Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Reports Few Bison Deaths this Winter

March 27, 2009, 9:16 am

After a year when hunting, management actions and a harsh winter wiped out nearly 50 percent of Yellowstone’s bison herd, officials say the park’s iconic species has fared well so far this winter.

Biologists, using a combination of aerial surveys and ground-based observations in February, estimated the herd has about 2,900 animals. That’s down from an estimated population of about 3,000 last summer. 

Hunters killed only one animal during a bison hunt in Montana this year, and the park has not taken any animals to slaughter for leaving the park boundary to date, Yellowstone National Park spokesman Al Nash said. Biologists estimate about 100 animals succumbed to winter conditions in the park.  

“Circumstances are different than they were last year,” Nash said. “I think, in part, we’ve had a different winter. While we certainly had significant snowpack in the interior, our snowfall in the northern part of the park appears to have been lighter than last year. It’s easier [for bison] to get at food.”