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
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!
* 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
With much BuffaLove,
* 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
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
* BFC Wish List - FM Radios & Kids Gear
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
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
Much Love and Respect,
* 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.
* Buffalo Field Campaign to Host Aerie Wilderness
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.
* 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
~ Joe R. Howry
From an excellent article published in the Ventura County
Star on April 1, 2007.
Read the full article at: