Case Summary Citation

2013 MT 166, 370 Mont. 410, 303 P.3d 794.


The Montana Supreme Court held that the district court erred as a matter of law and abused its discretion when it granted a preliminary injunction preventing Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (DFWP) from subsequently transferring some Yellowstone quarantined bison from Ft. Peck tribal lands to Ft. Belknap tribal lands. DFWP did not violate the DFWP-specific statute barring it from transferring bison to “public and private lands” without landowner consent, a management plan, and public hearings because tribal lands are neither public nor private lands. Tribal lands are in a special class, and the United States and Tribes retain jurisdiction. Furthermore, DFWP did not violate the law because the Legislature had expressly granted the state authority to transfer bison to Tribes elsewhere in the Montana Code. The Court reversed the district court and vacated the preliminary injunction.

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