Final Bison Trial Set


The Montana Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the progress made to date on the Yellowstone Bison trial taking place in Park County. In a conference call this morning, Hertha Lund, attorney for MFBF, noted three-quarters of the testimony for the trial has been completed, with the final phase scheduled in Park County Nov. 5. The final phase will include two hours of testimony to finish the trial along with hearing a summary judgement motion including MFBF’s challenge that the state didn’t comply with the Montana Environmental Policy Act report.

“We believe our attorney has done an outstanding job defining and defending the interest of our members and property owners around the state,” says MFBF Executive Vice President Jake Cummins.

MFBF is concerned that allowing bison to roam freely outside of Yellowstone National Park Boundaries creates not only an increased risk of disease transmission but also a risk of property damage and potentially personal injury to Gardiner area residents.   Even as the court case disputing allowing bison out of the park for four months is being heard, the state is taking comments on allowing them out year round and expanding the boundary to Yankee Jim Canyon north of Gardiner. Because of the ongoing trial, the bison have not been permitted to leave the park.

John Youngberg, director of Governmental Affairs for Montana Farm Bureau, finds the proposal to allow bison to roam year round puzzling. “We are in court questioning whether they should be allowed out at all, yet the state is already planning year round occupancy in an even bigger area.  The state talks about adaptive management as being a part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan yet they continue to ignore the fact that the document also requires there to be separation between cattle and bison.  You can’t pick and choose which parts of the document you want to live by.”

Youngberg also notes, “These aren’t Whitetail deer, they have little fear of humans and have the potential to damage property and inflict injury on area residents.”

Les Graham, MFBF’s livestock advisor who has been attending the trial, pointed out one outrageous idea that came forth. “I believe the most interesting part of the trial was when a Montana Fish and Wildlife & Parks representative testified they were going to build panel corrals for the kids to be safe from the bison at the bus stop,” Graham noted. “It seems some government officials feel it makes more sense to corral our kids instead of corralling the bison.”

Source: Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Posted by Russell Nemetz

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