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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Feds propose killing up to 900 Yellowstone bison

Yellowstone bison forage for grass in the snow near an icy Madison River in Montana. (Associated Press)
Yellowstone bison forage for grass in the snow near an icy Madison River in Montana. (Associated Press)

WILDLIFE -- Even in the vast expanse of Yellowstone National Park, there's not enough room for all the bison, especially in winter when snow drives many of them to lower elevations, across the boundaries and into Montana livestock country.

Park managers are planning what's being headlined as a bison slaughter. 

The outcry generated by animal rights groups will be a bloodbath in itself.

But if you've been to Yellowstone in recent years, you may have noticed the overgrazing and the trees dying from being horn-hooked by bison bulls.   There are simply too many for the carrying capacity of the park. Wolves and grizzlies have enjoyed the bounty, but they haven't been able to significantly curb the numbers  -- as they did with elk.

Here's the latest from the Associated Press:

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Government agencies aim to kill or remove up to 900 wild bison from Yellowstone National Park as part of an ongoing effort to reduce the animals’ annual migration into Montana.

Park officials on Tuesday released details of plans for 600 to 900 bison to be killed this winter by hunters or captured and sent to slaughter. That potentially would be the most in one winter since 2008.

Bison migrate annually from the high country of Yellowstone to their historical winter grazing grounds at lower elevations in Montana. Since the 1980s, worries over disease have prompted the killing of about 8,200 park bison.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk says the National Park Service is “uncomfortable” with the practice and would reduce the scope of the slaughter if bison could roam more freely outside the park.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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