The bison battles in Montana continued Wednesday. As Republicans decried the move by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, to move genetically pure bison from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Schweitzer visited the National Bison Range on the Flathead Indian Reservation to discuss transporting more Yellowstone bison there.
Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin was with Schweitzer at the range:
MOIESE – A dozen or so bison, chased by hollering horseback riders, thundered down a hillside at the National Bison Range Tuesday, oblivious to the human battles taking place in their name.
The “mini-roundup,” as Bison Range manager Jeff King explained, had a purpose – to cull out four of the animals for placement in a display pasture near the Visitor Center.
But it was timed to coincide with a visit by Gov. Brian Schweitzer and federal officials the governor has verbally sparred with over wildlife management decisions in recent months.
Specifically, the U.S. Department of Interior in December initially turned down Schweitzer’s proposal to relocate dozens of what the governor called “brucellosis-free, genetically pure” bison captured outside Yellowstone National Park to the Bison Range.
At the time, Schweitzer called the Bison Range herd “genetically impure mongrels” and blocked the Interior Department from transporting fish or wildlife anywhere within the state or across state lines in response.