Stephen's Creek Bison Capture Facility Reopens
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
Yellowstone National Park has opened the Interagency bison capture facility at Stephen's Creek for the third time this winter to capture a group of approximately 300 bison that have crossed onto private lands. These bison, captured to prevent mixing of cattle and bison on private lands in the Stephens Creek boundary area, will be held for later release back into the park and will not be tested for brucellosis.
Bison have been hazed in the Stephen's Creek area 18 times since the facility was last closed on February 17. When hazing in the Stephen's Creek boundary area is no longer effective or safe, capture operations may be conducted. Since Sunday, bison have repeatedly crossed the park’s north boundary at night, west of the Yellowstone River onto private lands near Corwin Springs.
The Boundary Lands area, including the Stephen's Creek facility, is closed to the public during capture operations for safety reasons. A map and information on the closure will be available for public review during normal business hours at the Superintendent’s Office, the Chief Ranger’s Office and at Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.
The Stephen's Creek facility has operated twice this year, from January 11-27 and February 10-17. During that time, 939 bison were captured at Stephens Creek. 849 animals were shipped to slaughter with the meat distributed to food assistance programs.
The late winter/early spring population of Yellowstone bison is approximately 3,500 animals.
The facility is operated under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status. Protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status requires keeping bison from mixing with cattle grazing on lands outside the park.
The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This is the sixth winter the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions.