song of mountain bluebirds is in the air, and tracks
of the mighty bison are upon the land once again. After
a long winter without the buffalo in Montana, the unspoken
question hung in the air: would the buffalo return this
year? Wild forces prevail, and on the Vernal Equinox
the steady, determined footsteps of approximately fifty
buffalo made their way down the Madison River corridor,
out to their calving grounds on Horse Butte, heralding
the season of rebirth. The buffalo's return has raised
the spirits of everyone at camp. The energy is palpable,
and we are once again running full patrols and basking
in the presence of these prehistoric wonders.
Of course, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL)
also knows the buffalo are here and local DOL agent
Shane Grube is keeping a watchful eye on every move
they make. Change is afoot, however, and right now the
buffalo on Horse Butte are being left alone. In December,
as a direct result of your persistence, the Interagency
Bison Management Plan agencies signed a new Adaptive
Management Plan which states that an unlimited number
of buffalo are allowed to occupy Horse Butte until May
15th, with other agency-defined numbers of buffalo "tolerated"
on lands north and south of the Madison River. The new
rules don't respond to the natural movements or behavior
of wild buffalo, so the agents, by drawing more lines
in the sand have set them up to fail. Simply crossing
a creek or river, or having one too many buffalo in
a group could trigger severe management actions against
them. Further, everything is up to the discretion of
Montana's State Vet, who could decide at any time to
scrap the minimal tolerance. So we are, as always, monitoring
the buffalo's migration and watching every move the
agents make to ensure that they uphold this new "tolerance"
they've agreed to, while we continue to push for the
buffalo's right to make their own decisions. But, at
the moment, according to the agency's new plan, the
buffalo on Horse Butte are immune to agency action.
Family groups with multiple generations are enjoying
the fresh spring shoots of grass they've waited for
all winter. Buffalo of all ages, including expectant
mothers, are taking in the warmth of the waxing sun
and the goodness of nutritional spring grasses, and
whether or not they know it, they have put a bright
gleam in our eyes and quickened the beating of our hearts.
P.S. Here's a glimpse of the return of the buffalo to
grazing on Horse Butte
the land complete
couple of young bulls close by
* Volunteers Needed on the Front Lines with
With the buffalo's migration finally underway, we are
in need of volunteers for both spring and summer. If
you've ever wanted to experience the splendor of the
Yellowstone Ecosystem, this is the way to do it! Whether
joining us on the front lines for the first time or
as a returning volunteer, we need you! BFC is looking
for folks for our spring field season and for summer
the summer months when volunteers run our outreach tables
in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. There
are many ways to plug in at BFC: in the field, in our
offices, and around the property -- opportunities abound,
and any skills you bring we can put to good use. Help
bear witness and strengthen the voice for wild buffalo.
It is especially helpful if you have a valid drivers
license and can drive a standard. BFC provides room,
board, and training and we can outfit you with necessary
If you are interested in volunteering this spring field
season, please contact Brock or Will, our volunteer
coordinators, at volunteer"at"buffalofieldcampaign.org
or call 406-646-0070.
People interested in volunteering for our summer campaign
should contact Mike at mease"at"wildrockies.org
or call 406-646-0070. See you in West Yellowstone with
the last of the last wild buffalo!
* Mother's Day Cards in Support of Buffalo Field
Mother's Day is a perfect time to reflect on the Earth
we intend to leave to future generations. Will we "see
beyond our own time" to ensure that wild bison
roam free? That our children's children and grandkids
will marvel-as we do-at these magnificent wild creatures?
This is what Buffalo Field Campaign works for, with
your generous support. This year, our popular Mother's
Day card features a hand-drawn (and reproduced) original
copied from a smaller, accompanying photo of mom and
baby in Yellowstone. Our card is appropriate for all
the nurturing relationships you'd like to honor with
a gift to BFC.
The deadline for orders is April 22, 2009.
A minimum donation of $15 is requested for each card
you wish to send.
TODAY! Or send a check or money order (no cash,
please) to: BFC / PO Box 957 / West Yellowstone, MT
* Bluegrass & Beyond! Benefit for BFC
Come to Bozeman, Montana and boogie down with us for
the buffalo! BFC volunteer Art Brown, together with
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, has put in a tremendous amount
of effort to organize "Bluegrass & Beyond"
a benefit for Buffalo Field Campaign. This fun-filled
event with incredible local bands is bound to inspire
you to cut a rug and help the buffalo while you do.
US SPREAD THE WORD by downloading a flyer that you can
reproduce and post around town:
Our thanks and appreciation go to Buffalo Allies of
Bozeman who are co-sponsoring this special event, and
to all the bands and musicians who are making this possible.
Many thanks also go to the Pour House for providing
the space for this event. There is no cover charge for
this event, so donations are most welcome. Please bring
* Last Words
the ancients say
this land was free
and we shared it all
with the mountains and the sea
the birds and the trees
we lived in peace
before those others came
and built fences
by cutting the trees
by cutting the earth
removed her blood
the oil that lies within
formed long ago
who lived in peace
the birds sang less
without the trees
the land became dry
without the birds
to plant the flowers
and we too became quiet
watching our mountains die
listening for the birds
that no longer flew ...
but still we lived in peace
what sustained us
through all those years?
the nights of silence
and the songs of the frogs
for we know
as the ancients said
this land will again be free
and we will again share it all
with the mountains and the sea
the birds and the trees
for we still live in peace
and we wish you the same
for we are all one"
Inspired by the Bribri, Indigenous Costa Ricans
* Kill Tally
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population
in the U.S.
2008-2009 Total: 2
2008-2009 Slaughter: 0
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 1
2007-2008 Total: 1,616
Total Since 2000: 3,683*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts