Bison photographed Jan. 9, 2022. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — Bison operations began at the Stephens Creek administrative area in Yellowstone National Park late last week, announced Yellowstone National Park, today, Feb. 22.

Bison capture and shipping operations begin when bison migrate from the interior of the park into the Gardiner Basin and may continue through late March.

Bison operations at Stephens Creek happen as part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), whose partners include federal, state and tribal groups. The 2022 winter operations plan recommends removing 600 to 900 animals from Yellowstone’s population of more than 5,000 bison.

The population will be reduced using three methods: public and Tribal hunting outside the park; capturing bison near the park boundary and then transferring them to Native American tribes for processing and distribution of meat and hides to their members and the Bison Conservation Transfer Program that results in brucellosis-free bison being moved to tribal lands.

Located in the northern section of the park near Gardiner, Montana, the Stephens Creek administrative area includes park corral operations, equipment storage, a native plant nursery and the bison capture and quarantine facilities. The administrative area is closed to the public year-round.

Beginning in 2018, the park, in coordination with several federal and state partners and Tribal Nations, started the Bison Conservation Transfer Program to identify migrating bison that do not have brucellosis and transfer them to new areas as an alternative to sending them to slaughter. Since 2019, 182 bison have been transferred to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Of those, roughly 140 were transferred to the InterTribal Buffalo Council and given to about 20 other member Tribes across North America, which has been the largest transfer of Yellowstone bison among Native American Tribes in history.

Learn more here, about why Yellowstone bison numbers are controlled.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.