Buffalo Field Campaign director enters 2007-2008 bison migration season on probation
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2007:
BOZEMAN–Buffalo Field Campaign director Daniel Brister, 37,
was fined $585 and put on six months of probation on October 10,
2007, after a six-member jury convicted him of obstructing a peace
officer, in an incident which ended in Brister receiving three
staples at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital to close a scalp wound.
Brister was arrested near West Yellowstone, Montana, on May
9, 2007, while videotaping law enforcement officers who were
hazing about 300 bison back into Yellowstone National Park.
A Buffalo Field Campaign press release issued soon afterward
said the incident began when volunteer Peter David Bogusko urged
Montana Highway Patrol officer Shane Cox to close Highway 191 before
the herd stampeded across it. Bogusko was apparently unaware that
the U.S. Forest Service had already closed the highway. Cox ordered
Bogusko to leave the area. When Bogusko allegedly tried to go a
different direction, Cox arrested him. Bogusko then allegedly
kicked out a side window of Cox’s patrol car, and was charged with
felony criminal mischief.
“I heard Peter screaming,” Brister told Bozeman Chronicle
staff writer Scott McMillion. Brister went to investigate, and when
Cox ordered him away, stood behind the patrol car. “The next thing
I knew,” Brister told McMillion, “my face was in the ground. He
tackled me from behind.”
According to Montana Highway Patrol captain Tom Butler,
Brister “was assisted to the ground, handcuffed, and placed in the
Evidence about Brister’s arrest and injury was excluded from
his trial. Brister appealed the verdict, and said he is also
considering filing a lawsuit against the Montana Highway Patrol.
Cox, a 2001 graduate of the Montana Highway Patrol Recruit
Training Academy, has left the highway patrol.
The Yellowstone bison and elk herds have long been afflicted
with endemic brucellosis, a disease which causes miscarriages and
stillbirths. Bison entering Montana from Yellowstone are killed to
avoid the possibility–which has never actually occurred–that they
might transmit brucellosis to domestic cattle. Bison and cattle are
both bovines; elk are not, and therefore the risk of transmission
from elk to cattle is believed to be less.
If brucellosis appears in cattle, federal law requires that
all cattle transported out of the state where it occurs must be
tested at the ranchers’ expense until the disease is eradicated.
At the end of July 2007, the Montana Department of Fish,
Parks, & Wildlife reportedly reached an agreement in principle with
the Church Universal & Triumphant to allow bison to cross the
church-owned Royal Teton Ranch to reach 2,000 acres in the Gallatin
National Forest, where they would be safely on federal land. The
deal would require the federal government to lease the Royal Teton
Brucellosis occurred in May 2007 in seven cows on a ranch in
Emigrant, just north of the Royal Teton Ranch. The source was
believed to have been cattle imported from out of state. About 600
cattle from the Emigrant herd were killed to keep Montana officially
A record 1,003 bison were killed after entering Montana
during the winter of 2005-2006, but only two were killed in
2006-2007, beyond the 31 who were reported shot by hunters. About
7,000 hunters applied for the 140 licenses issued to hunt bison in
Montana during the 2006-2007 season. Only 44 licenses have been
offered for the winter of 2007-2008, but as many as 100 more may be
offered if larger numbers of bison than usual leave Yellowstone.
Bison are also hunted on the National Elk Refuge, south of
Yellowstone, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The recent annual toll
has been around 140-150, but a new regional elk and bison
management plan calls for reducing the bison population to about 500,
from the present 1,200, by increasing the hunting quota to 300.
The Yellowstone bison herd has recovered to about 4,700,
Yellowstone chief of natural resources Glenn Plumb announced on
October 14, 2007. This is 30% more bison than Yellowstone had a
year ago and just 200 below the highest count ever, recorded in