The Buffalo Field Campaign wishes to extend to each
of you who have recently made a contribution our sincerest
thanks and appreciation. It is because of individuals
like you that BFC is able to bear witness, being the
eyes and ears of the world in the plight of the last
wild buffalo. With your generous support we are able
to maintain our presence in the field, be a strong voice
in the policy arena, and draw local, national and international
media attention to the injustice caused to this noble
You make the difference. Your generous support ensures
that the actions taken against these sacred, gentle
beings will not go unnoticed or unchallenged. Your contribution
keeps us in the field and keeps the buffalo's story
alive. Your help will bring lasting protection to this
icon of tenacious strength and powerful spirit.
THANK YOU for keeping us in the field!
With heartfelt gratitude,
Everyone at Buffalo Field Campaign
* Update from the Field
As we move into the third week of Montana's canned bison
hunt, the lives of three more members of the last wild
buffalo have been taken. On Friday, two more bulls were
gunned down in Gardiner (see below). On Monday a bull
was shot in West Yellowstone on the Horse Butte Peninsula.
As if they were sanctioned as some kind of border patrol,
gunners swarm the boundary between Yellowstone National
Park and Montana, anxious to make their easy kill. In
addition to Montana, the hands of the National Park
Service are also red with buffalo blood.
When wild bison cross the Yellowstone National Park
boundary and enter Montana, they unknowingly forfeit
certain protections. This wrongly assumes that the buffalo
are relatively safe within Yellowstone's borders. However,
not even the world's first national park, icon World
Heritage Site and biosphere reserve, provides sanctuary
for the last wild buffalo.
On Monday, during the height of Montana's "celebrated"
bison hunt, National Park Service rangers assisted Montana's
livestock industry by harassing a herd of 104 wild bison
as they were migrating to seek winter forage. Later
that afternoon, when the herd had been forced back within
Yellowstone's boundaries, one bull decided he was tired
of being pushed around. He gave the cowboy-rangers a
bit of a challenge. So they shot him. He was inside
the Park's borders.
This onslaught is coming from all directions. It's coming
from the state of Montana and it's coming from the federal
government, including the agency that's mandated to
protect the wild buffalo: the National Park Service.
There is no place where a wild buffalo is truly safe
from human induced danger in any location, at any time
The weak justification for actions against the last
wild buffalo come down to one thing: money. It comes
down to the cattle industry's powerful stronghold on
the nation's wild lands and wildlife and the government
agencies that choose to serve them. It comes down to
livestock taking precedence over native wildlife. It
comes down to the grass and who gets to eat it. Brucellosis
- a European livestock disease that cattle infected
many native wildlife species with - is just an excuse
used to justify/support/endorse government actions against
the wild, no matter the cost. Is brucellosis such a
concern because of the harm it will cause people? No,
that danger ended with the pasteurization of dairy products.
Plain and simple, brucellosis can lower calf-production
and that translates into lower profits. Brucellosis
can cause a female cow to miscarry one calf, one time;
then the normal birthing cycles resumes. But that one
calf is money in the pocket of the cattle industry and
they don't want to risk losing one dime. So the wild
buffalo pays, as does the wolf, the mustang, the badger,
and the coyote. The last wild buffalo are innocent,
yet they are the only species targeted in such a way
and so they die so the cattle industry can make a bigger
buck. The government agencies sell it to the public
by using words such as "disease" and "overpopulation."
These terms certainly fit cattle, but they are lies
when used to describe wild buffalo.
Please raise your voice in opposition to this injustice!
Take action to defend the last wild buffalo. Take up
your pen or pick up your phone and hound these government
agencies until they have no choice but to free the wild.
Put on your boots and stand in defense if the last wild
* This Sham of a Hunt
Driving 300 miles on a Thanksgiving Day road trip is
not unusual, unless at the end of it, you sit down to
dinner with eight other people, most of whom you've
never met. But Buffalo Field Campaign folks have a way
of becoming instant family, bound together by a strong
commitment to Yellowstone's wild bison.
My husband and I were in Gardiner to help monitor the
hunt. In Friday's pre-dawn darkness we parted - he to
spend a cold but uneventful day with a group of nine
bulls, and I to join three other volunteers patrolling
drainages northeast of Gardiner. Twice that day I documented
deaths of the shaggy creature who draws us back to Yellowstone
again and again. A narrative of one of those deaths
While BFC is not an anti-hunting group, make no mistake:
There is no "honor" or "tradition"
in this sham of a hunt. Yellowstone's wild bison are
not welcomed in Montana, where the state's policy of
zero-tolerance awaits them with hazing, capture, quarantine,
and slaughter administered by the entitlement-bloated
Montana Department of Livestock, and occasionally, by
the National Park Service itself. The addition of a
bogus hunt to this line-up of on-going persecution should
enrage every legitimate hunter and wildlife advocate
Until Montana recognizes this magnificent national treasure
as native wildlife, until Montana designates habitat
for wintering, birthing, and establishment of a resident
herd, and until Montana calls off its Department of
Livestock, Buffalo Field Campaign will be there - in
the field, every day - to hold Montana accountable.
A typical scene from Yellowstone country, yet heart-breaking
in its timeless beauty: Three
bull bison bedded down in grass and sagebrush; a fourth
grazes nearby. In front of us 50, maybe 60 yards away,
they observed our intrusion with little concern.
The tag-holder, a young woman, dropped to the ground
and supported her rifle on a blue backpack. She settled
in while the three men in her crew coached her on the
shot. During the eternity before it fired, I fumbled
the camera with trembling hands. Is this what
Montanans consider fair-chase hunting? I wondered.
Shooting an animal not even on his feet? The shot exploded.
Whether he was hit that time, I don't know. The resting
animals stood up, more startled, it seemed, than frightened.
Her target walked slowly to the right. Unlike other
ungulates, bison typically don't flee; our continent's
largest terrestrial mammal has the luxury of facing
down his foe. It's likely that Yellowstone bison figure
the wolf as their most lethal threat, yet they will
stand their ground against fang and claw, and usually
come out unscathed. But bullets don't back down, and
the second shot rang, then a third. If there was a fourth,
I don't remember.
He fell, and the scene became an impressionistic blur:
clouds thickening behind Electric Peak, pungent perfume
from low, gnarled sagebrush. A bright patch of snow,
brighter splashes of blaze orange. Congratulatory calls
of "Good shot!" from the crew. As the bison
lay dying, the silence was broken now and again with
incongruous giggles from the shooter. Nervous relief,
Do bison grieve? Decide for yourself. The remaining
three slowly gathered around their fallen
brother. One, in particular, seemed especially distressed;
he pawed the motionless shoulder as if to rouse him.
Getting no response, he nudged the body with his head,
then with the shank of his horn. Again and again he
nudged and butted and pushed; finally, in an act of
utter pathos, he lay down in resignation next to the
body. Foam, tinged pink with blood, frothed from a bullet
The crew was unhappy with this turn of events; the tag-holder
complained that the meat would spoil. "How long
are they going to stay?" she asked in exasperation.
"They need time to mourn," my BFC companion
replied, exasperation in his own voice.
She drove them off with a couple of shots and duct-taped
her tag to his horn.
BFC Board Member
* Call Governor Schweitzer; Call the National
Call, write, fax or visit Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
and tell him to stop the hunt, respect wild buffalo
as a native wildlife species, honor wild buffalo within
Montana's borders, and strip the Department of Livestock
from any involvement with the country's last wild buffalo!
Mail: State Capitol, P.O. Box 200801, Helena, MT 59620-0801
Write, fax, email Yellowstone National Park and tell
them you are ashamed of their actions against the wild
buffalo. Demand that they stop defending Montana's livestock
economy and start protecting the wildlife and wild lands
they are sworn to protect! Tell them to get their hands
out of wild buffalo harassment and slaughter and to
start speaking up in defense of these native gentle
giants. Tell them to become a voice that protects wildlife
from the ill-effects of the cattle industry!
Mail: P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168
* Volunteers Needed! Stand in Defense of the
Last Wild Buffalo!
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!
* Last Words
"Cease being intimidated by the argument that a
right action is impossible because it does not yield
maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned
because it pays."
~ Aldo Leopold