The bison population on the outskirts east of Yellowstone has grown over the years as solitary bulls slowly migrate away from the park. Now, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proposing the first-ever hunt in that area known as the North Fork to address that.
There are two other places where bison hunting is permitted in Wyoming, and tags for those areas are often in high demand.
Doug Brimeyer is with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He says when the bison population spillovers into developed areas, it’s an issue.
“They move into subdivisions, they tear out fences, and they cause property damage,” said Brimeyer.
There’s also concern with roadways and the transmission of brucellosis, a disease that can cause livestock like cattle to miscarry. The hunt would include three tags and Game and Fish would use a randomized draw.
Three doesn’t sound like much but Mike Mease said that’s the problem. He’s with the Buffalo Field Campaign, a non-profit advocacy group.
“I think we need to quit managing for minimal numbers for buffalo and start to expand them so that maybe everyone would have an opportunity instead of being the lucky lottery winner,” said Mease.
Idaho and Montana are two other states that offer state-sanctioned bison hunting.
Public comment for the hunt is open until April 4.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.