Update from the Field
Spring in Yellowstone is a time of great beauty mixed
with bitterness. I have been fortunate to take in some
of the spring beauty--watching bison calves run circles
around their mothers, eagles and osprey soaring and
diving for fish, sand hill cranes and blue herons gliding
overhead, an early May dip in the Madison River to wake
But then there is the bitter frustration of relentless
hazing of the last wild buffalo in America. The Montana
Department of Livestock (DOL) has hazed buffalo nearly
every single day this spring. Over the past two weeks,
the DOL has hazed buffalo every day except for two.
Buffalo continue to follow their migratory instincts,
while the DOL diligently wastes our tax dollars harassing
wild buffalo on public lands with no cattle present.
Why is it so important to keep wild buffalo behind an
arbitrary park boundary, to keep our public lands free
of bison, to harass native wildlife and disrupt the
ecosystem on a nearly daily basis? There are no cattle
in the areas where the buffalo migrate. The public lands
cattle allotments have been cancelled for years. The
few private herds that come to private lands nearby
will not arrive for at least another month, by which
time the buffalo have usually migrated back into the
Park on their own. The DOL continues to harass the same
buffalo for weeks on end, stressing pregnant buffalo
during their critical calving season, chasing newborn
calves, and harassing all other wildlife in the vicinity.
And then they tally up this senseless harassment as
successful hazing operations. "From the west boundary
this season as of April 30, 1,246 bison have been successfully
moved back into Yellowstone National Park during 40
operations," reports the DOL. Is it really successful
to waste our tax dollars harassing native wildlife during
their spring calving migrations? How can the DOL claim
success when the same buffalo return within days to
the same public lands? Why don't they save the taxpayers
some money and the wildlife some stress and stop the
incessant hazing? There has never been a documented
case of brucellosis transmission from wild bison to
cattle. There aren't even any cattle nearby to come
in contact with wild bison.
Obviously not content to harass just buffalo, the DOL
has returned to harassing BFC volunteers. A group of
women volunteers went out to Horse Butte yesterday to
have a ceremony to honor the buffalo. They had a small
fire of sticks and pinecones, burned sage, prayed, sang,
and grounded themselves in their circle of women. During
the ceremony, Shane Grube, a local DOL agent, drove
by sneering at them. Before leaving, the women dumped
a gallon of water on the small fire and stomped it out.
Other volunteers remained nearby. They hadn't walked
far before Shane and an unidentified passenger detained
the women, photographed them, and demanded they identify
themselves and supply excessive personal information
in response to "leaving an unattended fire".
Once again, the authorities go out of their way to harass
our volunteers for any potential transgression. Would
they harass summer tourists visiting the area for leaving
an unattended puddle of burnt sticks?
Today the DOL is busy wasting even more tax dollars
using a helicopter to haze the handful of buffalo and
calves that remain outside the Park after the continuous
hazing efforts of the past weeks. Determined to make
sure that no buffalo remain outside the Park, the DOL
has militarized the border, seeking out fugitive wildlife,
and forcing them to abandon their traditional migrations.
All this persistence on behalf of the holy cow would
almost be admirable if there were any reason for it.
Instead it is just another sad chapter in the history
of dominating all that is wild, bureaucratic momentum
flying in the face of reason, domesticating and destroying
the last wild bison in America.
In this update you will find more information about
how to help stop the slaughter of the last wild bison
in America. May is a difficult time for the buffalo
and we need your support now more than ever. If you
can come out and join us in the field with the buffalo,
please come now. It is a beautiful time of year, and
our volunteer numbers are dwindling. If you can make
a donation to BFC, we could use the support. Think of
the calving mother buffalo trying to reach Horse Butte
in peace, and make a Mother's Day donation for the buffalo.
You can also support the buffalo by contacting your
Congressional Representatives. Thank you again for your
support. Together we can learn the lessons of the buffalo
who continue to roam free despite efforts to control
them, the lessons of resistance that will give us the
strength to win.
For the buffalo,
* Update from DC
Greetings from the nation's capitol!
Our time here in DC has shown that the power of the
buffalo is indeed far reaching...we are truly blessed!
We have had some incredible educational meetings with
members of Congress who still believe in the power of
democracy and that the people still have a voice in
expressing what matters to them. The National Week of
Action for the Buffalo has shown that this issue crosses
state boundaries and is about the first national park
and the plight of the last wild buffalo! The buffalo
are not only an American symbol but also a national
Many of us have dedicated many hours talking to our
friends and colleagues about the buffalo's plight with
the hope that the more people that learn of this ridiculous
situation, the sooner we will win true protection for
the buffalo for future generations. The press meetings
that we have had have shown that that message will indeed
resonate with the public and that our message will be
Our grassroots networking keeps growing stronger. Our
week started with a legend and mentor to all in the
environmental movement -- Brock Evans, back with healthy
vigor. We began the week with a meal at his house with
he and his lovely wife Linda. The next day we took the
Buffalo's message to the Senate and were joined with
our buffalo ally's legislative squad Jeff, Elise and
Sue with our star clean up batter, Mr. Evans. The halls
of Congress echoed as our herd marched door to door.
BFC's seven years of hard work opened many eyes and
hearts to the plight of our last sacred buffalo. Next
our friends at the Humane Society of the United States
helped us spread the word. Jan the man, Jana, Nancy,
Bette, Cynthia, Chad, Kathy & all of you defenders
of an ethical future - THANKS - and congrats to the
new President of HSUS, Wayne. When we are so far from
home our buffalo community makes us feel right at home.
Java Green Energy was so wonderful - thanks DJ &
Chuuk (sorry about the poor spelling...). A hearty buffalo
thanks go to our fine allies at NRDC - Chuck, Elliott
& Craig-- your hard work is appreciated. Howard,
Jon, Tanya & Eric - the buffalo are glad you'll
be batting next - thanks for being there for this beautiful
planet. Victoria & Friends - how can we say thanks
There is one thing you can do right now for the buffalo.
Please take a minute to call your senator for the momma
buffalo in honor of mother's day. You can find more
Thanks to all of you who believe that together - we
can truly make a difference.
For those wild buffalo,
Mike & Su
* Week of Action for the Buffalo;
Rally for the Buffalo Saturday in Helena
This is our Week of Action for the Buffalo, a time for
us to concentrate our efforts in Montana and across
the nation. We will turn our voices up to be heard,
stand tall and be seen. How effective we are will depend
on you - mass action requires a mass. If you don't take
action, who will?
1. BFC has a big event planned for Saturday, May 8th
at 2:00 PM in Helena, MT. We really need you there!
We will gather on the Eastern Lawn of the State Capitol,
with the headquarters of the DOL and FWP right across
the street. Together we will stand in silent mourning
for the 277 buffalo killed this year, and protest the
continued harassment and slaughter. The lawn will be
adorned with headstones for each buffalo killed this
year. Things are coming along for the event, but we
could use some help with outreach -- can we count on
you? There is a flyer on our website that you can print
and download, then post all over town, neighborhoods,
schools, the office, libraries, community centers, etc.
Visit http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo and scroll
down a bit to download the flyer ... and then help us
Save the Herd! Spread the Word! We hope to see you this
2. This is an urgent call for volunteers to come stand
with the buffalo in the month of May. BFC's campaign
headquarters, located in beautiful West Yellowstone,
is awaiting your arrival. We will feed you, shelter
you, set you up with gear, and take you out on patrols
so you can spend time with the buffalo! This will be
an experience you'll never forget. Our goal is to give
you the first-hand experience -- with the buffalo and
the agents who harass them -- guaranteed to inspire
and empower you to advocate on behalf of the last wild
herd. Even if you've been here before, we need your
presence now more than ever.
3. Can't Come to Montana? You Can Still Take Action!
There are a bunch of things you can do in your own neighborhood.
A few suggestions: 1) Hold a letter-writing party and
have your friends write letters to the editor, and letters
to decision-makers; 2) Organize a video showing in your
neighborhood, school or office; 3) Find 3 stores in
your town that will host a "Bucks for Buffalo"
donation jar; 4) Visit the district office of your U.S.
House Representative and urge them to cosponsor H.R.
3446, the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act; 5) Organize
a Buffalo Action Committee in your community -- when
calls for action arise, these are the folks you know
you can count on to take action!; 6) Contact your local
ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN news outlets and urge them to
run BFC's buffalo footage; 7) Download our buffalo petition
at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/Buffalo ESA Petition
4-1-04.pdf and see how many signatures you can get in
a week. The one who gets the most signatures gets a
really cool prize. :)
Visit http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo for other ideas
on how you can help stop the buffalo slaughter! If you've
got suggestions, we are always listening! Send yours
Stop the slaughter of the last wild buffalo in America.
Call your Congressional Representative today!
* Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation
The National Park Service and Montana Department of
Livestock have already killed 277 wild Yellowstone buffalo
this season. The Park Service has killed nearly 500
wild buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park in the
past two years. In the past ten years the Montana Department
of Livestock and National Park Service have slaughtered
2,778 buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone buffalo slaughter is slated to cost taxpayers
nearly $3 million a year until 2015.
Please take action today to stop the senseless slaughter
of an American icon. Support the Yellowstone Buffalo
Preservation Act. The bill calls for a three year moratorium
on the hazing, capturing and killing of Yellowstone
buffalo; expands the range that buffalo are allowed
to roam; requires the dismantling of the Stephens Creek
Trap inside Yellowstone National Park; and gives the
Park Service sole jurisdiction over buffalo within the
Thanks to your efforts, we continue to gain cosponsors
for HR 3446. We currently have 96 House Representatives
signed on to this critical legislation.
Please call your representative and urge them to support
the bill. Check http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/3446.html
for talking points and to see if your Representative
has signed on. If they haven't, give them a call and
strongly urge them to do so. If they have, please thank
them and encourage them to speak with their colleagues.
You can contact your Representative by calling the Capitol
Switchboard at 800-839-5276, and asking to be transferred
to his/her office. Or you can use http://www.house.gov/writerep
to look up your Representative and send them an email.
It only takes a few minutes to help the buffalo.
With BFC coordinators meeting with Congressional staff
in Washington, DC right now, we are also trying to find
support for a Senate version of the bill. Take a minute
to contact your Senators and encourage them to support
a Senate version of Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation
Act. You can contact your Senator by calling the Capitol
Switchboard at 800-839-5276, and asking to be transferred
to his/her office. Or you can visit http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
to look up your Senator and send them an email. It only
takes a few minutes to help the buffalo.
Thank you once again for your support. Together we will
stop the senseless slaughter of the last wild buffalo
* The Buffalo Field Campaign Needs Your Support
Longtime BFC supporter Melanie Kelley is auctioning
a beautiful and original buffalo gourd to benefit the
work of the Buffalo Field Campaign. The ebay auction
begins Saturday, May 8, at 8pm PDT as item # 3721965770.
This is a unique opportunity to support BFC's field
What are wild buffalo worth to you? What does it mean
to you to know that your grandchildren will be able
to experience wild places with wild buffalo roaming
Of course these things are priceless. We cannot put
a price on maintaining viable rangeland for the last
wild buffalo in America. But we can put a price on BFC's
efforts to stop the slaughter of the Yellowstone buffalo.
It takes about a dollar a day to feed a volunteer. That
means that if we have 30 volunteers, it costs just over
$30 a day to feed camp, or about $250 a week. It costs
about $3.50 for a mini-DV tape for our video cameras.
On a hazing day we usually have at least 5 patrols in
the field documenting the harassment of the last wild
buffalo, using about $17.50 worth of tape. Every VHS
tape that we send to a supporter to show what is happening
to Yellowstone's last wild bison costs us about $1 for
It costs money to maintain our field presence on behalf
of the buffalo. We are extremely frugal here in West
Yellowstone. We don't have fancy offices or high paid
staff. But we do have dedicated volunteers working long
days to stop the slaughter of the last wild buffalo
in America. Can we count on you to help by making a
donation? Donations are tax deductible and go directly
to front lines work.
You can make a secure donation online at our website
(www.wildrockies.org/buffalo) or directly at: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807
Or you can send a check to us at:
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
On a budget -- $1-$15 to keep the videos flowing.
Count on me -- $15-$100 for a day/week of footage.
Big thanks -- $30-$250 to feed BFC volunteers for a
Thank you once again for your support. Every little
* Call for Summer Outreach Volunteers
As our spring season passes the midway point, we are
starting to look ahead to another summer here in West
Yellowstone. As many of you know, the massive springtime
migrations end around late May or early June, and our
daily patrols are no longer necessary. This is the time
of the year when we focus on outreach, talking with
tourists in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
about the slaughter of the bison. We are currently looking
for six to eight volunteers interested is spending a
summer at the Campaign. You can expect to spend three
to five days a week tabling, helping with projects around
the cabin on slower weeks, and hiking, fishing, or whatever
else suits your fancy. In return, all volunteers receive
free room and board, as well as a little pocket money.
A commitment from June 1 until Labor Day is preferred
(with the option to come earlier and stay later), but
if you can only stay for part of the summer, please
apply anyway. All interested people should send a resume
and cover letter, or contact Chris (our summer office/volunteer
Hope to see you this summer!
With the buffalo,
* Last Words
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758