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Bison at the National Bison Range during the 2016 Bison roundup. Credit: Dave Fitzpatrick/USFWS

Smoke, fire risk postpones annual bison roundup

MOIESE, Mont. Citing safety concerns, the National Bison Range announced this week that its annual bison roundup is postponed indefinitely. The event was previously scheduled for Oct. 2 and 3, 2017.  

Significant amounts of smoke, combined with Stage II fire restrictions, have created conditions that make it impossible for NBR staff to safely prepare for and conduct activities that are necessary for this annual event. 

“Protecting the health and safety of our staff, visitors, the bison, and our refuge horses is our top priority,” said Refuge Manager Jeff King. “These unhealthy air conditions combined with dry vegetation not only pose serious respiratory issues for both humans and animals, but roundup activities also risk sparking another fire.” 

The NBR relies on ATVs and horses in its annual roundup activities. ATV operation and potential sparks from a horseshoe striking a rock can be a source of ignition when conditions are as dry as those currently experienced at the NBR.

It is unknown at this time when the event will be rescheduled, but current conditions must substantially improve before such a determination can be made.  

Updates on the status of the roundup will be provided at the following pages:

Additionally, members of the public can call the NBR headquarters at 406-644-2211.