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Total Yellowstone
Buffalo Killed
Since 1985
9,172
(past counts)

Yellowstone Bison Slaughter
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How many cattle graze within the range of the Yellowstone buffalo?

In winter, very few cattle graze on the north side of Yellowstone National Park in the Gardiner basin. Because of the harsh winter climate no cattle graze on the west side of Yellowstone National Park in the Hebgen basin.

In summer, cattle are trucked in to seasonally graze public and private lands.
* On the west side of the Park, 686 cattle graze from June - October.
* On the north side of the Park, 677 cattle graze from May - October.

Sources: Kilpatrick et al, Wildlife-livestock conflict: the risk of pathogen transmission from bison to cattle outside Yellowstone National Park (2009). M. Daley, Gallatin National Forest, IBMP Changes 2000-2008 (September 2008).

See also- Yellowstone Bison - Cattle Conflict Fact Sheet

Private Land with Cattle
north of Yellowstone National Park


Click here for larger image
The private land with cattle on the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park are very few or far removed from the area where the bison migrate in winter.
Private Land with Cattle
west of Yellowstone National Park


Click here for larger image
This map shows the private land with cattle on the west side of Yellowstone National Park. Please note that there are no cattle in the West Yellowstone Area, Oct- June, due to the harsh winters.

One private land holding with cattle graze near the border of Yellowstone National Park. Called Stinnets field, it is located near the Duck Creek bison capture pen owned by the Koelzer family on private lands, and operated by the Montana Dept. of Livestock.

According to the GAO's 1999 report,
"Bison migrate into Montana across the northern and western boundaries of the park. In the north, when bison exit the park, they move onto adjacent national forestland or onto private land around the community of Gardiner, where several hundred cattle are present almost year-round. In the west, when bison leave the park, they move onto national forestland and private land around the community of West Yellowstone. Up to a few hundred cattle may occupy select public and private lands in the West Yellowstone area in the summer months, but no cattle are present in the winter. Depending on the time of year and the size of the cattle herds, over 2,000 cattle can occupy public and private land in the Montana portion of the Greater Yellowstone area.

According to the Park Service, it is important to note that only a portion of these 2,000 cattle actually occupy lands where bison are most likely to move. Specifically, on the north side of the park, approximately 300 cattle occupy private lands and about 80 cattle occupy public lands where bison are likely to move during the winter and early spring. On the west side of the park, approximately 350 cattle occupy lands where bison are likely to be found. However, these cattle are not grazed year-round and are not present when bison are actually in the area. As a result, only about 730 of the 2,000 cattle in the Greater Yellowstone area actually occupy lands that bison generally use when they leave the park."

This report was done before the Horse Butte grazing allotment buyout.
There are currently no cattle on public lands where bison migrate.
FAQ about the yellowstone buffalo slaughter
Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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