If you are a native of The Cowboy State, you grew up knowing more than most kids about bison. If you’re a Native American, you know even more. Maybe you've heard of Yellowstone’s “Berlin Wall.“

Every winter heartfelt debate resumes in Wyoming and Montana, not only about how many bison go to slaughter, but also about fencing - to keep them from migrating.

After multiple signatures were penned on the Interagency Bison Management Plan in 2000 - a fence in Yellowstone was finally built in 2011 to stop wild buffalo from going north. Our state mammals are trying to go to what calls the buffalo’s "ancestral homeland."  There is, however, a fence, at Yankee Jim Canyon, just north of the Wyoming border in Yellowstone, and it is referred to as, “The Berlin Wall."

As bison have done every year, last week another 55 breached that wall. It’s as if bison knew many of them were about to be culled. Livestock inspectors hazed them back from where they came, and by Wednesday morning, the first 15 were loaded for the short trip to "Stephens Creek." (A video tour of that facility is here.)

In 2011, Montana state Senator John Brenden testified in a hearing that the state would have to build a “Berlin Wall” to keep the bison enclosed. A phrase was just coined.

That sticks to this day. It may not be the official name of any real fence, but when you hear the term in Northern Wyoming, or Southern Montana, you can be sure a “Berlin Wall” is about a fence, and real or imagined, it's for bison. That is true no matter how divided we are on the subject. That is on either side of the fence, whether the tone is positive or pejorative, both know what is meant by the "Berlin Wall".

More From 101.9 KING-FM