Bison Tearing Up Private Property
Where Do the Buffalo Roam? —Ask Bill Hoppe
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam; Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word; And the sky is not cloudy all day. —My Western Home, Dr. Brewster Higley (1873)
BY PETER J. RYAN
When Brewster Higley penned the poem that would later become the Western anthem Home on the Range, the 19th-century physician hadn’t had the benefit of meeting Bill Hoppe.
Owner of 40 rugged acres nestled outside Gardiner in the shadow of Yellowstone Park, Hoppe, a rancher and hunting outfitter, has more than a lyrical interest in where exactly buffalo roam. And when he locks horns with government agencies and special interest groups over the controversial bison issue, there often is no shortage of discouraging words.
“Hell, I don’t mind a few bison—I like to see ’em run around as much as anybody,” said Hoppe, a fifth-generation Montanan. “But when you get a couple of hundred or more bison on your place in a tough winter, they tear the hell out of things. The stuff that these different agencies and groups put out about how easy they are to live with, well they’re not. Ask the four or five people who have been gored in the park this year… MORE