* Update from the Field
A cow buffalo stands in a blizzard. Cow buffalo have been heavily impacted during bison hunts this year, and Yellowstone National Park intends to remove 400 from America's last wild population this year as well, through capture and slaughter. BFC file photo from 2008. Click photo for larger image.
Field patrols braved temperatures that dropped to -38 one day this week, and we've had many consecutive days where the day's high never even got close to zero. The Madison River is frozen here in the Hebgen Basin, a sight we've not seen for a number of years. When it gets this cold, I can't help but think about all the wildlife that must simply endure such temperatures. They have no warming fires, no choice but to seek whatever shelter the trees and mountains provide, and rely on their thick fur and body fat to keep from freezing. They are as much the seasons and elements as the elements and seasons themselves.
Unfortunately, the day before the extreme cold spell hit, a few state hunters were out and killed two cow buffalo. Sadly, the woods and riparian areas have been riddled with what now add up to sixty-two raven-ravaged gut piles.
Because of the fearless nature of bison, who evolved to stand and face their predators, there is no "fair chase" or even true "hunting" of wild buffalo. Though many have been killed by hunters this winter, a larger percentage of buffalo that have migrated into Montana have vacated this important habitat after having lost mothers, grandmothers, siblings, offspring and other family members. These buffalo are probably confused by the contrast in human behavior: in Yellowstone, cameras held by admirers are aimed at them but when they step into Montana they are met with rifle fire. Still incredibly vulnerable and no match for high-powered guns wielded by hunters riding snowmobiles, wild buffalo are not so much the sitting ducks they once were when "hunting" began north and west of Yellowstone's boundaries seven years ago. Buffalo that step into Montana are learning to be more elusive and many have been observed removing themselves from danger. Few, if any, buffalo currently inhabit the tiny spot of winter range allowed to them in the Hebgen Basin.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Send a Valentine and Show Your Buffalove!
Click image to view and order this beautiful, hand-crafted Valentine's Day card.
With Valentine's Day less than a month away, we wanted to offer you a way to send a special card to the recipient(s) of your choice. Your card will represent an investment in the wildest of wild bison-the Yellowstone-area population-and our ongoing work for their well-being and freedom. Can you imagine a more precious Valentine? View and order now!
This year's Valentine is hand-drawn by the talented artist and dedicated BFC supporter Kathleen Stachowski (visit her awesome website here).
The 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" card features an image of two bison standing face-to-face, forming a perfect heart with their bodies.
The inside sentiment reads:
" 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.'
A gentle, world-shaking gift has been made in your honor by ____________ to further the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. Happy Valentine's Day!"
The card also includes a few words on Buffalo Field Campaign's mission.
Please donate a minimum of $15 per card. The deadline for ordering is Monday, February 4. Please order early! Your card will be mailed to reach your Valentine by the 14th. To view the card and to order, click HERE or send a check or money order (no cash please) to the address below.
For the Buffalo,
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
* TAKE ACTION! Stop Yellowstone's Planned Bison Slaughter Before it Starts!
Send Yellowstone this important message: Stop your plans to slaughter! Let wild buffalo roam! BFC logo by Timm Kurtz. Click logo for larger image.
State, federal, and tribal governments -- including Yellowstone National Park --are aiming to kill hundreds of wild buffalo this winter through hunting, slaughter, or both. The agencies state that they want to "even the sex ratio" and have placed a heavy target on female buffalo, wanting to kill at least 400 and another 50 bulls.
Yellowstone National Park states that a "skewed sex ratio" has resulted from years of capture and slaughter operations, which have removed more bulls than cows from the population. In other words the government is saying they will slaughter more buffalo to mitigate the impact of having slaughtered so many buffalo.
to stop Yellowstone's plans to slaughter before it starts!
to help BFC prevent the slaughter of these 400 buffalo Mammas.
* BFC's Wild Bison Calendars: 2013 Still Available, Taking Submissions for 2014
Start 2013 with a Wild Bison Calendar! A few still left - ORDER NOW!
2014 Photo and Art Submissions Wanted! BFC is getting ready to create our next Wild Bison Calendar! We are now accepting photos and art submissions for 2014. Bison quotes, poetry and interesting facts are also being accepted. We aim to go to print a few months earlier than usual, so please send us your 2014 Wild Bison Calendar submissions as soon as possible!
Submission Requirements: To meet the image size and quality of our calendar printing, photos must be high-resolution, digital images of wild buffalo of the Yellowstone area in their natural habitat (no roads, signs, people, etc. in the shot please). Photos must be at least 12.25" wide x 8.25 tall at 300 pixels per inch. Approx. a 35mb file. (This requires a 10mb camera or larger.). Please submit your raw files whenever possible. We strongly prefer your images to not be color corrected. Adjusting color in images for four color process printing is different than for other printing processes. Artists and photographers will be given full credit for any and all photos, art, images or original text. Deadline for submissions is Saturday, February 9, 2013.
Please email your photo submissions for BFC's Wild Bison 2014 Calendar to Stephany at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a disc of photos and/or art to BFC Wild Bison Calendar, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758. We can't wait to see your pictures and art!
* BFC Wish List Featured Item: Gaiters
The snow is here and we're getting more every day. To help keep our volunteers dry in the field, we need to have a supply of quality gaiters on hand. Gaiters help keep snow out of our boots, and our pant legs dry. Our current inventory is looking a bit low and in disrepair, so at this time we are asking for gaiters, especially large sizes that will fit well over pack boots and thick wool pants. View other items in BFC's Wish List.
Thank you so much for all of your support!
* By the Numbers
The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 63
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 6
Treaty Hunts: 55
Unknown Hunt: 1
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality: 1
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,069
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway mortality
* Buffalo Inspired Last Words
"Your work is sacred; you are doing something so important with your lives. Your human work for the animals is so wise.... The nature of your work is so rugged -- your spirits must be BIG! To witness the atrocities, I'm certain, is daunting, but because you "do" something, I'm certain your conviction deepens and the buffalo know -- Thank you for your courage to stand up against all odds -- you represent the best of our species. 'Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.' (Edward Abbey)
Three deep bows to your nature."
~ John Malloy
BFC Supporter and Director of the California American Indian 500 Mile Spiritual Marathon Relay
"Protecting Sacred Sites"
If anyone has submissions for Last Words just send them to us. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending! Keep them coming!