Published November 29, 2015
YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA — Last Thursday, November 20, 2015, the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) participants held their fall meeting. During the meeting, there was bickering between the state agencies, federal agencies, and the tribes — not over whether or not to kill — but how, and how many.
The tribes who hunt under treaty rights and who do not have slaughter agreements with Yellowstone (Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Shoshone-Bannock) were asking Yellowstone to delay capture for slaughter until the end of March — because all combined, these tribes hunt through March, which is just a few weeks before calving season starts. They weren’t advocating for no slaughter, but for a delay, so that they could have more “harvest opportunities.” Another tribe, the Confederated Salish & Kootenai, objected to postponing slaughter; they hunt under treaty right and also have a slaughter agreement with Yellowstone.
Also objecting to a delay in slaughter was the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, a federally chartered bison ranching corporation, who also has a slaughter agreement with Yellowstone.
Yellowstone Park officials didn’t want to delay either. The Park said they wanted to start capture and slaughter by mid-February, and that if they delayed until late-March then it would halt slaughter altogether because they didn’t want to send late-term pregnant buffalo to slaughter. Apparently Yellowstone has no problem slaughtering those same pregnant buffalo a few weeks earlier. Yellowstone is eager to slaughter because they are concerned that hunters won’t be able to kill enough buffalo with hunting alone.