Headquarters Report - West Yellowstone MT
Continued unstable weather patterns with a lack of normal snowpack regionally and in the high country persist with continued dissipation on south-facing aspects. Our field patrols worked through bitter winds and cold that brought slight accumulations of blowing snow. Conversely, we also had a few days of uncommon temperatures well above normal for this time of year.
The result of the continuing weather pattern has kept large migrations from occurring when the hostile winter conditions in the Park force animals to seek traditional wintering grounds searching out forage at lower elevations. This combined with artificially reduced numbers of free-ranging Wild Bison has kept Montana State and Treaty Buffalo hunters from opportunities to harvest.
Field patrols have seen little action as we continue with unseasonal temperature fluctuations, small accumulations of snow, and little movement from wildlife at the West end of the park. While Montana State Hunt season regulations have expired, field patrols continue as we keep an eye on unfolding threats.
Field Report - Gardiner MT
As wildlife winter this time of the year, the ungulates have been able to conserve their precious last energy through the harsh winter, extinguishing their fat reserves and holding the unborn in utero awaiting the change in spring weather.
Conditions have been favorable for wildlife wintering, the lack of migration has also led to problems arising out of the mandated capture facility at Stevens Creek, where the migrating bison are baited, harassed, captured, and imprisoned as we have reported in the past weeks. The conditions have led to little natural environmental pressures that traditionally drive Buffalo out of Yellowstone National Park’s high country into Montana at the North Gate. Weeks earlier instinct and ancestral memory provided for a family group to migrate into the Gardiner Basin, the first to journey downrange where they met their fate at the YNP Stephens Creek Capture Facility.