By ExploreBigSky.com Staff Writer
A summary of nearly 23,000 comments collected during Montana’s 60-day bison conservation and management scoping effort earlier this year is now posted on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ website.
The scoping effort marked the initial phase of what could be a three-year-long process to determine if one or more managed wild bison herds would be publicly acceptable in Montana.
FWP’s Ken McDonald, chief of the Wildlife Bureau in Helena, said that the extraordinary public interest and the range of public participation are unprecedented for a wildlife management issue in Montana.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” McDonald said. “Not with wolves, not with grizzly bears, and not with elk. The bison scoping process engaged more than 20,000 individuals who took the time to deliver 22,928 comments. To say people are interested in Montana bison would be a bit of an understatement.”
The scoping process captured an array of issues and opinions including bison population management and distribution, disease concerns, private property rights, and economic and community impacts. The report breaks down the scoping issues into 19 broad topics that in total contain more than 100 associated issues. The issues and comments both support and oppose bison restoration.
The public scoping comment report is available online at fwp.mt.gov. Click “For Fish and Wildlife Information” then choose “Bison Background.”