Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to close a small portion of HD 385 in Beattie Gulch near Gardiner and on the border of Yellowstone National Park to bison hunting due to safety concerns.
The proposed closure is out for public comment now and will be decided upon by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its Oct. 17 meeting.
Bison season opens Nov. 15.
In recent years, between 200 and 300 bison are harvested every year within a small quarter-mile-square area at the mouth of Beattie Gulch within the proposed closure, and the density of hunters has increased beyond what FWP considers safe. It is common for 20 to 30 or more hunters to shoot simultaneously as groups of bison cross the boundary from Yellowstone National Park into this area. The objective of this proposal is to implement measures for hunter safety while maintaining fair chase hunter opportunity and success in the rest of the hunting district.
A primary corridor for bison migrating north of Yellowstone Park is through Beattie Gulch, and hunters congregate here to take advantage of migrating herds. This proposal would only impact state hunters, not tribal hunters exercising off-reservation treaty rights. FWP issued 40 licenses for the Gardiner Basin portion of HD 385 to state hunters this year.
Comments on the proposal will be taken until Friday, Oct. 12, at 5 p.m., and at the commission meeting on Oct. 17. Comments can be submitted online at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/publicComments/2018/beattieGulchBisonHuntingClosure.html.