Montana cattlemen concerned about free-roaming buffalo proposal | TSLN.com

Montana cattlemen concerned about free-roaming buffalo proposal

Bill Brewster

Photo by Bill Brewster Arnold Dood, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks staff member, explains his project to explore the possible establishment of a free-roaming, wild bison herd in Montana

Several dozen beef producers from Gallatin County (MT) attended a presentation at Milesnick Ranch, Belgrade, MT, by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regarding the possibility of free-roaming bison in the state.

The tour stop is part of a state-wide speaking tour to determine the feasibility of a free-roaming bison herd – or buffalo as they are called by Montana ranchers – and if the herd can me managed like wild deer, elk and antelope.

“Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife,” said Biologist Arnold Dood with Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “And the agency is exploring all alternatives for bison. I have been asked to evaluate opportunities for restoring wild bison somewhere in Montana.”

Dood said he was looking at the entire state and no selection had been made yet. The department is exploring all options and checking the legal status of free-roaming bison.

“The disease risk is there with elk, but we can get bison from herds without any disease,” he said. He went on to say that if the bison are disease-free they should be managed as game animals.

On free range, bison aren’t likely to breed with cattle, studies conducted in other states have shown. The study is also looking at bison impact on fences, water holes and other impacts with cattle.

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“We are trying to bring this information together to see if we can get a program,” he said.

The department would like to have a background document by fall followed by a formal process in January of 2011, he noted.

Several dozen beef producers from Gallatin County (MT) attended a presentation at Milesnick Ranch, Belgrade, MT, by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regarding the possibility of free-roaming bison in the state.

The tour stop is part of a state-wide speaking tour to determine the feasibility of a free-roaming bison herd – or buffalo as they are called by Montana ranchers – and if the herd can me managed like wild deer, elk and antelope.

“Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife,” said Biologist Arnold Dood with Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “And the agency is exploring all alternatives for bison. I have been asked to evaluate opportunities for restoring wild bison somewhere in Montana.”

Dood said he was looking at the entire state and no selection had been made yet. The department is exploring all options and checking the legal status of free-roaming bison.

“The disease risk is there with elk, but we can get bison from herds without any disease,” he said. He went on to say that if the bison are disease-free they should be managed as game animals.

On free range, bison aren’t likely to breed with cattle, studies conducted in other states have shown. The study is also looking at bison impact on fences, water holes and other impacts with cattle.

“We are trying to bring this information together to see if we can get a program,” he said.

The department would like to have a background document by fall followed by a formal process in January of 2011, he noted.

Several dozen beef producers from Gallatin County (MT) attended a presentation at Milesnick Ranch, Belgrade, MT, by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regarding the possibility of free-roaming bison in the state.

The tour stop is part of a state-wide speaking tour to determine the feasibility of a free-roaming bison herd – or buffalo as they are called by Montana ranchers – and if the herd can me managed like wild deer, elk and antelope.

“Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife,” said Biologist Arnold Dood with Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “And the agency is exploring all alternatives for bison. I have been asked to evaluate opportunities for restoring wild bison somewhere in Montana.”

Dood said he was looking at the entire state and no selection had been made yet. The department is exploring all options and checking the legal status of free-roaming bison.

“The disease risk is there with elk, but we can get bison from herds without any disease,” he said. He went on to say that if the bison are disease-free they should be managed as game animals.

On free range, bison aren’t likely to breed with cattle, studies conducted in other states have shown. The study is also looking at bison impact on fences, water holes and other impacts with cattle.

“We are trying to bring this information together to see if we can get a program,” he said.

The department would like to have a background document by fall followed by a formal process in January of 2011, he noted.

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