* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
Many bright blessings to all of you for the Winter Holidays!!
We wish we had brighter news to report. Eight more of
the last wild buffalo in the U.S. have been killed this
week in the hunt, bringing the current death toll to
Patrols in Gardiner reported that a bull was killed
by a woman from Kalispell on Friday. Then, on Saturday,
a local outfitter, Bill Hoppe, infamous for being no
friend to wildlife, led a family of two young boys and
their parents to a buffalo in the Eagle Creek campground.
Hoppe and the hunters spooked the buffalo out of the
campground with their trucks and then the boys' mom
shot the bull. That same day, two local hunters arrived
and shot the companion of the old bull we reported was
killed last week.
The bull who was harassed by Yellowstone National Park
rangers last week was spotted again on the football
field at the Gardiner school on Friday. Patrols say
that he's not looking so good and his ribs are showing.
Last week's hazing was no favor to that bull. Yesterday
was the last patrols saw of him and it's questionable
as to whether or not he'll make it through the winter.
If the Park Service hazes him again, forcing him to
use up essential energy reserves, his chances of survival
are very slim.
Wolves and coyotes are also having a very hard time
in Gardiner. Patrols have found the carcasses of three
coyotes that have been killed just for being coyotes.
Last week, one of them was found disgracefully draped
over a street sign. The other two were found the other
day, shot and left for dead. Meanwhile, up the road
near the Corwin Springs bison "quarantine"
facility, a wolf sick with mange has been seen by patrols
and he's slowly getting worse. Magpies are now accompanying
him. Gardiner, while a meca for wildlife, can be a very
difficult place to be a wild creature. Teeming with
buffalo, deer, elk, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves,
bears, eagles, ravens, bighorns and more, North America's
largest wildlife migration corridor also harbors a human
element that thrives on killing wild creatures. Sadly,
rather than respecting the amazing abundance and beauty
of the place they have chosen to call home, wanton killing
seems to be a past time for some human residents.
Here in West Yellowstone buffalo are on the move. On
Saturday, however, four bulls were stopped dead in their
tracks after hunters from the Salish-Kootenai tribes
shot them just a few yards off the side of highway 191.
Yesterday a buffalo was shot on the south side of the
Madison River by a Montana buffalo tag holder.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks says that there are
enough buffalo out of the Park along the western boundary
now to "trigger" the issuance of additional
hunting tags. FWP will issue 10 cow/calf tags to state
hunters, and the same number will be split between the
Salish-Kootenai and the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce, however,
have not yet begun their hunt. We have also gotten word
that the Shoshone-Bannock intend to exert their treaty
rights and plan to come hunt buffalo very soon.
Until today, we had been told that there was a strong
chance the Montana Department of Livestock was going
to shut down the hunt on the western boundary to haze
a large mixed group of buffalo from national forest
lands along the south side of the Madison River. Many
of you will recall the nightmare that followed when
the DOL shut the hunt down in January of 2006, and hazed
14 buffalo onto the ice of Hebgen Lake, causing them
to fall through and some to drown. Click HERE
to view footage and photos of the incident.
If buffalo move out of the area where they can be killed
by hunters, the DOL will chase them back into the Park,
yet the "trigger" would remain in place because,
as the agencies put it, the buffalo will just come right
back out again. Had the DOL decided to haze, the hunt
would have stayed on everywhere except for the south
side of the Madison River where the haze was to take
place. On one side of the river a hunt, the other size
a haze. It all results in the same thing - death and
harassment to the last wild buffalo. Thankfully, the
buffalo have since moved back east, so the haze, at
least, has been called off... for now.
What a wicked circus of mismanagement the buffalo suffer.
It does not have to be this way. As Mike Mease said
to the thousands who attended the Power to the Peaceful
festival this fall, we must become the change we want
to see in the world. So, turn up the volume, keep the
pressure firmly applied, boycott buffalo-unfriendly
beef, and demand that the last wild buffalo be set free
from the clutches of mad cowboy disease.
* Front Lines Volunteers Needed
It's nearing the end of December and the Bison hunt
is in full swing. We have several feet of dry powder
that is great for skiing and snowshoeing and our current
volunteers have been exploring vast tracts of land in
search of buffalo and other animals that we record in
our online database of wildlife observations.
Keeping track of wildlife sightings and monitoring bison
movements and the management actions that impact them
are crucial components of our work. We have immediate
openings for field volunteers to carry out this work.
BFC provides room, board, and training to those who
join us in this fun and effective work.
Now is a great time to explore the bison migration routes
both on the northern and western boundaries of Yellowstone
National Park and to play an active roll in the preservation
of this truly unique herd of American Buffalo or Bison.
If you are interested, please call or email us to find
out if Buffalo Field Campaign is right for you. Also
please check the volunteer
information on our web site and email us with additional
See you Soon!
Stuart T. 406-646-0070
* National Elk "Refuge" Bison Hunt
As the body count of Yellowstone bison killed by hunters
continues to increase, to the south, on the National
Elk Refuge, a recently concluded bison hunt resulted
in 222 dead bison. This hunt, the first conducted on
the NER in over a decade and only the second NER bison
hunt ever, was begun in September after the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and National Park Service finalized
its Jackson bison and elk management plan.
After years of supplementally feeding bison during winter
on the NER, the FWS decided to allow hunters to shoot
the very bison who have become accustomed to being fed
and protected on there. The FWS claims that the bison
are overpopulated and have damaged native vegetation
and harmed other wildlife species even though its own
analysis links most of the alleged adverse impacts to
the refuge's elk population (which is also supplementally
fed). Ironically, though the FWS concedes that its supplemental
feeding program was responsible for the growth in the
bison population, it chose to use hunters instead of
phasing out feeding to remedy its alleged "problem."
Alarmingly, the majority of federal and private scientists
who examined the NER feeding program, including USDA
scientists, recommended phasing out the NER feedground
program to address the serious disease transmission
threat that exists when large numbers of wildlife (elk
and bison) are concentrated together when fed. While
brucellosis is the primary disease affecting bison and
elk on the NER presently, most experts agree that it
is only a matter of time before far more serious diseases
(like chronic wasting disease) will become established
in the NER elk herd with deadly consequences that could
decimate the region's elk population. FWS studies and
analyses document significant benefits to phasing out
the NER feedground which, in time, would result in a
more natural density and distribution of bison and elk
in the region as their reliance on supplemental meals
dwindles and their winter distribution expands. Such
phasing out would significantly reduce existing and
future disease threats to the bison and elk populations.
Though the FWS concedes in its own internal analyses
the benefits of phasing out feeding both ecologically
and as required by its own regulations, it ignored its
own evidence when it decided to continue supplementally
feeding wildlife with virtually no guaranteed changes
to its operation.
Prior to the initiation of this year's hunt, BFC teamed
with the Animal Welfare Institute on a letter to the
FWS and Wyoming Game and Fish Department advising them
of the illegality of the hunt. As expected, the agencies
ignored the letter and their own laws and proceeded.
Unfortunately, because of discriminatory policies prohibiting
non-hunters from accessing the refuge as hunters are
allowed to do, BFC was not able to bear witness to and
document the NER bison hunt the way it does on public
lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Efforts
to reverse this discriminatory policy and to challenge
the legality of the bison hunt and broader Jackson bison
and elk management plan are in the works and will hopefully
come to fruition before NER bison are subject to a second
hunt next year.
In the interim, please let your voice be heard to calling,
writing, or e-mailing NER manager Steve Kallin, National
Elk Refuge, P.O. Box 510, Jackson, WY 83002; Telephone
(307) 733-9212 ext. 223; Telefax (307) 733-9729; E-mail
Many thanks to D.J. Schubert, wildlife biologist with
the Animal Welfare Institute, for providing this information.
To learn more about AWI visit http://www.awionline.org/.
* Crested Butte Ski Vacation Benefit Ebay Auction
Thanks to the generosity of a BFC supporter, Patagonia
outdoor clothing company, and several Crested Butte
businesses, BFC will again be auctioning off a week-long
Colorado ski trip. The ten day Ebay auction will run
between Friday, December 21 and Monday, December 31.
Retail value is $6250 and bidding will start at $3000.
100% of the proceeds will go to BFC. Preview the auction
by clicking here: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/auctions/crestedbutte.html
The winner of this auction will receive six nights of
lodging in a Gold-Plus rated, four-bedroom, 3-bath condominium
500 yards from the base of the Silver Queen ski lift;
eight free lift tickets courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain
Resort; $859 worth of Patagonia Ski Clothing including
three ski jackets and two pairs of gloves; a $100 gift
certificate to Marchitelli's Gourmet Noodle; a $35 gift
certificate to the Brick Oven Pizzeria; and $50 worth
of food from Mountain Earth Grocery. 100 percent of
the proceeds will go directly to the front-lines work
of Buffalo Field Campaign, the only group working in
the field to permanently protect the Yellowstone bison,
America's only continuously wild herd. http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/auctions/crestedbutte.html
* Energy-Efficient Hot Water Heater Needed
This week we experienced yet another minor disaster
in our main cabin, the hot water heater stopped working,
currently we are boiling water for dishes, but no one
is able to shower. Since purchasing the cabin we have
been slowly working on making it more energy efficient,
and the old hot water heater was one of the biggest
energy hogs in the place. We are hoping to be able to
upgrade to an energy efficient tankless propane hot
water heater. A donation of a hot water heater or funds
to purchase one would be most appreciated by our currently
showerless volunteers. If you can help, please contact
Fischburne at 406-646-0070 or reply to this email. Thanks.
* Photo of the Week
This photo of five beautiful, frosty bulls
in the Gardiner region was taken last week. Check out
the amazing profile of the only bull not grazing. Photo
by Darrell Geist, BFC's Habitat Coordinator.
* Last Words
"The livestock industry is the last wildlife-genocide
program in the United States."
~ Bruce Apple, range ecologist