Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act – HB253

by jhwygirl

On Thursday, January 29, the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks committee will hear HB253, the Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act, propose by Rep. Mike Phillips and Rep. Ted Washburn, both of Bozeman.

The House FWP committee meets at 3 p.m.

HB253 is a bipartisan bill which would essentially transfer management of bison from the Department of Livestock, where their method of slaughter-slaughter-slaughter has been both an embarrassment and a colosal failure, to Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and into the hands of wildlife professionals.

I have blogged about brucellosis and the horrible failings of the Department of Livestock (‘encouraged’ by the Montana Stockgrower’s Association) many times. Montana has lost its brucellosis-free status under the tutelage of the misguided management of bison by the DOI. It took two cases of brucellosis in the space of 2 years for Montana to lose its brucellosis-free status. Both cases of brucellosis were the result of transmission by elk to domesticated cattle.

Now, it’s been ludicrous to suggest that bison are a problem. The fact is that the only known cases of transmission of brucellosis to domesticated animals – be it cattle or horses – have come from elk. In the 12 years or more that I’ve been following this issue, I’ve yet to hear of bison being the cause of such transmission, yet while elk roam freely, bison are slaughtered in the name of “management.”

There are 3 goals to HB253:

1.Restore buffalo as “valued, native wildlife in the state of Montana.”

2.Restore Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ authority for management of wild bison including fair chase, public hunting

3.Ensure private property rights and livestock are protected, by maintaining cooperation with the Department of Livestock at MCA 81-2-121.

Bison are part of western heritage – and part of Montana’s heritage. We do our state a great service – and the nation – by recognizing this. Property rights must be protected. That means everyone’s – cattlegrowers – around the state.

Please take the time to contact the members of the House FWP committee, including chairman Kendall Van Dyke. Let them know that brucellosis management must both realistic and solution oriented; that bison are a valuable part of Montana and the west’s heritage, and that proper management can be an asset to all interested parties. This year-to-year slaughter endangers the genetic diversity of America’s largest, genetically pure and truly wild buffalo herd. It has to stop.

Kendall Van Dyk (Chair) – kvandyk@mt.gov
Gordon Hendrick (Vice Chair) – hendrickhd14@yahoo.com
Dave McAlpin (Vice Chair) – mcdave94@gmail.com
Dick Barrett = rnewbar@gmail.com
Paul Beck – no email listed
Carlie Bolandccboland@bresnan.net
Joel Boniek – no email listed
Frosty Boss Ribsfrostycbr@hotmail.com
Jill Cohenourutopiamt@prodigy.net
Mike Milburnmmilburn@mcn.net
Mike Miller – no email listed
Jesse O’Hara – no email listed
Ken Petersonkenneth59@bresnan.net
Mike Phillipsmikephillips@montana.net
JP Pomnichowskimikephillips@montana.net
Cary Smithcary@bresnan.net
Ted Washburnted@tedwashburn.com
Jeffrey Welborn – no email listed.

Doug Sternberg is the staffer – please copy him on any correspondence – his email is dsternberg@mt.gov.

You can also call. Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

The Session Information Desk is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

You can also use the online message form.

Remember – this hearing is Thursday. Let these committee members know that sane bison management and a reasonable brucellosis management plan can be accomplished. Together and mutually.

  1. Pronghorn

    Come on, Montanans, rally ’round the bison! It takes only a few minutes to e-mail a message supporting HB 253, and if you can, add your personal anecdote or inspiration from time spent communing with this precious herd. Calling the session info desk is also quick & easy–the folks staffing the phones are very helpful and will record your ‘yea’ vote for HB 253 and any brief comment you might want to send to the House FWP committee.

    While it doesn’t address permanent year-round habitat for bison in MT, HB 253 is a great start to rectifying the injustice visited upon this national treasure. Driven by the politics of greed, thousands upon thousands of wild bison lives have been squandered over the past decade by Montana and the Feds…and for what? Enough is enough! Bison don’t have a voice in Helena unless we speak for them…it’s time to speak.

  2. JC

    Thanks, jhwygirl for this update. It warms my heart to see this bill. Many of the provisions of our HB 643 that we pushed in ’99 are contained therein.

    For those that were there for our hearing on that bill in ’99, it was the largest, most contentious hearing of the session, outside of budget bills. There were lines of people snaking outside of the hearing chamber for it, and people cheering and booing from the gallery that had the chairman threatening to have them removed!

    Doug Sternberg, the staffer working on this bill was the same staffer I worked with on HB 643. He really did a great job of translating our ideas into that bill, and it seems he has done a similar job here. Kudos to the little known, and backrooms efforts by Legislative Services! It’s guys like Doug, who really understand the issues and the process, that helps to get things done in Helena.

    I echo pronghorn’s efforts to get people involved. There is no doubt that the livestock industry, and probably some state officials, will turn out in droves to testify against the bill. Those people need to see that bison supporters are resolute in their dedication to see some progressive changes in bison management by the state. Let ’em roam!

  3. Glenn Hockett

    jhwygirl, Pronghorn and JC:

    Indeed it is time for Montana’s to speak up for buffalo as well as private property rights and that is what HB 253 does. I would also suggest people call or email Governor Brian Schweitzer at 444-3111 or governor@mt.gov and/or his Chief Policy Advisor Hal Harper at 444-5546 or hharper@mt.gov and voice their support for HB 253.

  4. goof houlihan

    I thought Ted Washburn was evil incarnate on here last week?

  5. You misbehave, goof, you get called out. Not everyone is evil all the time – even you. ;-)

    I don’t know the percentage goof – I’m not keeping count – but a decent amount of the legislation that I’m posting about – that I like – is coming from Republicans.

    Good legislation is good legislation.

  6. Pronghorn

    Is it just my computer, or has this item gone missing from the front page? Heckuva time for it to disappear–there is still time to make that call or send those e-mails! This message will at least keep it in the recent comments column.

  7. It’s the third one down, Pronghorn – either that, or it IS your computer…

  8. Pronghorn

    Strange in the extreme–the first two articles are there, then, on MY screen, I get to the third and all that’s there is the first line–Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act- and a long blank space where the write up should be. Then the fourth item and so on appear in full below that–just that one is missing. Anyone else seeing what I’m seeing…? So I “selected all” to copy the page to mail to you so you could see for yourself that it’s missing, and damned if it wasn’t there in the copy. If I were paranoid, I’d say the DOL got control of my computer and is messin’ with me….but, ha ha, I know that can’t really happen, ha ha…um, right?

  9. DOL or Montana Stockgrowers Association. I put nothing past either.

  10. JC

    Pronghorn, try doing a force-reload (and/or clear your cache & reboot app) of the page to see if it clears up. I doubt the MDOL had anything to do with it, but I wouldn’t put it past them trying it if they could figure out how to do it and get away with it. ;-)

  11. JC

    I wasn’t.

    We spent too much time prowling through MDOL cardboard boxes and files with armed security guards looking over our shoulders, and fighting with them in court over getting access to even more cardboard boxes and computer files to realize that they could very well have their own version of the “plumbers.”

    Call ’em the dogies, as in get along, little dogie…

  12. JC

    Oh hell, why not? It’s humpday. We all gotta laugh once in a while. And really, you gotta check out the YouTube video while you keep the MDOL in mind:

    Git Along Little Dogies

    As I was walking one morning for pleasure
    I spied a cowpuncher riding along
    His hat was throwed back and his spurs were a-jingling
    And as he approached he was singing this song

    Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies
    It’s your misfortune and none of my own
    Whoopie ti yi yo, git along little dogies
    You know that Wyoming will be your new home

    Early in the springtime we round up the dogies
    Mark ’em and brand ’em and bob off their tails
    Round up the horses, load up the chuck wagon
    Then throw the little dogies out on the long trail


    Night comes on and we hold ’em on the bedground
    The same little dogies that rolled on so slow
    We roll up the herd and cut out the stray ones
    Then roll the little dogies like never before


    Some boys go up the long trail for pleasure
    But that’s where they get it most awfully wrong
    For you’ll never know the trouble they give us
    As we go drivin’ them dogies along


    Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies
    It’s your misfortune and none of my own
    Whoopie ti yi yo, git along little dogies
    You know that Wyoming will be your new home
    You know that Wyoming will be your new home

  13. goof houlihan

    Always liked that New York freak David Bromberg “singing that song” on a fine album “how late’ll ya play till”.

    Along with Young Westley and Summer Wages and Catskill Serenade, and of course, “great big idol with a golden head”

  14. JC

    Bromberg was fantastic. I don’t remember exactly when, but he played a dynamite concert back in Bozeman, early ’80’s, maybe. I guess he’s on tour again with the DBQ, reviving the old 80’s quartet. Would be a bang-up concert to catch, if it ever comes out this way!

    He was one fine showman from what I remember–captivating the state. I heard he was playing with Peter Rowan and Tony Rice last year. That would have been a great show to see.

    But to bring it back on thread, that was back in the days when you could wander amongst the bison as you walked from the road to the springs at the Boiling River in the dark, just an outstretched hand away from the beasts.

    That’s where I first gained my affinity with them. Soaking in the springs, with them grazing a few feet away, and swimming against the bucking current of the Gardiner River to get to the other side. A current that killed or washed away many an inebriated idiot who lost their perch on the rocks, but the bison just kept on keeping on without a worry in the world.

  15. goof houlihan

    I was inebriated in the boiling river hot pots, many times, but never enough to be washed away…well, maybe I WAS that inebriated, but it never happened to me.

    Bromberg played at the Willson school, and then downtown at Rose’s cantina “he stopped at the door” and played a while. The same rowdy crowd that was there last night was back again.

  16. Pronghorn

    JC, thanks for the computer tips…unfortunately, you might as well have been speaking Urdu, although on 2nd thought I think I know what you mean by “clear your cache.” Good advice for life in general.

    I sent e-mails to 13 of 18 legislators on the House FWP committee (5 with no e-mail…) not expecting any responses, but got a very thoughtful response from Pomnichowski of Bozeman/Gallatin Co.

  1. 1 2009 Legislative Session: Week 4 (Part II) « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Please take the time to read this post and contact the committee members, whether by email or phone call. Contact information is in that post. […]

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