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
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
* Wyoming Announces Intentions to Test-and-Slaughter
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
A legend has passed, a legend has passed: goodbye Jess,
The bull laid down on the high snow mound watching the
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