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UPDATE: 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 10:24 AM, Jan 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-01 13:42:32-05

The West Yellowstone Police Department has provided more information about the collision involving a semi truck that resulted in the deaths of 13 bison.

The collision happened at about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, near mile marker 4 of Highway 191, several miles north of West Yellowstone.

Some of the bison had to be put down because they were so badly injured. It was dark and bison are hard to see with their dark coats, and they do not have reflective eyes.

According to West Yellowstone Police Chief Mike Gavagan, officers often work 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 after the collision.

The police department initially said that investigators believed that the semi truck and two passenger vehicles were involved in the collision.

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."

No people were harmed.

The agency noted that bison frequent the Highway 191 corridor and during the winter, they are most often found near paved roads and snowmobile trails due to these areas being easier for the bison to travel.

The department also said that speed may not have necessarily been a factor in this collision, but noted that weather and road conditions at the time "would dictate traveling below the posted speed limit.

Gavagan thanked all of the responding agencies, including the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Yellowstone National Park, Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and Montana Department of Transportation.

The MHP is continuing to investigate the collision.

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.



Several bison killed in West Yellowstone vehicle crash on Highway 191