement, please read “Schweitzer Eyes Bison, Stahl Calls for Impeachment.”



© Northern Ag Network 2012

Haylie Shipp


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