Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Today marks the opening day of Montana's buffalo "hunt."
Montana has issued forty-four tags to gun down members
of the last wild American bison population.
It's certain death for wild buffalo to step across this
imaginary line between Yellowstone and Montana that
dissects a landscape where they once roamed free.
A landscape that was once contiguous and whole, teeming
with wild buffalo. This is a hunt without habitat,
run by cattle interests who want to ensure this native
wildlife species remains ecologically extinct in Montana.
The hunt will run from today, November 15, 2007, through
February 15, 2008. Montana's bison hunt is authorized
not by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), but
by Montana's Department of Livestock. Clearly,
this is a conflict of interest akin to putting the fox
in charge of the hen-house.
Please contact MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Governor
Schweitzer to demand year-round habitat for wild bison
and help divest the Department of Livestock of bison
FWP Director Jeff Hagener (406) 444-3186, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Governor Brian Schweitzer (406) 444-3121, email@example.com.
With any luck, it will be a good day for buffalo. BFC
volunteers have been conducting frequent recons around
Gardiner and West Yellowstone, and, so far, it appears
that the mild weather is enabling buffalo to continue
accessing the plentiful forage on their higher elevation
habitat within the Park. Buffalo will be buffalo
and there's no certainty in predicting their migration.
They will go where and when they want for their own
reasons; part of their beauty, mystery and charm.
Yesterday, volunteers learned that the Department of
Livestock and other government agencies were going to
remove the bison trap that had been put up near the
Yellowstone Airport last spring, and used to capture
and transport over 50 buffalo from West Yellowstone
to the Park's northern boundary lands. Today,
the trap is gone. It is as yet unclear if this
particular bison trap will be reconstructed on this
site later in the year. Apparently, the airport intends
to construct a large fence around their property that
will keep bison and elk safe from the dangers of grazing
along the airport's runway - a boon to both wildlife
BFC patrols are underway, monitoring wild buffalo migration
and preparing to document all actions made against them.
We will also be conducting a lot of hunter outreach
again this hunt season in an effort to help engage conservation-minded
hunters in the restoration of wild bison in Montana.
We are up and running with our camp in Gardiner again
this year, too. BFC expects a solid showing of
front lines buffalo defenders this season. We
need your help to keep the campaign running! It
takes a lot for us to ensure that these selfless wild
buffalo warriors are fed, sheltered, kept warm and dry
in the field, and have all the gear and equipment needed
for telling the buffalo's story and advocating for their
lasting protection. If you are able to make
a monetary or in-kind donation to Buffalo Field Campaign,
we can use your help now.
Please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
and click on the "Donate Now" button to make
a secure online donation, send a contribution through
the mail to the address at the end of this email, or
see below for our Wish List.
There's lots of other news in this Update so please
read on! Thank you all for being with us and for
the buffalo. BFC would not exist if it weren't
for you believing in us and ensuring our presence in
the field. Thank you all from the bottom of our
hearts for everything you make possible.
* THANK YOU! Montana Gets a "Let Buffalo
Roam" License Plate!
Thanks to you, Montana's new Let Buffalo Roam license
plate will be available in January 2008. The winner
of Montana's new license plate is... http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
* BFC Wish List: Hard Drives for Video
Storage & iMac Computer Needed
As we come into a new season there is one thing that
is certain no matter what else happens, we will shoot
lots of video. In order to get that video out
to the world we have to first get it onto the computer,
and we are nearing the end of our storage space on all
of our hard drives. In order to show the
world what the state of Montana is trying to hide we
are going to need several new hard drives. If
you can help we are in need of new or used firewire
hard drives 100GB or larger.
barb, our hard working office coordinator has been having
computer troubles of her own lately. Right now she is
using an 8 year old iMac that has started randomly losing
emails and is to slow to work with newer software.
To keep barb doing all that she does for the buffalo
we need at least one newer apple computer (G4 or newer).
Thank you for your continuing support of the bison and
our volunteers. To see BFC's complete Wish List please
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
* ACTION: Help Protect Wild Buffalo Under
the Endangered Species Act
America's last wild buffalo - the so-called "Yellowstone"
population - has a chance to be protected under the
Endangered Species Act as a Distinct Population Segment.
Please download, print and circulate widely this petition
to help build strong public support for protecting the
Yellowstone buffalo http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/science/buffaloesapetition.pdf.
Send completed petitions to Buffalo Field Campaign,
to the address at the end of this email.
And please SEND YOUR COMMENTS
to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in support of
James Horsley's petition to protect the Yellowstone
bison under the Endangered Species Act as a Distinct
Population Segment. Urge the U.S.FWS to do adequate
research to identify the bison's native historic range
and to reconsider their current position not to protect
wild bison and their habitat under the Endangered Species
For more information contact Darrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send your comments to:
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80228
* Buffalo in the News
11/10/07 - Horse Butte land sale may give bison safe
haven, Bozeman Daily Chronicle
11/09/07 - To the Editor: Private Property Rights
(Ann Stovall!), West Yellowstone News
11/09/07 - Board rejects disease split, Jackson Hole
11/08/07 - Department of Livestock rejects split state
for brucellosis management, New West
11/07/07 - Livestock board rejects brucellosis management
zones, Helena Independent Record
11/07/07 - Panelists nix split zone for cattle, Billings
11/7/07 - Madison valley landowners get tough with Montana
DOL, New West
11/3/07 - Bison Management: Radio Interview (BFC &
Gallatin Wildlife Association)
Home Ground w/ Brian Kahn Yellowstone Publi Radio (10/23)
& MT Public Radio (11/3)
11/1/07 - Two tribes say they have right to hunt bison
near park, Billings Gazette (Matt Brown)
* BFC Visits Our National Elk (& Bison)
Refuge: A Glorified Game Farm
In response to several calls from local citizens, representatives
of Buffalo Field Campaign visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming
to interview National Elk Refuge supervisor Steve Kallin
about the the start of the bison hunt which began on
September 15, 2007.
Bison have been hunted on Bridger Teton National Forest,
but this is the first year bison have been hunted on
the National Elk Refuge. So far 53 bison have been killed
in the hunt.
Buffalo Field Campaign was also in touch with local
residents that witnessed bison being shot from a main
road or from their property. These residents opposed
bison hunting on the refuge and called for national
A little bit about Jackson.
In the late 1800's, ranchers moved in and occupied historic
wildlife range to graze domestic livestock. Without
winter range, the native elk population experienced
several severe winter kills which led to the establishment
of a game reserve in 1905 in Jackson and supplemental
feeding of elk to limit starvation during the winter.
Hunting of elk began on the refuge in 1943 and is now
in play to reduce the Grand Teton-Jackson bison population
to 500 animals.
Today's elk population is artificially maintained -
to the benefit of outfitter and hunter guides -
and fed 2,400 tons of pelletized alfalfa at an annual
cost of $400,000. The refuge also irrigates fields
to increase the availability of forage. The refuge is
not distributing alfalfa pellets during the bison hunt
but once in production the feed line is distributed
over a mile.
5,000 elk winter on the refuge, and Wyoming Game &
Fish has a target goal of 11,000 elk in the Grand Teton-Jackson
region. Bison learned how to exploit the refuge's feeding
grounds beginning in 1980 and now number around 1,200.
The first bison established in Grand Teton National
Park came from 22 Yellowstone National Park bison but
nearly all those animals were destroyed when brucellosis
was discovered in 1963 and repopulated with bison from
Teddy Roosevelt National Park and Fort Niabrara. Bison
bulls have migrated to Grand Teton for the rut, and
returned to Yellowstone. One female-led bison group
from Yellowstone is known to have migrated to Grand
Teton and stayed.
The National Elk Refuge publicly states that hunting
bison on the refuge is justified to keep the population
in check (which is artificially kept high through the
feeding program) and contain the spread of disease (which
is fostered by artificially concentrating the animals
on the feed grounds). Though brucellosis is widespread
in both elk and bison, chronic wasting disease, a fatal
ungulate disease with no known treatment is spreading
and was documented 100 miles from Jackson Hole. Barrels
for hunter deposited elk heads are kept on the refuge
to check for chronic wasting disease.
Montana should take note of the dire situation in Wyoming.
Domestic livestock ranching has severely depleted winter
range for native wildlife. Attempts to artificially
sustain an elk population has altered wildlife behavior,
unnaturally concentrated wildlife, and fostered the
spread of disease. Without habitat, there is no end
in sight to the devastating costs borne by America's
native elk and bison in the name of population and disease
* Last Words
"When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin
to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the
Rainbow will come to save them."
~ Attributed to Chief Seattle