Today FWP Director, Joe Maurier signed an official "Record of Decision"
suggesting that 68 bison held in quarantine be relocated to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation near Malta and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation near Wolf Point respectively. Last January Maurier wasn't so keen on this idea. In his own words during a commission meeting,
If we give them [buffalo] to another nation, it could be seen as the ultimate in privatization. So, until we can resolve that issue, I will not be able to do much. But it's still under consideration.
Also, in January there were other relocation sites considered. Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area. Again Maurier considered these areas because he was looking for appropriate areas that could support huntable populations of at least 50 bison. 50 is a "huntable population?" How many tags would be sold?
Now, however these sites were rejected by many neighboring landowners, livestock producers, local governments, and hunters. Hunters? How ironic.
If the bison are moved onto Tribal lands the bison, like the people, will still be subjected to the rules and regs of the federal government.
The following is from a media release by FWP
Accordingly, management-plan agreements for each tribal site must include commitments to: (1) continue disease testing for five years, (2) properly contain bison, (3) immediately respond to any escapes of bison, and (4) provide Montana with disease-free bison for future conservation efforts. There are no infrastructure costs for FWP to pay associated with the recommended tribal lands.
FWP Commission will decide on this at its meeting in Helena on Dec. 9. If approved the bison could be moved this winter. I hope they are moved. This would be one step closer in the right direction toward restoring what the US government tried to eliminate 200 years ago.