Fears over bison lead to several more bills

By Matt Gouras
Helena, Montana (AP) January 2011

Lawmakers are looking at several new measures aimed at easing fears about the migration and movement of wild bison.

Ranchers and others have become increasingly worried about bison and plans to move them to new areas in the state – either for domestic herds or on state or tribal land. They fear the bison will transmit brucellosis to their cattle.

One bill pitched last week would require county approval to move in wild bison. Another measure would clarify that bison are legally considered livestock and not wild animals, perhaps making it easier to capture loose bison.

Another would mandate that the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks write a bison management plan before putting the animals on state land, as some fear will happen.