Gov. Bullock's office released this memo May 23 from him to Jan French of the Board of Livestock, with his directive for bison management as hazing operations begin around Yellowstone National Park, including on private property.
As provided by Section 81-2-120, MCA, the management of buffalo or wild bison by the Department of Livestock is to be conducted pursuant to a plan that is approved by me. Under that statute, the Department may enter private property to remove bison if the bison are infected with a dangerous disease and that disease may spread to persons or livestock. This authority is discretionary.
In the exercise of that authority, Department personnel have historically entered private property without permission, using helicopters, motorized vehicles and horses. Private landowners have expressed concerns about the impacts to their private property rights.
Therefore, in accordance with the authority vested in me by section 81-2-120, I provide the following direction to the Department:
Effective May 21, 2014, the Department may not enter private property without landowner permission unless there is an imminent threat of disease transmission from bison to livestock or people. This direction shall remain in effect until otherwise directed.