Yellowstone buffalo still seem to be causing anguish to some folks around the state. We wrote a blog post back on Dec 6th about the Governor agreeing to allow the relocation of some of the controversial buffalo to the Fort Belknap Reservation in Blaine County. Aside from the common concern from ranchers about potential brucellosis infections infecting their cattle herds the most common complaint we heard from Blaine County ranchers was that the reservation could not or would not adequately fence their pastures to keep the bison from wandering on neighboring grazing land. Ranchers contended that tribal buffalo ranges were already over-grazed and the addition of more animals was just an invitation for disaster. In the beginning of 2009 15-25 neighboring ranchers testified that reservation bison were continually getting on their land and the problem had gotten so exasperating that one rancher actually shot some of the tribe’s forever wandering bison.
According to a 2009 news report by Elizabeth l. Doney Editor of the Fort Belknap News tribal leaders stressed that they had received money from the Defenders of Wildlife for fencing and Senator Tester was pursuing additional 2010 appropriations for funding adequate fencing. Even though three years have passed since this angry encounter bison are still deemed a problem by adjacent landowners.
As usual the Havre Daily “News” has made no mention of this local community story but further articles can be viewed on these links
Great Falls Tribune
Idaho Press - Tribune