Previously FWP has evaluated the possibility of relocating disease-free bison to other areas in Montana as part of the ongoing quarantine feasibility study. The bison in the quarantine feasibility study are part of a research project directed by FWP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at a 400-acre bison quarantine facility north of Yellowstone National Park. As of the spring of 2012, these bison have been relocated to ongoing quarantine pastures on Turner Enterprise’s Green River Ranch and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
During its meeting on January 13, 2011 the FWP Commission endorsed FWP's proposal to prepare an environmental assessment on the quarantine bison, as well as, to examine the potential to restore a population of wild bison somewhere within the state.
FWP has not currently established a timeline for possible bison restoration, but is rather seeking to explore options that could be considered in the future through a formal Montana Environmental Policy Act process.
In the past, animals originating from Yellowstone National Park have been used to help restore elk, antelope, and other wildlife herds in Montana and the West. If the decision were made to restore a population of bison FWP would examine the potential to use bison originating from Yellowstone National Park, as well as, bison from other source herds.
Wild and hunted bison exist in Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Canada and other places. Today in Montana hunts are limited to bison that migrate north from Yellowstone National Park into winter habitats near West Yellowstone and Gardiner.