Update from the Field - Bison Hunt Begins
November 15, the opening day of Montana's ill-fated
bison hunt, spelled the death of two magnificent buffalo
bulls; one up in Gardiner (please see below) and one
here in West Yellowstone. You can view BFC's powerfully
eye-opening and heartbreaking footage from Gardiner
Many thanks to our brothers Dru and Tyler for bearing
The bull shot in Gardiner suffered at the hands of a
17 year old hunter, who skipped school to take the life
of one of America's last wild buffalo. In West Yellowstone,
the local DOL agent, Shane Grube, was seen escorting
a hunter around the area, and led him to the buffalo
who had made his way onto the land of Dale Koelzer.
Dale Koelzer hosts the Duck Creek bison trap and allows
the DOL and other agencies to use his home as their
base of buffalo harassment operations. The buffalo was
shot dead at the mouth of the bison trap.
Montana has claimed that this hunt will be "different"
than the buffalo hunt from 15 years ago, because they
said they wouldn't be leading hunters to the animals.
Evidently, Shane ignored this code of ethics, but that's
no great surprise.
We are running two camps for the duration of the hunt;
one here in West Yellowstone and one up in Gardiner.
Everyone is working overtime and then some. Here in
West, some buffalo are dangerously close to the line
in the sand that could mark their doom, and there are
others in buffalo-friendly neighborhoods who are safe
just for now. Up in Gardiner, our six patrols are keeping
an eye on nearly 25 buffalo that have entered Montana's
killing fields. The media is watching, and hunters are
swarming the area. So far things have remained relatively
quiet since Tuesday, but we expect the coming days to
bring on more madness.
For now, the skies are blessedly silent, but forty eight
more hunters have yet to "bag" their bison.
Please read on below to learn more about what has happened
here this week. If you can make it to Montana, volunteers
are needed. If you cannot make it but still want to
offer your support, sending a monetary contribution
will help keep us in the field, enabling us to continue
bearing witness so the world can know what's happening
to the last wild buffalo left in America. Please also
continue to contact Governor Brian Schweitzer, send
letters to the editor of local and national media, and
pray hard for the buffalo.
With the Buffalo,
* Experience in Gardiner - What the Buffalo
I'm running down a steep incline, just north of Gardiner,
Montana. I'm running because three blaze orange clad
hunters are heading towards a group of five bull buffalo
on the opening day of the first buffalo hunt to be held
in Montana in 15 years. My intent is not to throw myself
in front of a bullet, or scream at the hunters. I was
simply there to document.
One bullet, two bullets fly through the cold morning
air, but the buffalo is still alive after three bullets
enter his body. All animals twitch after death, but
this buffalo made one last attempt to stand up. Finally
24 minutes after the first bullet was fired, a fatal
fourth shot was released.
His four buffalo brothers do not run from apparent danger,
but instead surround him, and don't leave until being
hit several times with jagged rocks thrown by the hunters.
The rest of the press arrives and the hunters move in
to begin field dressing the buffalo. But his family
hasn't given him up yet. All of a sudden, the four buffalo
come running back, chasing away the numerous reporters
who have arrived. Eventually, the four buffalo are again
chased off, seeking refuge with their kindred.
That was Tuesday.
On Wednesday I sat with a group of eight buffalo, of
which those four were a part. In the afternoon a large
bull buffalo began leading the others to yesterday's
kill sight, where a gut pile still remains. The eight
buffalo stood around the pile, four in particular closest.
I believe they were paying respects to their fallen
Then a group of ten other buffalo joined them, grunting,
sparing, and running around, perhaps
celebrating the life of their friend. A friend of mine
whispered to me, It's like a wake, isn't it?
Looking back on the past two days, I'm realizing the
lessons that the buffalo are trying to teach us. If
only we humans treated each other with as much respect
and love as these buffalo treat each other with. If
only we too could learn to live in harmony with our
environment as they do.
The two buffalo that were killed on Tuesday will feed
two families. I can't be sad about that. But I can hope
that all the media attention surrounding this buffalo
hunt will bring to light the needless annual slaughter
of Yellowstone's wild and genetically pure buffalo.
Let's not forget what will happen after the fifty buffalo
tags are filled this winter. Let's not forget that buffalo
are harassed and killed the moment they follow their
instincts into Montana. And let's not forget the lessons
of the buffalo.
Join Us on the Front Lines - Volunteers Needed
If you are serious about wanting to help protect the
last wild herd of buffalo in America, please consider
joining us on the front lines in their defense. Field
patrols are needed to help document actions taken against
the buffalo here in West Yellowstone, and up on the
Park's northern boundary in Gardiner, Montana.
Volunteers are provided with room and board, video equipment,
and winter gear. All you need to do is get here. Please
bring with you a serious commitment to help defend the
last wild buffalo.
Please contact BFC's Volunteer Coordinator, Ryan, at
or 406-646-0070 for more information. We look forward
to your arrival!
* Contact Governor Schweitzer Today!
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer continues to defend
the state's nefarious bison hunt, yet the irony is,
without habitat in the state, wild buffalo are ecologically
extinct in Montana. Governor Schweitzer has appeared
to be a friendly face, one who is willing to listen
- but he is a dangerous player of politics. So far,
he has done nothing to back up his campaign statements
that "wild buffalo will enjoy more tolerance in
Montana" or that "the DOL is ill-equipped
to manage them." The only "tolerance"
Montana has shown wild buffalo in the state is a bullet
to the head, and the DOL continues to be the lead agency,
overseeing the hunt.
TAKE ACTION! Please contact Governor Schweitzer - even
if you have already - and tell him to stop this bison
hunt! Let him know that the world is watching as Montana
once again takes up arms against an animal that isn't
even allowed to exist in the state without being gunned
down, hazed, captured, quarantined, and slaughtered.
Montana residents should identify themselves as such,
while those outside of Montana should let Schweitzer
know you will not spend one more dime in this state
until wild buffalo are respected and valued as a native
wildlife species and are allowed to roam freely and
unmolested on all public lands within Montana's borders.
Remind him that there has never been a documented case
of wild buffalo transmitting the European livestock
disease back to the cattle they got it from. Also remind
him that the majority of the buffalo that are being
killed in this hunt will be bulls, and bulls cannot
- by the very nature of brucellosis - transmit it. Thank
you for keeping the pressure on!
Contact Gov. Brian Schweitzer today!
Mail: State Capitol, P.O. Box 200801, Helena, MT 59620-0801
* Hunt Information: BFC's Press Releases and
First Bison Killed Takes 4 Shots, 45 Minutes to Die:
DOL Agent Escorts Bison Hunter to His Kill:
Incredible Essay - Bison Hunt 101, by BFC Board Member,
Why BFC Opposes the Bison Hunt:
BFC Photos from the Hunt's Opening Day:
* Last Words
"The animal dropped like a stone, but it was kicking
a little bit. It was as clean a kill as I've seen in
my life and I've hunted for 42 years."
~ George Clement, father of the 17 year old who killed
a bison in Gardiner on Tuesday.
View BFC's footage of that kill to see how "clean"