Does Idaho need a place for buffalo to roam?

Are roaming herds of bison like dinosaurs?

That the question that Montana is considering in a remarkable discussion about the future of wildlife in the Big Sky state. Much of the West, including Montana, is locked in debates over how to prevent sage grouse from disappearing. But Montana is considering an ambitious program to restore one of its keystone game species.

Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has organized meetings around that state to talk about restoring a large free-roaming herd of bison in the state’s northeast corner. Steve Woodruff, a former Missoulian editor, now with the National Wildlife Federation, examines the issue for Mountain West News.

Woodruff tells how ranchers oppose the measure in part because they worry that free-roaming bison will be allowed to expand everywhere and compete with them for limited water, grass and space. They argue that bison’s near elimination was a necessary prequel to the development of the West.

Bringing back free-roaming bison outside of national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton would be step backwards, not forward, these folks say.

Jay Gore, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, who moved from Boise to Missoula, sent me his thoughts on the issue. For him it's about preserving the North American model of wildlife management, where wildlife is protected as a public trust and not just for a landed few.

He sees restoration of bison as the natural next step now that sportsmen and the public have together restored populations of elk, antelope, giant Canada geese, wild turkeys, mountain bighorn sheep and goats, and others.

Surely there is a small place on our huge Great Plains for a population of free ranging bison,” Gore wrote. “Surely a core area of public land can be found, public and private funds made available, and multiple use lands made compatible for a viable herd.”

Gore acknowledged that neighboring private landowners may be inconvenienced and sustain damage. “That must be recognized and provisions made for fair compensation,” he said.

Montana is one of the Great Plains states where such discussions are farther along. But there is no reason to limit such talks to the Great Plains since bison lived in much of the intermountain West as well. And isn't he major issue about where the can live viably and be tolerated?

In Idaho the Shoshone Bannock Tribes has a small herd of bison on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. But bison management was largely taken out of the hands of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game by the Idaho Legislature when a few strays came into Island Park from Yellowstone in the 1990s.

Fear of brucellosis, a disease that causes cows to abort their young drove that decision. Ironically, it is nearly the exact opposite of what lawmakers did with bighorn sheep that were threatened by disease from domestic sheep.

It is these kinds of conflicts that make ranches weary of wildlife restoration proposals. But these too can be managed if folks avoid discouraging words.

If Idaho were to consider such a proposal, the natural area for it would be the 890 square-mile Idaho National Laboratory. This huge expanse of sagebrush steppe and grassland, along with perhaps neighboring Shoshone-Bannock lands, could give Idaho a place where herds of bison once again roam.

Wrong area.............

I think Rocky meant to say "southeast" corner of Idaho. The caribou in the northeast section will probably file a lawsuit if the buff show up in their territory.

Other state

Rocko (the other article) is referring to Montana's NE corner.

I understand your confusion though.
With Rocko's terrible writing it is difficult to understand what he is saying even when he is correct. Then, add in the all the mistakes like Wyoming being west of Yellowstone and it's really tough to read.
It's just bad!

Where do the buffalo roam

Its a little more than silly to suggest setting aside the Inel as the home for Buffalo. The fence needed to contain them would be enormous if that is part of the plan. To expect the Buffalo to stay in that area without one is laughable and not worth considering. It would be a hoot to hear the local barley and hay growers complaints when the buffalo find them. Free roaming means just that to say depradation and damage would be reimbursed by a fund reminds me of the same promises made on wolf reintroduction to ranchers. However the sight of police chasing buffalo thru mud lake and idaho falls is amusing.


Rocko writes this:
"now that sportsmen and the public have together restored populations of elk, antelope, giant Canada geese, wild turkeys, mountain bighorn sheep and goats, and others."

The source, James Gore wrote this:
"sportsmen and women have funded the recovery and repopulation of such critters as elk, antelope, giant Canada geese, wild turkeys, mountain bighorn sheep and goats, and others."

Gore does not mention "the public" anywhere in his opinion at the Missoulian.

And some animals like turkeys were transplanted to areas they NEVER existed before solely for the purpose of hunting them. So there was no "restoring" those populations in many areas.


Rocko reads something and changes the content and meaning when he types it out. Not once, or twice, but all time.
Is it a reading comprehension problem because he's an idiot, or is it because he's intentionally trying to change the message?



"Montana is one of the Great Plains states "

It is a stretch if not completely wrong to call Montana a Great Plains State.
While the Great Plains extends into Montana, it is no more a Great Plains state than Colorado and Wyoming. Colorado, a Great Plains state? That's silly!


Oh wait, Rocko, is Montana a Great Plains state or is it a Rocky Mountains state?

That's nice.

"In Idaho the Shoshone Bannock Tribes has a small herd of bison on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation."

They have 200-300 head of bison.
And they raise them for MEAT.

That's nice. Big deal.

Ted Turner owns about 50,000 head of bison to supply his chain of restaurants.

Rocko, maybe you haven't read the news- ranchers are raising bison now. In all 50 states, in fact, there are bison.

The next bison you see might be headed to the slaughterhouse. It's what's for dinner!

Spelling Bee

Wrongo Rocko writes it like this, "the Big Sky state".

Okay kiddies, just like when you learned "Gem State" in 4th grade, the full nickname is capitalized. This is just like a name and names are capitialized.

Montana's nickname is correctly spelled as "the Big Sky State".

Our next lesson is, "Why You Shouldn't Read Newspapers".

Now let's get ready for recess.

Is this like 'EEG'?


You fry wants with that?

shout out

Here's a shout out to the "local" bison producers.

You can call or visit their websites to buy bison. Get cha some:

Brown's Buffalo Ranch sells at the Capital City Market.

Rocko thinks a wolf puppy in the ZOO is "wild". So a buffalo on a ranch must be 'wild' too. We obviously already have places, in Idaho, where buffalo roam.

You can't keep them ALL in the FREEZER...


You fry wants with that?

All all the species NORTON Buffalo was the best


You fry wants with that?