Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Pee-eew! Does anyone else smell a skunk?
Today, a half hour after sunset, Montana's canned bison
hunt will thankfully be over.
Over one hundred buffalo were able to survive it.
How did the wily giants do it? They didn't give
fair chase, dodging bullets, fleeing for the forests.
They didn't elude the blaze orange stalkers on snowmobiles.
They weren't shepherded out of harm's way by buffalo
advocates. They didn't grow wings and fly to the
far away magic mountains. No, the buffalo that
survived the hunt did so because they simply didn't
walk into Montana. The forty or so that did migrate
over the ecologically nonsensical and imaginary line-in-the-sand
were killed. Every single buffalo that stepped
into Montana is now dead.
If there was any "success" in this hunt, it's
only being celebrated by Montana's Department of Livestock,
the hunt's authorizing agency who's motto might as well
be "the only good buffalo is a dead buffalo."
The DOL successfully used hunters to ensure the death
of every single bison that entered the state.
The nearly 100 hunters who got skunked (i.e. were unable
to find buffalo to kill) are extremely frustrated and
trying to place the blame on BFC. Hunters have
complained to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks that
BFC volunteers moved buffalo out of the hunt area, back
into Yellowstone. A little tracking experience
would tell you that the tracks hunters saw going in
and out of Yellowstone belonged to moose, not bison.
But, since they've had no experience around wild buffalo,
we can understand why hunters would make such mistakes.
Our new volunteers tend to make that mistake the first
few times in the field. But to try and blame
BFC for an unsuccessful bison hunt is illogical and
irresponsible. It certainly was not BFC who issued
140 permits to kill an animal that is ecologically extinct.
Nor is BFC in the business of pushing wild buffalo into
Yellowstone National Box; that's the DOL's job and we've
been trying to get them fired for years.
If there is blame to be placed - and there certainly
is - it's upon Montana officials - FWP and the Governor's
office - who are willing to be pulled by the Livestock
Bison hunters, your frustration has strong foundation:
you have been used. You were sold tags to kill
an animal that is ecologically extinct in Montana.
You fell for a hunt without habitat. You were
sold tags to participate in a bison extermination program.
You were used to help the DOL achieve it's goal without
having to take the heat. If you want to hunt wild
bison, you need to advocate for year-round bison HABITAT,
just like you would do for any other species you want
to hunt. Place the burden on the state who holds
a zero-tolerance policy against wild buffalo, not those
who have worked so hard to see wild bison flourish.
Your voice is at least as strong as that of the cattle
industry! Don't be silent - speak up for wild
Be proactive, advocate for a resident population and
demand that wild bison be respected and valued as a
native wildlife species. Refuse the DOL's role
in bison mismanagement. Contact your hunting brothers
and sisters at the Gallatin Wildlife Association.
They have been the only hunting organization to wisely,
strongly oppose this canned hunt and they have a solid
vision for bringing wild buffalo back to Montana.
Contact FWP and demand that your $125 in-state or $750
out-of-state money be allocated towards bison habitat
in Montana. Contact Governor Schweitzer and FWP and
tell them to pull out of the Interagency Bison Management
Plan, and implement a Montana Bison Management Plan
that respects the wild character and ecological role
Now that the bison hunters have left the Park boundary,
the DOL will take over again on the West side.
Along the Park's northern boundary, Yellowstone rangers
are already conducting regular hazing operations.
The estimated 3,300 last wild bison that still exist
in the United States - Yellowstone National Park - are
targets for harassment, capture, slaughter and quarantine.
The "hunt" added insult to injury.
It is a mistake to take from the buffalo and give nothing
back. It is a mistake to ignore their needs and
expect to satisfy your wants.
* Take Action for Wild Buffalo!
Please contact the following Montana decision-makers,
and in your own words, insist that they: pull
out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan now; design
and implement a Montana Bison Management Plan that respects
the wild integrity of bison, establishes and conserves
a state-wide, year-round resident herd; listen to their
constituents and stop caving to livestock interests.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Attn: Pat Flowers, Supervisor Region 3
1400 S. 19th Street
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
Helena, MT 59620-0801
DON'T STOP THERE - CONTACT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL
Yellowstone National Park rangers have been hazing wild
buffalo along the northern boundary on a regular basis
for weeks now. At any time they will begin to
capture bison in the Stephens Creek bison trap. Buffalo
will be crammed into pens where, frightened and frustrated,
they will gore each other; they will be run through
glorified cattle chutes, poked with electric cattle
prods, yelled at by overzealous cowboys and agency reps,
their heads will be locked in place, noses bloody from
being pinched in rings, so scientists can draw their
blood and determine if they should live or die.
Likely, most will be crammed onto livestock trailers
and trucked to far-away slaughterhouses. Calves
who's mothers are sent to slaughter, if not slaughtered
themselves, will be sent to the Corwin Springs quarantine
feasibility study, raised and forced to breed in domestication
and experimented on by scientists. Last year,
Yellowstone sent nearly 1,000 wild bison to slaughter.
Don't let it happen this year! Contact Yellowstone now
before they begin!
Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
* The Yukon Visits Yellowstone
Buffalo Field Campaign is a participating member of
the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative, which "combines
science and stewardship, seeking to ensure that the
world-renowned wilderness, wildlife, native plants,
and natural processes of the Yellowstone to Yukon region
continue to function as an interconnected web of life,
capable of supporting all of its natural and human communities,
for current and future generations."
Yellowstone is at the southernmost tip of the Y2Y region,
and yesterday we were blessed with a visit and presentation
by friends from the northernmost region representing
the Yukon Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness
Society (CPAWS). Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke
are traveling portions of North America to share "Three
Rivers: Wild Waters, Sacred Places," a project
which aims to "celebrate and protect the the Yukon's
great boreal mountain wilderness area" comprising
the Peel watershed from which flows the Snake, Wind
and Bonnet Plume Rivers. This is the traditional
territory of the Nacho Nyak Dun and Tetl'it Gwich'in
First Nations. Though largely intact, unmanaged, wild
and free, this landscape of outstanding beauty and intense
diversity is "vulnerable to the continental hunger
for hydrocarbons, including new development schemes
for oil and natural gas, pipelines, coal and coal-bed
methane, roads, rails, and mining."
In a perfect world, somewhere in the middle of the Yellowstone
to Yukon, the bison and the musk ox would meet.
Please learn more about this breathtaking and life-sustaining
landscape and help ensure its future. Thank you
Juri and Sarah for coming to BFC and sharing the Three
Rivers Project with us. We are thankful for your
work and are honored that we were able to introduce
you to the wild buffalo here at the southern tip of
our combined dream, and we look forward to the day we
can join you in the Yukon!
Take action - http://cpaws.org/borealaction
Learn about the Three Rivers Project - http://www.cpawsyukon.org
Learn about the Y2Y Conservation Initiative - http://www.y2y.net/
* Last Words
"... It's an extension of the self, not the rational
self but the self that feels. When the North is
damaged and we hear about it, we hurt. The twenty-first
century will tell us - once and for all, I suspect -
how much of ourselves we're prepared to destroy."
~ Margaret Atwood