Update from the Field - Park Service Shoots Grandmother
It has been a week of extreme ups and downs for the
On Monday, a special meeting of the Fish, Wildlife and
Parks Commission was held in Helena, and the Commission
voted 4-1 to cancel the buffalo hunt that would have
begun this Saturday. This is a monumental victory for
the buffalo; the best news to come their way in a very
long time. Thank you for your help in making this happen.
More information is below.
On Tuesday, Department of Livestock agents began to
roll into town. They gathered, they plowed out the Duck
Creek buffalo trap, they revved up their snowmobiles.
They took a few joy rides around the landscape looking
for "stray" buffalo. They were not happy about
the previous day's decision that canceled the buffalo
hunt, and they were going to get themselves a buffalo.
The agents had their sites set on a big bull who had
chosen to be just outside the park, in a neighborhood
that lies right in a migratory corridor. This bull escaped
them before, and he escaped them again. DOL agents,
Park Service, Gallatin County Sheriff, U.S. Forest Service--nearly
all the major players in the buffalo slaughter--were
dressed to capture and kill. But he got away. They attempted
to capture him, but he was too smart. As they hounded
him with their snowmobiles, trying to force him this
way and that, he chose his own way and dashed into the
(relative) safety of the Park's borders.
Then yesterday we received a phone call from a supporter
in Gardiner. I remember Mike answering the phone, saying
to the caller "What is it? You don't sound too
happy." That's when we learned that a female buffalo
was shot and killed by the National Park Service, inside
Yellowstone National Park. She was old. She was alone.
She was perhaps preparing herself to die with dignity.
She left the confines of the Park, venturing to ancestral
grounds. Today this land "belongs" to the
Church Universal and Triumphant; the Royal Teton Ranch.
This is the very land that citizens of this country
paid $13 million for so that buffalo could have access
to it. That was in 1998. Buffalo that even attempt to
approach this land are gunned down or rounded up and
sent to slaughter. The Park Service said that this beautiful
grandmother buffalo was a risk because she was female.
Sounds like a witch-hunt. The Park Service was protecting
the livestock interests, not the wildlife they are mandated
to protect. It was a Park Service agent who pulled the
trigger and ended her life.
Read the press
release we sent out yesterday:
Right now it is snowing. They say an arctic blast is
coming, perhaps with a great amount of snow. Temperatures
could drop down to as low as minus 70 with the windchill.
Buffalo, they say, will turn and face into such a storm.
There is a lesson here. We will be ready for whatever
storm comes our way.
For the Buffalo,
*Buffalo Victory! Hunt Canceled for this Year!
Thanks to each and every one of you who applied for
a permit, wrote letters to the editor, contacted Governor
Schweitzer, and encouraged your friends and family to
do these things, the pressure was applied and the buffalo
hunt has been canceled for this year!
On Monday, Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP)
Commission voted 4-1 to cancel the buffalo hunt. BFC
members Mike Mease and Josh Osher ventured to Helena
and gave powerful testimony to the Commission, blasting
bad science and reminding people that hunting heritage
in this country goes back much further than four generations
of settlers. With buffalo not being considered wildlife,
not having access to habitat in Montana, being used
to thousands of park visitors, and with no Indian treaty
rights being upheld, this hunt was absolutely the wrong
thing to do.
Montana's new governor, Brian Schweitzer, recognized
the black-eye the hunt would give the state, and he
made the right moves that lead to its cancellation.
BFC applauds Governor Schweitzer for his leadership
and we urge you to take this moment to thank Governor
Schweitzer for doing the right thing for the buffalo
and for Montana. Please let him know how pleased you
are about the cancelation, and urge him to keep his
word in securing more habitat for the buffalo. Governor
Scheweitzer can be reached at:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
406-444-3111, FAX 406-444-5529
We should celebrate this victory without letting our
guard down. The buffalo are not in the clear by a long
shot. Plans to hunt buffalo next year, starting in November,
are underway. The current mismanagement plan that allows
for the hazing, capture, test-and-slaughter of our last
wild buffalo continues. Buffalo are also threatened
with a new quarantine program and a new vaccination
program by the agencies who would foolishly attempt
to eradicate brucellosis.
Was your name drawn? On Tuesday FWP went ahead with
the lottery drawing and drew the names of the ten people
who will have a shot at a buffalo next fall. All the
names drawn are from Montana. There were 8,372 applications
submitted, with 307 from out of state. Everyone who
applied for a permit and didn't have their name drawn
will have their money refunded by FWP.
Guacamole Socked it to Us!
Your gift arrived - a box full of warm and cozy socks!
Thanks to you, there will be a lot of very happy feet
out on those frigid patrols. We appreciate your giving
to us, especially in a time of your own need. Thank
you so much, Guacamole.
for your Help in Stopping the Hunt!
The Patagonia outdoor clothing company has been a long-time
supporter of the Buffalo Field Campaign and was instrumental
in helping to stop the hunt. Thank you Patagonia for
your unfailing support!
On the Road Again!
Thanks to Chris and Tom for working so hard under such
difficult conditions to replace the engine in our primary
patrol car and for getting the rest of our small fleet
up and running. These guys are true magicians and we
couldn't be out in the field without them. Check out
these photos to see what we mean: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/lifeatcamp.html
And to Everyone...
Who continues to keep us in the field with all of the
gifts you bring to BFC. Every day we receive the best
gifts from all over the country and the world. Without
you we would not exist. Thank you for your generous
donations, the gift of your inspiration, your belief
in the cause, and your love of the buffalo.
* Support the Buffalo -- Donate to BFC Today!
The cancellation of this year's buffalo hunt is a prime
example of the power of the Buffalo Field Campaign community.
We provided reporters and supporters with information
on the hunt and why it should be stopped. Reporters
responded by making plans to travel to Yellowstone to
cover the hunt, which would have given Montana an international
black eye. Supporters responded by applying for permits
they never planned on using and encouraging friends
to do the same, and by writing and calling Governor
Schweitzer to express outrage that such a hunt was planned.
This outpouring for the buffalo was real and strong
and let the governor know that his only real choice
was to stop the hunt.
We are the definition of grassroots, an organization
of committed individuals working from the ground up
to affect change in the world. We are here with the
buffalo to bear witness so we can share the truth with
and inspire people around the world to take action.
We have no high paid staff or fancy offices and we don't
waste a dime. Every donation we receive goes directly
to our front-lines work of protecting the Yellowstone
The majority of the Buffalo Field Campaign's funding
comes through individual donations sent in by buffalo
supporters like you. These donations enable all levels
of our work: feeding, housing, and equipping our amazing
volunteers; documenting and distributing images of buffalo
in the wild and under the duress of hazing, capture,
and slaughter; opposing on all levels the nefarious
agency plans to subjugate the buffalo and organizing
a strong network of buffalo advocates across the country
and around the world.
With the roughest part of our season looming, we need
your support to keep our volunteers in the field. Please
contribute to our efforts today. No donation is too
small and all are tax-deductible. Thank you!
* Last Words
"Some people feel discouraged by the avalanche
of species extinctions occurring in the world today,
but it is possible to feel challenged, instead by the
need to do something to stop the destruction. Actions
taken - or bypassed - during the next few decades will
determine how many of the world's species will survive.
~Richard B. Primack, Essentials of Conservation Biology