Vermin and Heathens

With all the focus on the Affordable Care Act changes coming January 1, other policy changes we could see next year have gone largely unnoticed.

Early next year, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and Department of Livestock will decide whether bison could be roaming free year-round on more than as 400,000 acres next to Yellowstone. They could also decide that nothing will change, and small existing bison zones will remain in place.

Either option is sure to upset Montana state Senator John Brenden, who demonstrated the GOP’s amazing grasp of culture, race, and science on April 11th, 2013, during his SB 143 hearing before the House Ag. Committee, when he compared wild bison in Montana to heathens, and domesticated bison to Christians:

“They are maintaining that bison from Yellowstone National Park are wildlife. There’s been bills and discussions put in, that once they are in captivity, they become domesticated, or they’re livestock. If I knew the exact transition, the moment that you go from being a heathen into a Christian, I don’t know that answer. It’s a very difficult one.”

Brenden’s comments invoke the views of white colonizers toward American Indians, who–along with the bison–were often targeted for extermination. He also said of the only genetically pure bison left (those not bred with cattle):


“Why do you want to spread this creeping cancer, these woolly tanks, around the state of Montana?” he asked. “Trying to bring back the buffalo in big herds across Montana is like bringing back dinosaurs. And who wants dinosaurs in Montana? I certainly don’t.”

Brendon’s bill, which basically classified bison “vermin . . . in need of extermination” was one of 14 anti-bison bills brought to the floor this past legislative session.



12 Comments on "Vermin and Heathens"

  1. The ‘senator’ certainly ain’t ‘pure’ considering the MASSIVE amounts of ‘gummint’ subsidies he’s got from Uncle Sam, SIX figures worth, $800,000 plus I believe and report earlier on Cowgirl. The Bison is a noble animal, and there’s no way we’re going to have million head herds crossing the plains like we see with Brendan’s frack-heads smothering the plains like locusts taking more water than all herds combined!

  2. Fracking vrs Buffalo? Yeah I will take the buffalo any time. seems like the Balkins will be the undoing of fresh water in the eastern part of the Montana state. and the water tables around those areas will become undrinkable very soon. According to a new report, Every fracking job requires 2 million to 4 million gallons of water, according to the Groundwater Protection Council. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has estimated that the 35,000 oil and gas wells used for fracking consume between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year. That’s about equal, EPA says, to the water use in 40 to 80 cities with populations of 50,000 people, or one to two cities with a population of 2.5 million each.North Dakota has 8000 wells now and wants 42,000 more…. I believe in 10 years North Dakota will be a sewer hole so will eastern Montana.

  3. If bison are vermin, will the roach motel people have to build bigger traps?

  4. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 13, 2013 8:10 PM at 8:10 PM |

    Bad, bad seed! Daddy cruz, fascist luvin’ shitbag, raised a good one in teddy boy! And now, the fascist Batista legacy has come to America! Yes, we are now officially a banana republic when we have the likes of the shitbag cruz family calling the shots and bringing the country to a standstill! Does NO ONE out there even remember their history any longer? God DAMN, you dumbassed Murcans, open a goddamned BOOK now and then and read about the slimey shitbags like the cruz family who fled Cuba! They are NOT very nice people! And yet teddy the turd cruz just brought the government to the verge of shutdown! Batista would be SO proud of his shit!

    I knew it! Like daddy cruz says, ya just cain’t trust them darkies! Always votin’ against the wishes of Jaysus! Damn darkies! And even after all we done for’em! Hell,din’t we bring them to Murca???

  5. A friend in Billings told me something back when Marc Racicot was governor that took me years to grasp: the matter of public policy surrounding management of bison is completely in the hands of the livestock industry. The job of the governor is to pretend to lead on the matter, to make people think that what the industry does is his/her idea. The legislature has even less influence in the matter.

    Racicot was a gifted politician (as was Schweitzer), and their only true job with bison was to avoid getting taken down in the manner that Stan Stephens was. (Racicot’s genius was to move the annual slaughter out of range of cameras. If people don’t see photos, they aren’t aware of the matter.)

  6. Yes, let the Bison (whom this post claims are akin to bovine wildlife, if there even is such a thing) roam from the protection of Yellowstone National Park into Park County, MT, where they so rightfully belong. The Bison meandering from the Roosevelt Arch into Gardiner, MT provide fairly decent entertainment for multitude of tourists visiting YNP, of which are mainly International fellows who aren’t privileged with paying federal taxes (which fund all the national parks, including Yellowstone) The residents of Gardiner, MT would be be in agreement with my statement that the Bison provide quite the aesthetic aspect to the local High School football field, which is one of the Bison’s favorite locales to ‘chill’ while YNP visitors snap photos. I, a Park County local, am so very pleased that I get to witness Bison roaming along Highway 89 during the Winter months, when too much snow cover in the Park forces the Bison out, possibly because they’re slightly overpopulated. Only slightly. Fortunately for the Bison and their calves, the fields and property owner’s pastures/yards are superbly lush and maintained compared to the rugged, uncultivated Montana terrain. When I drive to work down Highway 89 everyday, in the early hours, I am so very excited to encounter Buffalo in their natural homeland roaming free, and I feel that the it’s almost a trip back in time, before White Males pushed the Bison into near extinction. Personally, I know of only one close friend whose vehicle has been totaled from hitting a Bison (at 45 MPH on a 70 MPH Highway) So the main problem here, as I understand it, is that the Montana Livestock Commission is infringing upon the natural right of the Buffalo to roam free, and were tying the hands of Mr. Schweitzer and now Mr. Bullock. It is appalling to me, that the ranchers of Park County feel their livelihood is ‘threatened’ by these beautiful animals. How much extra effort does it really take to build stronger fences, and simply continue to mend the fences when the Buffalo knock them down. I see cattle on the Highway quite a bit from downed fences, but they are always herded back to their pasture in a timely manner. I’ve heard that the Bison carry a disease called Brucellosis, but the ranchers simply need to prepare (financially) for the risk of losing their calf crop from their cows getting Brucellosis from the Bison. The ranchers need to understand, this is Yellowstone country, this is where the Bison belong, where the Bison were first. In four years, I’ve hit about five deer on Highway 89, and I pray every time I enter the road that I don’t hit a Great Bison or one of the rancher’s unnatural, non native cows. I know the Bison don’t provide as much tax revenue, jobs, economic growth, etc as the cattle industry, (pretty sure they don’t provide any, unfortunately, maybe our gifted politicians such as Racicot or Bullock can find a way to make that so) but the Bison belong here, they are the People’s Bison, and no tax paying citizen deserves the right to oust the People’s property from their own property, no matter the harsh consequences to their livelihoods, business, safety of their children and pets, personal property (cars/gardens/crops/livestock/whatnot) because these Bison belong to America, and Park County needs to step up to the plate and cater to the needs of the People’s Bison, and must obviously make some slight sacrifices to do so.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 14, 2013 8:11 AM at 8:11 AM |

      Wow! Ever heard of a PARAGPRAH, dude? It’s the latest invention in writing! But seriously, whining is very unbecoming! Look, we ALL have problems, dude. But what we DON’T all do is apotheosize ourselves into some sort of mythical figure from the old west! That’s simply called whining!

      We’re all in this together, Story. We all must give and take, and I theenk that maybe livestock producers have had it REAL good offn’ Unca Sugartit for a looong time now! What do you pay again for grazing on public lands? Oops! I forgot myself. You dudes OWN our public lands!

      And BTW, let’s get one thing clear. It was YOUR vaunted cattle that BROUGHT brucellosis to OUR wild elk and bison!

      Your interests are valid, and SO ARE the interests of ALL Americans who value our heritage! And really, who in Montana HASN’T hit a deer?! Hell, my buddy hit a freakin’ COW on his motorcycle! He was OK, and I got a motor for my bike cheap!

      So, let’s all respect each other’s opinion on this. MOST thinking Americans highly value our bison and the wild heritage they represent. Any conflicts must be resolved with facts and NOT emotion and lies, especially regarding disease transmission. We all know that ELK carry brucellosis too. And I don’t see a huge outcry from the ranchers.

      • Hey Dude, I know what a paragraph (paragprah) is. I’m in college. That’s scary, huh? I just appreciate the flow an unbroken stream of prose with many interrupting parentheses provides for the reader. Elk do carry Brucellosis, but it is far easier to get an elk tag than a mystical bison tag. Who do you know who grazes on public lands? The agreements (typically land easements) are incredibly strict, the grazing limits chances of wildfire, most easements are made between the USFG and the landowner when said land is unaccessible to the public, e.g. checkerboarded with private property. If cattle owners shouldn’t graze on public land, then hunters shouldn’t hunt on public land. It’s public land, dude. We need to preserve it for future Americans. I never said I don’t value other’s interests, and I do respect your opinion, the dialogue is really quite fascinating.

        Please excuse my emotion and blatant lies, I noticed your evidence quite extensive, it make my lacking a works cited apparent and valid to the conversation we’re having.

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 14, 2013 6:41 PM at 6:41 PM |

          OUCH! Stepped on some TOES I see. Sorry. But yeah, LET’S be specific. HOW much do ranchers in Montana pay for grazing on public lands, lands which belong to ALL Americans? AUM. Start there, dude. And WHAT is the going rate for everyone else????? Good question!

          And then, tell us just HOW much of that hated gummint money your folks are receiving in subsidies?

          And why do you hate wild bison so much, an animal that MOST Americans, TRUE Americans, view as a national treasure?

          And really, do you SERIOUSLY think that herdin’ domestic cows excites the imagination as much as our Native peoples hunting bison on horseback with bows and arrows?

          You see, B. Story, I know that you’r in college now, so you must be kinda young. That’s OK. “That’s your fault, you’ve so much yet to go through”. Cat Stevens. But MOST thinking Americans love our wildness, our wild animals, etc., and want to protect and preserve them ree GARDLESS of the economic concerns of some jonny come latelies like yourself! You see, B, the Natives were here for a mere TEN THOUSAND FREAKIN’ YEARS!, at a minimum. How long were the Storys here again? 1863 I think it was when ol’ Nelson finally showed up?

          Well sir, ten thousand vs. one hundred is a no brainer, dude. Sorry, you lose. You and yours apparently have NO sense of history nor NO sense of perspective! MOST true Americans agree with me and not with thee! If we lose the Story clan, so what? It we lose the native bison, now THAT’S a big deal! Sorry to burst your college balloon, dude. But I suggest that you get USED to it!

          Now, let the discussion begin! I await your cogent response. And I assUME that you’re
          not an English major, for you see, stream of consciousness is not exactly the easiest stuff to read! I highly recommend that you take a writing class now and then if you choose to participate on the blogs. I’d be glad to help you for a fee, for you see, English is just ONE of the languages I speak!

          Hope this helps.

          Espero que este te ayude!

  7. First of all, any idiot who continually hits deer, on the freeway, shouldn’t have a drivers license (5 times?)…. cause he isn’t paying enough attention.
    Secondly wherever you live in Montana is Buffalo and wildlife area first. not cattle industry property. Drive accordingly or get off the road!

    Thirdly and this is the most important point. Brucellosis is a human caused disease among buffalo, (it started in Europe from unclean farming techniques), not the other way around. the disease came from the cattle of people who migrated here, and infected american wildlife first. Brucellosis, and the sheep disease that almost wipe out bighorn came from Dumb people, who were given land owned by the federal Government in the Homestead acts of this country. All this disease carried by domesticated cattle plus bad butchering techniques of said cattle with dirty butchering equipment, long before there was a FDA to protect Americans and wildlife now. The only cases of brucellosis , in Montana the last fifty years come from elk infected by cattle. which the private landowners have been feeding for years on their land for big private hunting money, or the fact private landowner ranching have co-opted most of the birthing areas that originally belonged to the ELk.

    Intelligent dictates that if only elk are carrying brucellosis now, why the hell would anyone allow elk to run on their private property?

    Lastly. A Buffalo range as a wild animal is from state of Indiana in the east to the shores of Texas in the south, and all throughout Nevada and California, but we people killed almost every one of the buffalo in the western hemisphere to the point of extinction. So a small parks boundaries might be where the species was saved, but it isn’t the only place where it belongs is it?

    Ranchers shouldn’t have the last say at what roams on public land, and as conservationists of their own Private property…. They are the ones who should be building stronger fences to keep their cattle on private land safe and hiring the cowpokes to watch over them, instead of just dumping them on public land and coming back in 4 months. Thats what they do here while in other states They have to take precautions in raising cattle under constant eyesight, its about time they “Man up” here in Montana and do the same as other stricter states have accomplish for safe food production

    Seriously dude get your hearing checked because it seems you dont hear the facts, and your eyesight checked or stop driving because you shouldn’t be hitting deer

    • Wow! What a bunch of sexists you have on here Cowgirl…just automatically assuming commenters are male and rudely addressing them accordingly…

      Hail the Grand American Patriarchy!

  8. Wow look, an Internet troll, about as common as grains of sand around here.

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