* Update from the Field
This family group of buffalo has been heavily targeted by hunters over the past few weeks. BFC patrols recently observed them grazing inside Yellowstone National Park, where they cannot be killed by hunters. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Five more of America's last wild buffalo have been killed by state and treaty hunters since our last writing. In the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone, the family group who has lost so many of its members in the past few weeks to hunters had a young bull shot on Friday. When BFC spoke with the hunting party they were very open to our message. A few in the party later approached us to ask questions and when we told them about the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) and the hazing, capture and slaughter conducted in it's name, they were taken aback. They didn't know this was happening even though every person that draws a buffalo tag from the state of Montana must take a buffalo orientation course provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). FWP is responsible for wildlife management in Montana and also a signatory to the IBMP. BFC has reviewed FWP's orientation DVD, which paints an incomplete picture of wild bison that some hunters mistakenly trust. If all hunters took the time to learn the truth they would realize how they are being used by Montana in their wild buffalo extermination program.
Two bald eagles and a raven wait for BFC patrols to leave before they, and scores of other ravens, continue to feed on the remains of wild buffalo shot this week. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
In the Gardiner Basin, north of Yellowstone, hunters had been seen scouting for buffalo to harvest, but not finding any in the hunt zone. On Monday, a family group migrated across the area north of Yellowstone's Roosevelt Arch toward the Stephens Creek buffalo trap, where buffalo find very little grass. We feared either the trap or the bullet would be their fate. Treaty hunters were waiting for these buffalo to cross the Park boundary. On Tuesday morning, they did. Stepping onto a strip of Gallatin National Forest land called Beattie Gulch, only a few hundred yards wide, three were killed, sending most of the remaining buffalo south into Yellowstone again. One bull buffalo that remained in the area was shot the following day by a state hunter on the same small strip of land just across Yellowstone's border.
Many state and treaty hunters seem to have very little knowledge or understanding of the endangered status of wild buffalo, their lack of access to available habitat, and the nefarious management actions carried out under the IBMP -- mainly because they are not being told. This demonstrates a gross negligence on the part of those officials representing buffalo hunting as a "viable" management option. It also strongly underscores the importance of BFC's presence in the field during the hunt and our outreach and conversations with those who come to hunt wild buffalo. Ultimately, it the responsibility of hunters to thoroughly educate themselves about the animals they choose to hunt and to not accept the words of government officials as undisputed fact. Wild buffalo represent the sovereignty of the land herself and the pulse of the country. They are in seriously dire straights. In the timeless words of Ed Abbey, "a patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government."
Jimmy St. Goddard, Sacred Paint Gatherer of the Blackfeet Nation, and his family stayed with us last week on their way to Washington, D.C. for President Obama's inauguration and Congressional meetings. Hearing of the buffalo that had been recently killed, Jimmy asked that we sprinkle sage or tobacco on the kill sites. "There is power there, the buffalo spirits are still there walking around," he said. And along with every other effort, by offering these tokens in prayer to fallen buffalo, we help open a door for the buffalo to return again.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Send a Valentine and Show Your Buffalove!
View and order now!
With Valentine's Day only three weeks 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 this special card now!
This year's Valentine is hand-drawn by the talented artist and dedicated BFC supporter Kathleen Stachowski (visit her awesome website here www.OtherNationsJustice.org).
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
* Introducing "The Buffalo Field Campaign Show" Podcast!
This week, BFC and longtime BFC family member Kim Acheson launched the first ever BFC podcast, "The Buffalo Field Campaign Show." Hosted by Kim, this thirty-minute BFC radio program will come to you every other week and will feature interviews with different BFC staff and volunteers, highlighting critical aspects of the buffalo issue and our campaign.
Listen, subscribe and share!
We are very excited about this new program! If you have any ideas on things you'd like to hear us discuss, please them to Stephany.
* TAKE ACTION! Stop Yellowstone's Planned Bison Slaughter Before it Starts!
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 2014 Submissions
A few 2013 calendars are still left. ORDER NOW and don't miss a single month!
2014 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 contributions 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 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 Items: Binoculars & Field Volunteers
A BFC volunteer looks deep into Yellowstone, seeking wild buffalo within an important migratory route. The binos she's using are older than the Campaign itself! They have served us well, but are now blind in one eye. Good optics are critical for accurate information gathering and are this week's featured Wish List item. BFC file photo by Peter. Click photo for larger image.
When we head out the door in the morning, there are a few vital pieces of gear that we always take with us. One of those items is a pair of binoculars. Our current collection of binoculars is in need of refreshing, as many of the pairs we have now are in rough shape. Good binos are critical for gathering the information we need, when at a distance. We are currently asking for outdoor optics, specifically waterproof and multi-coated. Some suggested types include compact and full-size high-resolution binoculars, water- and fog-proof, 7-10x 35-70mm magnification. All donations are tax deductible.
Please contact our gear coordinator with any questions about these important optics.
Check our complete Wish List for other important items that helps keep BFC running!
In addition to optics, we also need volunteers to help us make use of them. This is the time of year that the buffalo are being hunted and we could use passionate hard-working individuals in the field. If you are interested, please contact our volunteer coordinator. Learn more about volunteering with BFC.
* By the Numbers
The last wild buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 68
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 8
Treaty Hunts: 58
Unknown Hunt: 1
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality: 1
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,074
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway mortality
* Buffalo Inspired Last Words
"Imported cattle more than a century ago initially introduced brucellosis to wild animals. It's largely been eradicated in livestock, but ranchers fear that infected bison would transmit it to their herds. It's been only after recent wildlife/cattle transmissions that officials realized that perhaps the disease was coming from elk, not bison."
~ Eve Byron, reporter for the Helena Independent Record. From her January 11, 2013 article "FWP OKs First Policy on Brucellosis in Elk," which was picked up by the Montana-based Billings Gazette.
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!