* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
The gentle giants have been on the move, waking the
Earth with the footsteps of their annual spring migration.
The community's joy in the buffalo's presence evaporates
the memory of the long, lonely winter that saw every
buffalo who entered Montana on the west side of the
Park get shot in Montana's so-called hunt. BFC patrols
have been out morning to night, basking in the glory
of the buffalo's presence, and also working very hard
at warning traffic, facilitating safe passage for the
hundreds of buffalo on their way to Horse Butte, their
favored calving grounds. Our new highway safety equipment
is having a significant positive impact, and all of
the crossings are going really well with buffalo making
it across the highway safely. BFC patrols continue to
work tirelessly - some doing double shifts which stretch
15 hours in the field - to help get buffalo across the
road without incident.
Unfortunately, the peaceful flow of the buffalo's migration
was broken this week by the Department of Livestock
(DOL). The ignorance and arrogance of self-glorified
cowboy cops who take pleasure in bullying wild buffalo
is disrupting the entire ecosystem, infuriating the
community, and posing serious threats to motorists travelling
DOL and other government agents came out on Tuesday
and Wednesday, chasing upwards of 500 wild buffalo off
of Horse Butte and surrounding National Forest lands.
Pregnant cows, yearlings, young adults, and massive
bulls were were run very hard by riders representing
the DOL, National Park Service, MT Fish, Wildlife &
Parks, and the National Forest Service. Agents also
hazed buffalo out of the Yellowstone Village neighborhood
where they are welcome by residents; agents utterly
ignore the wishes of private property owners, disregarding
the "Buffalo Safe Zone" signs BFC provides
to local residents who want the buffalo around, but
not the DOL. Apparently, private property rights only
apply to those who let cattle munch on their land -
which nobody here does save for a few hobby ranchers
who import cattle during summer months.
The massive hazing operation took place despite an agreement
signed in November 2006 by all five Interagency Bison
Management Plan participants. The agreement is for adaptive
changes to the IBMP, and was supposed to allow for greater
tolerance of wild buffalo on public lands outside Yellowstone
through May 15. Unfortunately, Montana's state vet has
the final word, but what's the point in having an agreement
if it isn't carried out? The agreement calls for "strategic
hazing" which would allow buffalo to be on public
land if it is a "low risk" (no cattle) area.
There are never cattle on the public lands surrounding
Yellowstone's western boundary, and none on private
land until summer, so it is difficult to imagine a more
"low risk" situation. The agreement also has
a provision that allows for more tolerance for bull
bison, which was also completely ignored. Agents went
out of their way this week to round up all the buffalo
they could find and haze them out of Montana, all the
way to Yellowstone's boundary. The agents failed to
adhere to a single provision of the agreement. When
BFC questioned DOL agent Rob Tierney, "head honcho"
of western boundary bison harassment, about the terms
of the agreement, he acted as if he didn't even know
the agreement existed; all components were ignored and
the DOL wreaked havoc on the landscape as they are known
Read the IBMP Agreement, a letter from BFC to Montana
State Vet Dr. J. Rankin, BFC's press release, photos,
and links for taking action: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legal/adaptivemanagement.html.
Certainly, Congress and the Government Accountability
Office investigators are going to be very interested
in the blatant disregard of the supposed "greater
View exclusive BFC video footage from this week's hazing
operations at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.
Buffalo follow instincts and not politics or man-made
borders, so once the agents leave, the buffalo turn
back around and resume their migration to Horse Butte.
The DOL's activities are a serious threat, not only
to buffalo, but to the motorists travelling this stretch
of 191. The buffalo will have to cross Highway 191 again
and again and BFC will be there to help them.
The cowboy circus is back in town for the spring, and
the buffalo are suffering as a result as they do every
year. BFC is in the field every day, watching over the
buffalo and and documenting every move the agents make
against them. And the tides are turning. The pressure
is on and the DOL is feeling it, so they strike out
with their dwindling power. One day soon, the livestock
interests won't have this power. The agents can't keep
the buffalo down, and they can't keep them out of Montana.
We the people must use endless pressure, endlessly applied,
just as the buffalo maintain persistence, resistance,
* NEW! Photo of the Week
"When they do this... We have to do this!"
* Mark Your Calendars for June 9th!
We are very excited to announce that Buffalo Field Campaign
will celebrate our 10-Year Anniversary in West Yellowstone!
Please mark your calendars for June 9, 2007 and watch
this space for a special announcement next week!
* Honor Mom with a Gift Dedicated to 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
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
* Last Words
"In today's 24/7 news cycle, we can become desensitized
to all the problems swirling around us. I had read about
the BFC in literature where I work, Patagonia retail.
I read the brochures, wished there was more to be done,
and turned my attention back to my daily priorities.
In the fall of 2006 I was fortunate enough to attend
the Patagonia Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference.
It was here that I met Stephany, a buffalo lover and
activist. Her passion for the Yellowstone bison stoked
that slow-burning fire I know is inside me but sometimes
forget to tend to. We stayed in touch. The post-holiday
months brought reprieve, and I headed to Hebgen Lake
in April to experience what the dedicated volunteers
for the BFC do every day. To say that their work is
impressive is an understatement. Never have I seen such
dedication, passion and pure love for a cause. The cabin
was bustling with busy people when I arrived, moving
in and out, discussing the latest movement of bison
out of the park. It was just beginning. The spring plays
out its beautiful role in the cycle, and wildlife everywhere
are waking up, moving on and, best of all, giving new
life. The volunteer coordinators gave me the overview,
and soon I was scheduled for an AM patrol. My 5am wake-up
call came the next day, breakfast was made and the patrols
were out. We headed to Duck Creek Pond, a small body
of water teeming with life: Sand Hill cranes, trumpeter
swans, Canada geese and goldeneyes. Where were the buffalo?
We headed down Hwy 191, cars zipping past, and there
they were. I connected with my first group of bison
- bulging buffalo bellies ready to give birth and little
yearlings from the past spring prancing around their
mamas leading them to Horse Butte. We raced up and down
the highway putting up the bright BUFFALO AHEAD signs
warning cars and 18-wheelers to slow down for risk of
hitting the buffalo moving down their migratory path,
the path they've known for thousands of years, now marked
by a highway with trucks and cars barreling past. I
understood the rush that BFC volunteers feel. I finally
felt that burn they know moving them to be here for
the buffalo. In the three days of patrols, watching
over these beautiful bison as they try and live in peace,
I witnessed an incredible dedication from the people
at BFC. They work for the buffalo from sunup 'till sundown,
cook and clean to support one another and always know
why they are here - buffalo. I thank them for the work
they do and the chance to come and work with them. I
encourage anyone who wishes they could do more, or who
is simply curious about the Yellowstone buffalo to come
and stay in the cabin on Hebgen Lake. You will be fed,
chores and work will be given, and you will connect
with something far greater than yourself."
Meghan Sural, Patagonia, Inc. & BFC Volunteer