and state officials tentatively agreed Wednesday to cull between 600 and 900 bison from the Yellowstone population this winter. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that culled bison will either be shot by hunters as herds leave Yellowstone National Park to find food, or they will be rounded up.
Most those animals captured will be sent to slaughter, but around 80 can be placed into the park’s quarantine program at Stephens Creek, which is in the midst of an expansion. The Chronicle article says as many as 200 more bison could be captured or hunted in late winter if initial target numbers are met and conditions warrant more removals. Officials from the agencies debated and word-smithed for hours before agreeing to set the 200-animal cap.
While officials agreed upon the provisional culling numbers Wednesday, the operations plan for managing bison through this winter has yet to be signed. Officials recommended removals be focused near the northern boundary of the park where animals in Yellowstone’s central and northern herds intermix. The park’s most recent counts show that Yellowstone’s bison numbers are up to around 5,450 animals.