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Weekly Update from the Field April 19, 2007
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* Update from the Field
* Hazing Impacts Grizzly Bears and Bald Eagles
* Earth Day, Bufflers, and Buffalo Field Campaign
* Mother's Day is Fast Approaching - Order Buffalo Cards Now!
* An Invitation to BFC's 10-Year Anniversary & Family Reunion!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
When government puts livestock inspectors in charge of managing wildlife  - as is the case with Yellowstone buffalo - very bad things are bound to happen.  This week was no exception.  One of the most ancient, sacred, beautiful beings on this planet continues to be tormented to appease the selfish interests of cattle producers. Despite the absence of cattle around West Yellowstone, the fact that wild buffalo have never transmitted brucellosis to cattle, and the fact that wild bison are native while cattle are invasive and imported, the centuries-old war set to destroy these magnificent, iconic animals carries on.

Last week DOL bullies hazed approximately 400 wild buffalo off of National Forest land, despite a November 2006 agreement signed by all five Interagency Bison Management Plan agency heads, which was supposed to allow for "greater tolerance" of wild bison on public lands through May 15.

You can read the agreement here: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legal/adaptivemanagement.html.

After the senseless harassment was over, the agents split town as they always do, knowing full well that the buffalo would resume their migration back to Horse Butte, and that the animals would again have to cross US Highway 191.  None of the agents who cause this trouble bother to warn motorists of the dangerous situations they create. The DOL's actions pose a serious threat to motorists and every living creature.  Thankfully, BFC is here to help buffalo and travellers avoid dangerous collisions, but it is a responsibility of the State to ensure highway safety.  From Thursday on, BFC has been on the sides of the roads constantly with our "Buffalo Ahead" signs, and helping prevent bison/vehicle collisions.  

See BFC's press release from April 13:
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0607/pressreleases0607/041307.html

This week, the DOL - with the help of FWP game warden Jim Smolczynski - returned to cause more trouble in the ecosystem and along the highways.  The agents returned to haze buffalo from fields and forests, ignoring the dangers they have created along the road.  On Tuesday, DOL agent Cody Peters hazed three separate groups of wild bison from his ATV, yelling at them and firing cracker rounds (high-powered explosives) to scare the buffalo into Yellowstone.

Yesterday, Peters, with the help of Smolczynski and DOL agent Tyler Bond harassed a group of 17 buffalo, running them hard out of Stinnet's Field, just west of Yellowstone's boundary.  Smolczynski managed to separate one very pregnant cow bison from her family group. She ran for her life!  He hounded her to no end, and she evaded his pursuit to the best of her abilities. 

None of us had ever seen a buffalo run so fast.  She was huge with calf and with Smolczynski's ATV hot on her heels, we could hear her heavy, grunting pant from across the field.  As she came closer, we could see her tongue hanging out and that she was foaming at the mouth.  The agent gave up the chase, and the buffalo remained separated from her group, walking a wicked eight-strand high-tension wire fence line trying to find her way back to them.  This scene brought us to tears.  How can people be so cruel?

But the agents weren't done there.  After that haze, they headed to Horse Butte to harass more wild buffalo off of the Munns' Ranch.  A few baby buffalo have been spotted, so birthing time is here.  It's a time we should be celebrating, yet we cringe with fear for what these buffalo, many of them taking their first steps, will have to endure. Three agents on ATVs hazed approximately 180 wild buffalo, but they didn't even move them off the property, they just harassed the heck out of them, chasing them from the east end of the ranch to the west end.  Pointless.

It's unthinkable that Montana livestock inspectors would be allowed to have any role in dictating how America's last wild bison live and die.  Yet, as I type, I can hear our field patrols communicating over the radio that DOL agents are back at it again, yippin' it up, bullying buffalo, tearing up the sensitive spring landscape with the wheels of their machines and horses shod hooves, and having a grand ole time at it. There are no cattle here, and even if there were, wildlife must take precedence over invasive livestock and the diseases they bring.  The Yellowstone bison are the last continuously wild buffalo left in the U.S.  They are behaviorally and genetically unique.  They have walked this Earth for over 10,000 years.  They are deserving of our respect, honor and protection and they need our strong voices to speak up for them now.  The DOL is an out-of-control rogue agency and they will not stop until we stop them. 

Now is the time.
Please contact:
- DOL/Montana State Vet Jeanne Rankin: jrankin@mt.gov / 800-523-3162, ext. 3
- Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:  brianschweitzer@mt.gov / 406-444-3111
- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks: pflowers@mt.gov / 406-994-4050
- Your House and Senate members: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
/ (capitol switchboard) 202-224-3121

Roam Free,
~Stephany
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* Hazing Impacts Grizzly Bears and Bald Eagles
The western boundary of Yellowstone National Park, from Fir Ridge to Cougar Creek, is currently closed to all human activity to protect waking grizzly bears.  The DOL, however, acts as if they are above the law.  During hazing operations DOL agents yell loudly, fire off high-powered explosives (cracker rounds) right at the Park border, and even ride their horses and fly helicopters into this protected area of the Park.  Recent grizzly bear sightings have been reported, and the DOL's actions are adversely impacting them.  Two years ago, just hours after a DOL helicopter hazed buffalo inside this area of Yellowstone during the grizzly closure, a twelve-year-old boar grizzly was hit and killed on the highway after leaving the Park.

The Horse Butte Peninsula of Gallatin National Forest is home to three active bald eagle nests.  A portion of the Butte is closed to all human activity from December through August to protect the magnificent birds.  In the past, the DOL was allowed to harass wild bison in this region only between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, to allow for the eagle's foraging time to be unmolested by agent activity, especially during the winter when open water is hard to find.  It's not as if eagles don't forage between 10 and 3, as we've seen them flying and hunting during these hours.  But, it at least afforded the great birds some break from government activity. 

Just yesterday, BFC learned that the US Forest Service terminated those protections in January 2007.  Now, protections have been set aside by the Forest Service with agreement from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.  DOL agents can go out to Horse Butte basically anytime once the ice melts along certain portions of the Madison River.

Buffalo, grizzly bears, wolves and bald eagles: these are the unacceptable sacrifices being made so the cattle industry can rule the land.  Enough is enough!

Please Contact:
- Becky Heath, Supervisor, Gallatin National Forest:  406-587-6703
- Pat Flowers, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:  pflowers@mt.gov / 406-994-4050
- Your House and Senate members: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html
/ (capitol switchboard) 202-224-3121
------------------------------
* Earth Day, Bufflers, and Buffalo Field Campaign
Greetings from Hebgen Lake! When i moved to a cabin owned by BFC in mid-November, I never anticipated how much having my good friends of the BFC around me on a daily basis would lift my spirits. As many of you know, Phil and i have been strong active supporters of BFC since co-founder Mike Mease arrived in West Yellowstone in 1997, meeting with him in our home a week or two after he came to video-document the terrible abuse of the buffalo.

Now the green-up has begun, the birds are returning and spring is really in the air earlier than usual, after a very relatively snow-less winter  ...  the other day as i was removing plastic from my west-facing window, two sand hill cranes flew right by and then down to and across the lake. Magical!

Green-up also means the annual migration of buffalo from Yellowstone National Park to their traditional calving grounds on Horse Butte. As hundreds of mainly pregnant cow buffalo cross the highway, BFC patrols, donning fluorescent vests and road signs, are out there from pre-dawn to night patrols, warning motorists of the buffalo's presence on the road. So far no buffalo have been killed or injured by motorists, unlike last year when 10 were hit and killed, mainly by semis.
But the life of the buffalo has not been safe this week as agents of the Montana Department of Livestock, with assistance from Fish, Wildlife & Parks game wardens, National Park Rangers and the Highway Patrol began their annual full force hazing operations using horses, ATVs & pick-ups, driving hundreds of buffs back across the highway into the park. Not a pretty sight.

You can read press releases and view short videos of the hazing operations by going to http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org.

Two years ago on Memorial Day & Earth Day, which is also Phil's birthday, BFC honored him:
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/memorialphil.html
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/philbarb.html

This year, for Earth Day and Phil's birthday I'm asking those who can to make a donation to BFC. ALL the money collected will be used to purchase new Motorola FM radios which are absolutely vital for our volunteers in the field to be able to communicate with each other and with campaign headquarters, as well as walkie-talkies, and video equipment/supplies which allow us to continue to document the actions of federal and state agents in their war against buffalo being allowed on our public lands in Montana.

You can make your donation online at: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807
... or you can send a check made out to BFC addressed to: Office Coordinator (that's me:), Buffalo Field Campaign, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone MT 59758-0957.  Either way, please indicate that the donation is in honor and memory of Phil.

Celebrate the Earth, every day (including next Sunday, April 22nd). And remember Phil on his birthday (next Sunday, April 22nd) whose spirit inspires me every day to continue to work to protect WILDlife, WILD lands and WILD people! Join me in supporting the Buffalo Field Campaign for ten years of perseverance and their extraordinary work on behalf of WILD buffalo.
love, barb
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* Mother's Day is Fast Approaching - Order Buffalo Cards Now!
Send a beautiful, hand-crafted card to the special mother(s) in your life and benefit Buffalo Field Campaign in the process.
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/momcelebration2007.html
------------------------------
* An Invitation to BFC's 10-Year Anniversary & Family Reunion!
It is hard to fathom that for ten years now, since April of 1997, the Buffalo family has shown the world the tragically disgraceful Yellowstone buffalo story.  All of the over 3000+ field volunteers, 20,000+ active supporters, prayers, songs, and stories of everyone who has done anything to help these sacred beings, your presence is requested.  Buffalo Field Campaign would like to invite you to West Yellowstone for our ten-year Buffalo Family Reunion during the week of June 4th through the 9th.  From June 4 through the 8th we will be engaged in work projects around our property, nightly campfires, reuniting, planning strategy, and holding vision sessions.

Saturday June 9 we will celebrate with a party with famed eco-rocker Danny Dolinger, gifted native musician Good Shield,  7th Generation Rise, and BFC's own volunteer band Prisoners of Time featuring Hays, Jesse, and a rumored special appearance by the famed Wally Festus Leusch.  Beer will be served at the event.  Camping will be available at BFC headquraters.
It has been a long hard road for our friends and family the buffalo and they still need all of our help.  Please come for the week, the weekend, in spirit or in thought, but keep telling everyone you can of the Yellowstone buffalo and their plight.

We will be holding a silent auction at the event and are are looking for donated items.  If you are an artist, craftsperson or have any items or services you would like to donate to the auction, please get in touch!

If you are interested in staying in town, need other special arrangements, or have any questions about the gathering, please contact Mike Mease at mease"at"wildrockies.org.

For the Buffalo,
Mike Mease
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* Last Words
"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."
~ Mother Jones


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