Editor’s Note: The following is an update from Roam Free Nation on the bison “hunt” in Yellowstone National Park. You can find our original story here.


The Montana state bison “hunt” began on November 15. Eight bulls, from the imperiled Central herd, have already been killed by state hunters near West Yellowstone, in the Hebgen Basin. Yellowstone National Park has been warning against killing any buffalo in the Hebgen Basin for many years now, because the Central herd – the truly last wild, migratory buffalo – continues to decline.

The Central herd migrates both into the Hebgen Basin (to the west) and the Gardiner Basin (to the north), so they are doubly impacted by mismanagement actions. In the Gardiner Basin, both the Northern herd and Central herd move into harm’s way. But only the Central herd migrates into the Hebgen Basin, so by refraining from killing there, at least some Central herd buffalo are protected.

These warnings by the Park’s bison biologists continue to fall on the deaf ears of both state and treaty hunters. However, due to the continuing decline of the Central herd, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are proposing to reduce the number of state licenses for next year from 40 to 25 in the Hebgen Basin. It’s still 25 too many, but it’s something.

Winter has been slow to arrive. West Yellowstone (Hebgen Basin) is just now starting to get some snow. It may be a mild winter this year, and if so, it could ease human-caused hardships on the buffalo. But, just as we need the snow so the rivers will be full in spring, the buffalo need to roam, to express themselves upon the earth and heal the wounded land.


There’s been quite a flurry of activity in the past couple of weeks. Roam Free Nation joined with our allies, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies (AWR), Council for Wildlife and Fish, and the Gallatin Wildlife Association in sending a letter to Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, urging her to close the Gardiner Basin’s Beattie Gulch (“the killing fields”) to buffalo hunting.

We raised concerns about the serious public safety issues, and of course the buffalo suffer at this bottleneck migration corridor on the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. Ms. Erickson is the perfect bureaucrat who responded with policy jargon that avoided the issue entirely.

To support our effort, Mike Garrity, executive director of AWR wrote a column, “Alliance Asks Forest Service to Close Bison Hunting Area Next to Yellowstone National Park Before Someone Gets Killed.” Soon after, Roam Free Nation’s latest op-ed started making the rounds, “Cease Fire! Yellowstone Buffalo Need to Recover“.


Shortly after that, the Montana-based Bozeman Daily Chronicle began a poll asking if Beattie Gulch should be closed to buffalo hunting. We sent out a last-minute alert and so many of you responded! Thank you! As of this writing, the poll is still open to voting – so visit this link and make your voice herd now! The “yes” votes were up to 80.2% in favor of closing Beattie Gulch!


As all of this was taking place, our strong allies at AWR and Council for Wildlife and Fish, like last year, got some billboards in the works! They used Roam Free Nation’s image of a mom and baby buffalo, with the message: “Save Yellowstone Buffalo. Stop Buffalo Genocide.” There is currently a billboard up in Billings, Montana, and soon to be one in Missoula. We give thanks for all the support from AWR and CWF!!


Just the other day, our friend and ally, Steve Kelly, of Council for Wildlife and Fish had a really powerful column published, “Stop Buffalo Genocide and a Repeat of History“, representing our billboard and urging folks to contact Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson to close Beattie Gulch to buffalo “hunting”. You can take that action right now by emailing her at mary.erickson@usda.gov.


Roam Free Nation will soon be heading into the field to monitor the situation and defend our relatives, the buffalo. We need your support, however you can offer it. We give thanks to you and all of our allies for standing up for the last wild buffalo!

Wild is the Way! Roam Free!

More info on our website: www.roamfreenation.org/

Photo: Bison in Yellowstone by 12019/pixabay