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Weekly Update from the Field April 5, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* A Call for Volunteers!
* Honor Mom with a Gift Dedicated to Ensuring a Heritage of Wild Bison
* BFC Wish List - FM Radios & Kids Gear Needed!
* Summer Tabling Opportunities with BFC!
* Buffalo Field Campaign to Host Aerie Wilderness Medicine Training
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Our thanks go out to everyone who responded to the call to help Jesse and Fog acquire a new tipi after theirs was destroyed last week in a tremendous wind storm.  Your quick response enabled us to obtain a new lodge!  We have received donations over and above necessity and all surplus donations will go directly to BFC's front lines work to defend the wild buffalo!  Jesse, Fog, and everyone at BFC sincerely thank you!

About fifty wild buffalo were harassed along Yellowstone's northern boundary yesterday.  While we expected that the buffalo were satisfied with the Park's early green-up, they always keep us on our toes, challenging human assumptions and doing the unexpected.  The Park Service hazed them since they "threatened" to exit the Park and approach Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT) land.  The buffalo were forced further into their box by those in charge of protecting them even though, as usual, they had never even left the Park's boundaries.  It is fair to say that wild buffalo are political prisoners.

In West Yellowstone, it's been a very quiet season thus far and the DOL and other agents have been itching to harass wild buffalo.  Last Wednesday, two big bulls gave the Department of Livestock (DOL), National Park Service (NPS), MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and other agents a run for their money.  These two big bulls were in a neighborhood called Lower Bear Trap and (apparently) a private resident called to complain about their presence.  It's no coincidence that this neighborhood is where the local DOL agent, Shane Grube, lives.  The agents were out in full armor with trucks, horses, ATVs, and all the flashing lights and trappings to go with their assumed power.  All this effort to harass two bull buffalo. Bulls cannot transmit brucellosis and, unless unwisely provoked, they pose no threat to human safety or property.  Besides, it is their home-land and it's not their fault that human encroachment has laid a neighborhood directly in their habitat.  The haze was a huge waste of taxpayer money and the bull's energy.  But the buffalo got the better of the situation by dodging into some thick willows on National Forest land, escaping further harassment and potential capture.
Spring is really manifesting herself and buffalo are on the move! Highway 191 has seen a lot of buffalo crossings this week and BFC patrols have been out in force helping our shaggy friends get across the highway safely, and helping motorists avoid collisions with the gentle giants.  We extend a huge thank you to everyone who responded to our call last Spring to raise enough money to purchase much-needed traffic warning safety equipment.  We are putting this equipment to good use.  The "Buffalo Ahead" signs are hot pink and huge, and they make a significant positive impact.  We will make an effort to get some pictures up for you to see.  There is no doubt that many buffalo lives have been saved this week.  Thank you so much for your help. The traffic equipment will be used frequently throughout the coming months and you should feel great that you are making it possible for BFC to effectively act as buffalo crossing guards. Thank you!

A great many buffalo are crossing the highway, following the Madison River on their way to Horse Butte.  The landscape is becoming complete, graced with the buffalo's presence.  The other day a very intense thing happened, another lesson in BuffaLove:  We were on the Madison flats, sitting with a group of about 23 buffalo.  Then, another group of 9 that we had spotted the day before passed us on their way to Horse Butte.  This smaller group went into a thicket of trees about 50 yards in front of us and suddenly we heard this intense growling and bellowing, along with some high-pitched screams. Sounds most of us had never ever heard before coming from buffalo. It sounded like a cross between a buffalo bull and a grizzly bear and it was a bit chilling.  The buffalo carried on like this for about ten minutes. Then we heard breaking branches and receding footsteps, and knew they were on their way.  We waited a few minutes and walked into the thicket.  And there it was... a buffalo winterkill site that Mike and I had found the day before.  There were tracks all around it and hair in the branches.  The buffalo had found their relative and they were mourning, celebrating, recognizing him. Maybe it was a father, brother, uncle.  It was family and they responded no differently than you or I would have had we come across the remains of one we had known and loved.  Deeply social, intensely sentient, the buffalo are kindred beings.

As of now, the buffalo are occupying Horse Butte, enjoying their time grazing, playing, and preparing to give birth to the next generation. DOL agents are also making their presence known and the days ahead will prove to be trying times for BFC volunteers and, especially, the wild buffalo.
Thank you for being with us and for the buffalo!

Roam Free!
~Stephany
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* A Call for Volunteers!
This is a call for any and every willing and able person to come to West Yellowstone and volunteer with us.  It is that time of year when the buffalo come out and do what they do (give birth, run, jump, and be buffalo).  It is also the time when they are in the most danger of being harassed, hazed, and killed by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) and other state and federal agencies.  The more people we have in the field, the better equipped we are to accurately document the slaughter.  We have to tell everyone what's happening to these sacred animals and hold their killers responsible.  If you don't feel like you can do the field patrols don't worry, you can come and help with the cabin and the office and open up more spots for the field. The more people we have out with the buffalo the less these agents are going to get away with.  Like the buffalo teach us, there is strength in numbers.  If you have ever considered volunteering, please contact our Volunteer Coordinators (406-646-0070 or buffaloatwildrockies.org).  Room and board are provided.  These agencies are responsible for the killing of over a thousand bison just last year.  We must stop this senseless slaughter NOW!!  Join us in West Yellowstone and we can do it together.

With much BuffaLove,
Arlo
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* Honor Mom with a Gift Dedicated to Ensuring a Heritage of Wild Bison
Mother's Day.  It started out as a simple and sentimental day to honor mothers; now it's one of the most commercially-driven American holidays.  But if spending money on stuff--and MORE stuff--is not your idea of a meaningful tribute, consider doing what many BFC supporters have done the past couple of years:  make a contribution to BFC.  In exchange, we'll send a hand-made card to the recipient(s) of your choice.  This year's Mother's Day card, appropriate for all the special women in your life, will greet your recipient with this melodious message: "The music of springtime in Yellowstone -- Rushing water, wind, birdsong.  Into Nature's eternal symphony is born the next generation of wild bison.  Buffalo Field Campaign is there to work for their future--one of peaceful harmony.  A gift has been made in your honor by ___________________.  Happy Mother's Day!"
Again, we offer cards at two contribution levels:  For a $10 contribution, we'll send a 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" hand-produced and embellished creation; for a $35 contribution, we'll send a larger embellished photo card.  Orders will be accepted until Friday, May 4th, but please, order early!  We'll time the mailing to arrive near Mother's Day. 

Here's how to order:
To order, just click on this link: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807, specify the donation amount for the type of card you are ordering, scroll down to "Mother's Day Card", select the card you want, then move below to the "Mother's Day Info Box" and write the recipient's name and address as well as how you would like the card signed. To complete, scroll down and fill in general and credit card info into the secure server. If you'd rather pay through the mail, send a check or money order (no cash please!) along with the name and address of the card recipient to: BFC, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.

Our work continues because of your much-appreciated contributions...and what could be more meaningful than honoring mom with a gift dedicated to ensuring a heritage of wild bison?  And new for 2007:  Father's Day cards!  Watch this space for details.

We'd like to send a heartfelt thanks to BFC board member Kathleen Stachowski for hand-crafting these beautiful cards, launching this successful fundraiser, and for all her inspired writing on behalf of the buffalo. Read Kathleen's short piece on Mother's Day at the following link: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/stachowski.html
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* BFC Wish List - FM Radios & Kids Gear Needed
Our patrols are out in the field from sun up to sun down, currently working seven hour shifts (a total of 14 hours every day!).  Right now we are working with limited communication gear.  We are in great need of two-way FM radios.  These are the communication devices that we use everyday in the field, they are the tools that keep our volunteers in contact with each other.  They let all of us know about the bison and the agents who aim to harass them.  FM radios are expensive, so if you are interested in donating to our campaign in this way please give us a call to check on brands and models we need.
We are also in need of kids winter clothing. Mostly gloves, hats, undies, mid-layers, and jackets. But also boots (ski and pack), and socks (no cotton, please). Our buffalo family is always growing and we want to make sure the youths are warm, dry, and safe when they go out with us to see the sacred buffalo. If you would like to donate to Buffalo Field Campaign, these are things we need to better do what we do.

Thank you for your continuing support of the bison and our volunteers.

To see BFC's complete Wish List please visit: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/wishlist.html.

In-kind or monetary donations can be mailed to the address at the end of this Update.
Please call or email us with any questions: 406-646-0070 or buffaloatwildrockies.org.

Much Love and Respect,
Arlo
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* Summer Tabling Opportunities with BFC!
Buffalo Field Campaign has volunteer positions open for summer tablers in Yellowstone National Park from June 1 - September 5, 2007. We are looking for 3-4 dedicated people who are well-versed on the buffalo issue and enjoy talking to others about these beautiful, magnificent creatures. You can help tell the buffalo's story and inspire action from the millions who visit Yellowstone.

If you have been wanting to experience the beauty of the Yellowstone ecosystem and speak out for the last wild buffalo, we want to hear from you! Applicants should be hardworking, knowledgeable, outgoing, friendly folks who are comfortable camping for up to five days at a time (in the park - what a dream!) A minimum commitment of one month is required.

Interested? Contact Stephanie Munce at buffaloatwildrockies.org or call 406-646-0070.
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* Buffalo Field Campaign to Host Aerie Wilderness Medicine Training
This summer BFC will host Aerie Backcountry Medicine for their intensive (July 9th- August 3rd) Wilderness EMT course.  The Wilderness EMT is Aerie's highest level of Wilderness Medicine training available. This 190+ hour course follows the Department of Transportation's National Registry EMT curriculum, and goes into significantly more detail concerning care for patients in remote settings. This course is ideal for outdoor leaders involved in extended backcountry trips, individuals seeking employment with ambulance services, search and rescue units, and ski patrols, but is also appropriate for outdoor enthusiasts wanting the best training available.
If you are interested in this 190+ hour course please visit Aerie's web site for complete details at http://www.aeriemed.com.
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* Last Words
"Having visited [Yellowstone] many times, we were well-instructed in [the buffalo's] ways, knowing that bison move at their own speed and no amount of encouragement, especially the honking of horns, would move them faster than they wanted to go.  We were behind a very large recreation vehicle, whose owner, a man not at all versed in the nature of bison, was demonstrating an impatience that bordered on rage. He honked his horn repeatedly and tried to nudge several of the animals along with the bumper of his vehicle. After much effort, a large bull that weighed about 2,000 pounds and sporting an impressive set of horns moved onto the shoulder of the road.  The animal plodded along steadily as the RV pulled alongside and tried to pass. The RV was about halfway past the bull when it decided to use its horn. Quite deliberately, it swung its massive head and planted its left horn deep into the side of the RV."
~ Joe R. Howry

From an excellent article published in the Ventura County Star on April 1, 2007. 
Read the full article at:
http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/opinion_columnists/article/0,1375,VCS_223_5456784,00.html

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