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HELENA - Some bison advocates and owners of property near Yellowstone National Park want the animals to be managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, rather than by livestock interests.

They're asking a legislative committee to support a bill dubbed the Wild Bison Recovery and Conservation Act.

The sponsor says management of bison has been bungled by the state Department of Livestock, which answers to a board run by ranchers. Rep. Mike Phillips of Bozeman says that after two decades, policies of the livestock agency have failed to prevent transmission of a wildlife disease to domestic animals. He says the policies bring the slaughter of bison, even if the animals are not really a threat.

Phillips says Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages wildlife that include deer and elk, and should be responsible for bison, as well.

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