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Montana's decision to trap wild bison inside Yellowstone National Park has devastating consequences not just on Montana's bison populations and ecosystems, but also on indigenous peoples. Each winter, indigenous tribes and state hunters travel to hunt Yellowstone bison at the border of Yellowstone National Park as the animals migrate out of the park in search of food. This small window of time has become indigenous peoples' only opportunity to hunt wild bison (legal via treaty rights), meaning they are forced to hunt in an area so tiny, with so many other people, that it becomes dangerous for both them and the nearby residents.

Since the mid-1990s, the Montana Board of Livestock has relied upon a now discredited strategy for managing Yellowstone bison. They keep bison population levels low through extermination – and take advantage of indigenous tribes by having them do the extermination for them – so as to stop the spread of a disease known as brucellosis, which can cause cows to abort.

However, there has never been a case of bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle. In contrast, every single case of brucellosis transmitted from wildlife to cattle in the past several years has been traced back to elk, not bison. So why are we still holding on to this outdated, unethical and illogical strategy?

We need to reform Yellowstone bison management for the safety of our people, the health of our precious ecosystems and the continued restoration of the bison.

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Anson Millsap

Bozeman