Saturday, January 19, 2013

Anti-Montana Bison Bill - SB 143

The War on Wildlife in the Montana Legislature continues. Senator John Brenden (R) Scobey has introduced an Anti-Montana Bison Bill - SB 143. This bill would require the immediate slaughter, removal and/or sale of all native bison that enter the state of Montana from Yellowstone National Park whether they are on public or private land.

SB 143 Will Create a Zero Tolerance Policy for Native Bison in Southwest Montana: Senator Brendan, an aggressive enemy of wild bison, fails to recognize bison as valued native public wildlife in Montana. He needs to hear from you.

SB 143 Violates the Public Trust as well as Private Property Rights: SB 143 gives anti-bison landowners carte blanche to kill any native public bison that happens to wander across their property. It would force the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department to act as an accomplice to this act. While many private landowners in the Greater Yellowstone Area enjoy native bison, SB 143 would require the Department of Livestock to enter private property without permission to slaughter and/or remove these native bison - so much for respecting private property rights.

SB 143 is also likely Unconstitutional. The Montana Supreme Court (Sacksmen and Rathbone cases) and a very recent court decision in Park County just north of Yellowstone National Park clarify that wildlife are part of the landscape. Most Montana landowners recognize this and understand that some native wildlife use of their property is a responsibility of landownership. In both Sacksmen and Rathbone the court stated, "Wild game existed here long before the coming of man. One who acquires property in Montana does so with the notice and knowledge of the presence of wild game. Accordingly, a property owner in this state must recognize there may be some injury to property from wild game for which there is no recourse."

SB 143 would unreasonably limit Native Bison Translocation in Montana only to the high-fenced National Bison Range at Moiese, which cannot handle any more bison. Thus, SB 143 would prevent any native bison restoration efforts elsewhere in Montana such as the landscape in and around the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in north central Montana.

SB 143 Treats Native Bison as Vermin: Finally, SB 143 would eliminate the current regulated bison hunting license and replace it with a shoot on sight license. No rules, no regulations, no management, no respect – bison could be shot on sight year round.

Comment to the Senate Fish & Game Committee: SB 143 has not been slated for a hearing yet, but it will be heard in the Montana Senate Fish & Game Committee soon. Please send your comments to the Senate Fish & Game Committee here:

On the form below, select "Committee" Scroll down the drop down menu to "Senate Fish and Game" and on the bill line, type "SB 143".

You can also email Senator Brenden directly:

Here is a link to the language of SB 143:

Please spread the word about this anti-Montana bison bill and encourage others to comment.


Glenn Hockett
Volunteer President, Gallatin Wildlife Association 

Note added by Wildlife Advocacy: Senator Brenden is the owner of Brenden Farms in Scobey and also a recipient of $15,478 in subsidies from 2001 to present.


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