Turner Enterprises (TEI) maintains the only privately-owned herd of Yellowstone National Park derived bison.
The seed stock of TEI’s Yellowstone herd were acquired through a unique public-private partnership begun in 2010, when 88 publicly owned Yellowstone bison that would otherwise have been slaughtered were moved to the Flying D Ranch and allowed to grow and reproduce for five years. The five-year period was to allow Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks time to complete a feasibility study for wild bison to disperse outside Yellowstone National Park. In exchange for providing a home and care for the public’s animals for five years, Turner Enterprises retained a portion of the offspring of the original animals. These offspring are the basis of TEI’s Yellowstone herd.
The Yellowstone herd is managed for its unique conservation values and to maintain the genetic diversity of this original remnant of wild bison. The herd was moved from Montana to Deer Creek Ranch in January 2019 to allow more space for the herd to grow. The short-term goal is to allow the herd to grow to Deer Creek Ranch’s carrying capacity, while maintaining the genetic diversity (allelic diversity and heterozygosity) of the herd. All females are kept in the herd at this time to allow maximum herd growth. The bull to cow ratio is kept high and bulls are moved from the herd at 3.5 years of age, allowing the opportunity for many sires to breed. Herd genetics are monitored to determine parentage and evaluate genetic diversity.