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13 bison dead after collision near West Yellowstone

13 bison dead after vehicle crash on Highway 191
13 bison dead after collision near West Yellowstone
Posted at 2:13 PM, Dec 29, 2022
and last updated 2023-01-02 15:39:21-05

BOZEMAN — Several bison died after being hit by at least one vehicle on Highway 191 several miles north of West Yellowstone on Wednesday, December 28, 2022.

West Yellowstone Police Chief Mike Gavagan confirmed on Thursday that 13 bison died near mile marker 4 on the highway.

A viewer who asked not to be identified sent a picture of the scene to MTN News.

Gavagan said one semi-truck and two other vehicles were involved. No one in the vehicles was injured.

Some of the bison had to be put down because they were so badly injured.

Gavagan said the collision happened at around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It was dark and bison are hard to see with their dark coats, and they do not have reflective eyes.

According to Gavagan, officers are constantly trying to move bison off the road, and Wednesday night they were able to "shoo" ten to 14 bison off the road that were still there.

He also said that the driver was not necessarily speeding, but there was some concern of perhaps driving too fast for conditions.

It's on a tough section of road that turns to head down the hill to the entrance to the transfer station. Part of that road gets plowed and can be an easier crossing point for the bison.

Gavagan said sometimes they can get someone to harvest the bison, but you can not get a salvage tag for bison because of brucellosis concerns. In the past, they have asked the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, and they've taken some.

A Gallatin County sheriff's deputy, an officer from the West Yellowstone Police Department, an officer from Yellowstone National Park, and the fire chief were all involved doing traffic control and helping get bison off the road after the incident.

(UPDATE) In a news release on Friday, December 30, 2022, the police department said that further investigation determined that all of the bison had been hit by the semi truck, and the other two vehicles were "secondary incidents."


13 bison dead after collision near West Yellowstone