2022-23 FWP Bison Hunt Regulations

Thank you to everyone who commented! The overwhelming majority of comments – 75% – were for adding additional protections for the buffalo. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks voted to approve the current bison hunt regulations without any change. So much for public comments – but they heard our voices, even if they didn’t want to, enough so that they even skipped over the public commentary period on bison issues at their February 4th public meeting.

Buffalo mourning a fallen relative.

Comments now needed by January 21st, on Montana’s 2022-2023 Bison Hunt Regulations!

This is a great opportunity to raise our voices for Yellowstone’s imperiled Central herd, the last truly wild, migratory buffalo left in the country. It’s also an opportunity to challenge the slaughter disguised as a “hunt” in the Gardiner Basin, especially at Beattie Gulch. Public comments are being accepted for a very short time, now through January 21, 2022.

MT FWP is proposing no changes. Comment and share widely!

1. Urge Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to close bison hunting in the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone National Park to offer some protection to the imperiled Central herd.

2. Tell Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks to work with tribal bison hunt managers and end the firing line at Beattie Gulch.Submit comments here:https://fwp.mt.gov/…/public-comment…/reg-proposals/bison


• The Central buffalo herd – the direct descendants of the 23 survivors of the 19th century government slaughter – remain in danger. Central herd buffalo migrate both west into Montana’s Hebgen Basin, and also north into Montana’s Gardiner Basin, making them doubly impacted by “management” schemes, including excessive “hunting”, capture for slaughter, and capture for quarantine (domestication). Central herd buffalo are the only ones who migrate west into the Hebgen Basin, and they are in so much trouble that for the past few years Yellowstone NP and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials have called for NO KILLING of buffalo in the Hebgen Basin. So far, these have only been recommendations and they have fallen completely on deaf ears. State and treaty hunters don’t seem to care that the buffalo they are hunting are in such dire straits.

• The Gardiner Basin / Beattie Gulch – here, the buffalo rarely ever make it further than Beattie Gulch, Forest Service land adjacent to Yellowstone’s north boundary. What passes for a “hunt” make the buffalo unable to access another eleven miles of habitat to the north. Because of hunting they can barely access one square mile out of the 75,000 acres of habitat they’ve been granted in the Gardiner Basin. That situation is created by hunters. Also in the Gardiner Basin, the Travertine/Jardine/Eagle Creek area used to be teeming with buffalo. Since the hunt began, very few buffalo are found there now. Family groups from 20-30 buffalo at a time are gunned down at Beattie Gulch in the span of 5 minutes; often buffalo are hit but not killed – jaws blown off, gut shot, fleeing back into the Park, for park officials to “dispatch.” Pregnant female buffalo continue to be gunned down just weeks prior to calving season, leaving baby buffalo in the gut piles of their mothers across the Beattie Gulch landscape. There will never be the ability for wild buffalo to restore themselves when every single one who leaves Yellowstone through Beattie Gulch is gunned down. At the very least, the hunting of adult females must end. Too many calves are never born because they are left in their mother’s gut piles. It is the adult females who are the matriarchs of the family groups, the ones who hold the wisdom and teach the others.

PLEASE SUBMIT COMMENTS! Yellowstone’s buffalo herds are this country’s last wild, migratory herds. They are ecologically extinct and fundamentally endangered, though they are afforded zero protections. In either Basin, hunters are teaching the buffalo not to migrate in the direction of restoration. They are also killing off migratory memory and changing the herd dynamics by taking so many of the matriarchs who lead the family groups. Urge MT FWP to place a moratorium on hunting in the Hebgen Basin and end the firing-line slaughter in the Gardiner Basin and allow wild buffalo to recover and restore themselves on the lands that are their birthright. How do we measure recovery? Montana alone could sustain at least a million buffalo. That’s a good place to start.