By Monty Billing
My Opinion 

Why Did The Bison Cross The Road?

 


This was written based off comments that have been expressed at meetings across the state.

Fish, Wildlife, and Parks put wild and free roaming bison on a refuge, but there was nothing to keep them there. The refuge was rugged and had undesirable forage and poor water. Bison prefer flatter ground and better food, so the bison crossed the road.

The bison found private property that had been managed by the same family for over 100 years. Generations of water development and good grazing plans created desirable forage, so the bison helped themselves.

They tore up the cattle fences, ate the hay stacks and scattered the pure bred cattle throughout the neighborhood. They destroyed riparian areas and scattered noxious weeds from drainage to drainage. They came to fields of hay, grain, and specialty crops; discovered a tasty treat and a nice place to roll and paw; and destroyed a year's crop in hours. The trail of disease and destruction created severe financial hardship for the ag producer. And more bison crossed the road.


Bison went to recreation and camping sites and discovered that high dollar RV's and boats made good rubbing posts. Campgrounds soon became covered in smelly bison residue. Campers, fishermen and tourists did not like this and quit using those sites. The bison consumed forage for deer and elk, which caused them to move on. This caused resentment from hunters who had to find new areas to hunt ending long relationships with local property owners.

And more bison crossed the road.

Increased collisions on highways caused a rise in traffic deaths and travelers began looking for alternate routes, which brought fewer dollars to businesses that relied on tourists. They came into town, destroyed lawns, parks and homes, visited the school playground, got scared and stampeded. Luckily most of the children survived. Less revenue meant less business in town, which resulted in people leaving. Small towns relied on volunteers for fire, ambulance, various boards, 4-H, sports, etc., so everything suffered. And more bison crossed the road.

Bison numbers promised by FWP were easily met and exceeded, several times. All attempts to control the numbers: hunting, hazing, contraceptive means, etc... were met with lawsuits by wildlife advocates keeping decisions tied up in court for years, while the herd kept growing and expanding. And more bison crossed the road.

Bison are great animals, there are lots of bison ranches, reservations, parks and confined areas already set aside for them.

Times have changed; it will never be 1805 again. Bison should not be reintroduced as wild and free roaming. The moral of the story: Don't let the bison cross the road!

The writer of this piece, Monty Billing, is from Garfield City.

 

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