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Weekly Update from the Field December 30, 2004
* Update from the Field
* Thank You Patagonia!
* DOL Vaccination Plan Comments Due January 5, 2005
* Latest News on the Buffalo Hunt
* Join BFC for a Candlelight Vigil and Rally for Jan 11 & 12, 2005
* Wyoming Announces Plans to Test-and Slaughter Elk
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
The time between the Winter Solstice and the coming New Year has so far been a quiet one for the buffalo, and for us here at the campaign.  Thankfully, DOL agents have been scarce this week, though the local cowpoke, Shane Grube, has been out and about flexing his "I'm important" muscles.  Nevertheless, the holidays dictate a quieter time here in the field, and the buffalo and other wildlife benefit greatly.

It's hard for anyone to describe the beauty of the face of winter here.  Yesterday, out on a ski patrol, a few of us spotted an incredible animal track that we couldn't name.  It snaked through the snow like a long band of Celtic knot work; the animal it belonged to eluded us.  We returned to the cabin with a picture in hand, and guesses of porcupine, otter, and beaver were voiced.  We still don't really know.  And there is so much beauty in that little mystery. This place is so full of wonder and magic... in the marshy fields of dark red and yellow willows that contrast with the stark white of the snow; the quiet majesty of the forest's deep greens, cloaking her hidden inhabitants; and then above and beyond, the rise of spectacular snow-covered and serious mountains.   Here in all this beauty is one of the harshest winter climates in the lower-48.  The ravens voice it, but as of this writing, we have yet to feel the true bone-cold grip of the Crone that will come.

There is a mildness that reigns now; temperatures have been incredibly, unseasonably warm this week.  Yesterday much of the snow we had melted away.  Snowfall had been altogether eluding the town of West Yellowstone, much to the chagrin of snowmobilers and the businesses who cater to them.  Peace and quiet seems to be the theme for now.  Yet, Winter is full of surprises; beginning last night, the dark sky began to fall, all wet and sticky.   Snow, snow, and more snow!  This morning we all awoke to a brilliant 6-8 inches of fluffy white goodness that covered everything, and it continues to fall. What this means for some aspects of tranquility is anyone's guess. But, no matter, the buffalo continue to do what buffalo do, and for now they are afforded the peace to carry on with their beautiful and ancient task. And we are here to stand in their defense as the holidays come to a close, the agents return, and the dark days of the hunt draw nearer.  We are flush with volunteers right now, with more scheduled to arrive in the next few days.  We will be ready for any actions the DOL and agents take against the buffalo.

As you gather with friends and family tomorrow evening to usher in the New Year, please envision a mantle of peace and protection for the buffalo and all creatures wild and free.
For the Buffalo,
* Thank You Patagonia!
Two boxes full of warmth arrived this week!  We are so grateful to you all for your incredible generosity.  The long-Johns are terrific, and just the thing we needed!  Your gifts help us to gladly endure these cold climes and to merge with the wintery landscape.  Thank you - again - for your bountiful gifts.
* DOL Vaccination Plan Comments Due January 5, 2005
In less than one week the public comment period for the Department of Livestock's nefarious plan to vaccinate wild buffalo with an ineffective brucellosis vaccine meant for cattle, will close.  Please be sure to let the DOL know why this plan is wrong, and urge them to choose the "no action" alternative.
Comments are due by January 5, 2005. For details, talking points, and contact information, please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/science/vacdolcomments.html or contact Josh at bfc-advocate with questions.
* Latest News on the Buffalo Hunt
Last week we sent out a special alert urging folks to apply for a buffalo hunt permit, but to not use it.  Thanks to all of you who have put your names in the hat!  It seems that there has been a large amount of buffalo advocates who have done just that, so the buffalo's chances are good that some of these permits will not be used to kill them.  The Bilings Gazette ran an article remarking on the large number of applicants, and then the Helena Independent Record also ran an online poll, asking folks if they agreed with the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission's decision to hunt.  Not surprisingly, there was an overwhelming majority who voted against the hunt.  To boot, the poll also solicited comments, and they got a mouthful!  Check out the two articles below for the latest news, and then please continue to write letters to the editor to these and other key papers to remind Montana of the black eye they will receive if this "hunt" manifests as planned.

"Plenty of Applicants for bison hunting licenses" - Billing Gazette:

"Majority against bison hunt" - Helena Independent Record, 12/27/04

Reach Thousands for the Buffalo - Write Letters to the Editor! Tips and contact information are at:
* Join BFC for a Candlelight Vigil and Rally for Jan 11 & 12, 2005
On January 11 and 12, the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) will gather in Bozeman, Montana for a meeting. Representatives from the state and federal agencies who actively participate in buffalo slaughter will meet to discuss their unreachable plans to eradicate brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone region.  With the recent decision to test-and-slaughter elk as well as wild buffalo, along with the darkly looming plans to vaccinate, quarantine, and "hunt" wild buffalo, discussions will be heated and are bound to carry a lethal punch for wildlife.
Join BFC and other buffalo advocates as we raise a candle, a banner and our voices!

*  Tuesday, January 11th, join BFC and others as we gather on  the lawn of the Gallatin County Courthouse (3rd & Main St.) in Bozeman for a candlelight vigil and prayer ceremony lead by Scott Frazier. Please bring your friends and join with us in peace and solidarity, to light a candle for the wild buffalo.   We will begin gathering at 6:00 pm.  We will have candles for folks who need them, but bring one if you can.  *  Wednesday, January 12th, beginning at 12:00, we will again gather on the lawn of the Gallitin County Courthouse (3rd & Main) - this time for a rally!
* Wyoming Announces  Intentions to Test-and-Slaughter Elk
Hazing, capture, test and slaughter.... it's not just for buffalo anymore.  This Associated Press story that ran on December 26, tells us all we need to know and more.  This sad story tells what fate awaits elk in Wyoming is dangerously familiar.  Kudos and applause to National Elk Refuge Manager Barry Reiswig for standing up and speaking out for elk!  Where are the government officials who will champion the buffalo?  Show yourselves, please!
* Last Words--in memory of Jesse Stovall
The sow and her cubs stared
The deer stopped in their tracks
The eagle circled above, cocked its head, peering down
The birds stopped chirping
Then the bull buffalo idled down the trail, stopped at the door
He roared and roared, letting us know a legend man had passed
A legend has passed, a legend has passed: goodbye Jess, goodbye Jess
The bull laid down on the high snow mound watching the front door
Watching over grandma Joanne, watching over Ann
We sit there on the snow mound watching the front door
Watching over grandma Joanne, watching over Ann
~Barb Abramo

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