Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
On Saturday we lost another buffalo to Montana's "hunt."
Gardiner patrols had seen two massive bulls on Friday
that had walked down near Yellowstone's north entrance,
headed in the direction of the Eagle Creek area, which
is within the buffalo hunt zone. The bulls were so huge
that it was almost impossible to believe they were real.
But there they were - prehistoric majesty still existing
in our midst, standing with beating hearts and steaming
breath right before our eyes. One of them had enough
years on him that his horns were worn and blunted with
age. We can only imagine the stories this bull and his
companion would have to tell. Together they walked up
towards Eagle Creek and the next morning one of them
was shot by a Montana hunter. The remaining bull has
not been seen since he lost his companion.
Getting shot by gunners and being "reduced to possession"
is what happens to wild buffalo that walk into Montana
on the east side of the Yellowstone River. On the west
side of the river, wild buffalo are subjected to hazing,
capture, quarantine, and slaughter. Just yesterday,
Gardiner patrols witnessed two Yellowstone National
Park Rangers on horseback, assisted by a Park County
Sheriff, hazing a single bull buffalo off of habitat
in the vicinity of land owned by the Church Universal
and Triumphant (CUT). As you know, over the years CUT's
less than 300-head of domestic cattle have made life
extremely difficult for the last wild buffalo. This
one bull was chased by the rangers for over an hour
and a half to just inside Yellowstone's north boundary
near the Stephens Creek bison trap. And while the buffalo
we have seen look extremely healthy and ready to take
on the long, difficult winter, patrols reported that
this particular bull was a little on the thin side,
but that he was otherwise getting around pretty well.
He just needed to get to some good grass to survive
another winter. But the Park Service has ensured that
his chances of survival are minimal; by hazing him,
they forced him to use up energy reserves that he could
not afford to waste and pushed him to an area from which
he had already decided to move. Hazing wild buffalo
off of their chosen ground is a cruel, slow way to starve
On the western boundary, things have been relatively
quiet. Temperatures have gotten much colder and we now
have about two and a half feet of snow on the ground.
Patrols are donning skis and snowshoes to get around
the frosty landscape, and are piling on the extra warm
layers to deal with the frigid temperatures. Just the
other morning temperatures dropped to -27, which is
only a taste of what's to come as winter settles upon
us. Yesterday, while out doing recons, patrols witnessed
a Park Service plane scouting the area for wild buffalo.
Of course, catering to Montana's livestock industry
and keeping themselves mired in the political glue of
the nefarious Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP),
they are required to report any buffalo out of the park's
boundaries to the Montana Department of Livestock.
As the buffalo hunt season continues and we prepare
for the worst that the IBMP agencies have promised to
deal the buffalo (see last week's update on our web
site), we must make every effort to take proactive steps
and ensure that harassment and death will not be the
future of all buffalo who migrate into Montana. We must
gather our forces and demand, at the very least, the
Horse Butte Peninsula become a sanctuary for wild buffalo.
This landscape - half national forest land, half buffalo-friendly
private land - is a favorite for wild buffalo and is
now 100% cattle-free. There is no excuse for livestock
interests to prevent buffalo from being there. Please
to contact Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, IBMP agency
heads, and your members of congress today and demand
that Horse Butte be forever designated a buffalo safe
P.S. BFC's new newsletter will be in the mail soon!
If you would like to help distribute newsletters in
your community, please contact barb at buffaloatwildrockies.org
and let her know how many additional newsletters you'd
like. Thanks for helping to spread the word to save
* NEW VIDEO! Protect the Wild Bison
This new video, "Protect the Wild Bison,"
is a collaborative video project created by Buffalo
Field Campaign and Back from the Brink Productions.
This seven minute piece blends poetry, music, and some
of the most powerful BFC footage into a story that will
motivate you into helping these unique beings. Tim Gannon
is the producer and BFC has nothing but praise for his
effort. Please contact BFC to obtain a copy and help
spread the word to save the herd by sponsoring video
showings in your community.
Watch the video Protect the Wild Bison by Tim Gannon:
* Photo of the Week
Snowy Buffalo ~ Photo by Jesse Crocker, the Merlyn of
* Support BFC with a Tax-deductible Donation
At a government meeting last week, the agencies let
us know that they plan on killing hundreds of buffalo
in the coming months should the buffalo leave the park.
Your support will enable us to remain in the field with
the buffalo and working on the policy front to prevent
the slaughter and protect these irreplaceable animals.
As we have for the past ten years, BFC will continue
to share firsthand accounts, video footage, and still
photographs, and to build a powerful grassroots movement
to permanently protect the Yellowstone population.
Last spring, with the dedicated action of our network
of supporters, we were able to keep the agencies from
slaughtering a herd of 300 bison, including newborn
calves. With your continued support our focus can remain
where it belongs, on protecting these amazing animals
and their habitat.
You can make a tax-deductible donation online via our
secure server by clicking on this link: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=1807.
You can also send your support through the mail: Buffalo
Field Campaign, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
Thank you for helping us protect the buffalo!
Buffalo Field Campaign
* Buffalo in the News
12/6 - State and federal agencies predict busy winter
for bison management, NewWest.Net
* Last Words
"Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation
for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget
and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after
all a mere part of the Creation."
~ Oren Lyons, Onondaga