Final Push to Veto Bills, New Video, Hazing Begins
* TAKE ACTION! Anti-Buffalo Bills Remain Alive, Put Veto Pressure on Governor Bullock
* NEW BFC Video! 41 Resist: Wild Buffalo Migration Memory Can't Be Killed
* Update from the Field
* Celebrate Mother's Day with Handcrafted Cards from BFC
* Volunteers Wanted!
* BFC Wish List Feature Items: New Refrigerator and... Coffee!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration
* TAKE ACTION! Anti-Buffalo Bills Remain Alive,
Put Veto Pressure on Governor Bullock
Thankfully, the 2013 Montana Legislature will come to an end on Saturday, April 27. Buffalo Field Campaign is grateful for all of the work you have done to kill a slew of anti-buffalo bills promoted by the Montana Stockgrowers, Montana Farm Bureau, and other anti-buffalo lobbies who remain well represented in the legislature. Your help and action are still needed to put SB 256 and SB 305 into the trash bin of this anti-wildlife legislative session.
HB 328 was signed into law by Gov. Bullock. This bill repeals Montana's 'fair-chase' hunt of migratory buffalo by permitting state officials to identify "the actual physical location" of buffalo to be shot by hunters. According to department testimony, repealing the prohibition conforms to an informal policy adopted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks of disclosing such information to Treaty Tribe hunters.
HB 396 was vetoed by Gov. Bullock who explained in his veto remarks that the bill "sets a dangerous precedent by transferring authority for management · of the state's wildlife · to be parsed out in a confusing manner among 56 counties and along arbitrary political boundaries that have little to do with how fish and wildlife are present on or utilize the landscape." How true! We look forward to the day when our last migratory herd of buffalo is managed with this philosophy in mind.
Two more anti-buffalo bills SB 256 and SB 305 are headed for Gov. Bullock's desk and we encourage you to contact him to veto those bills once and for all!
SB 256 revives county commissioner approval for reintroducing buffalo as wildlife in the state and would undo long-standing court precedent by establishing public liability for reintroduced buffalo - an act that would require Montana taxpayers to pay for claims of private property damage or public safety injury. SB 305 is a devious attempt to redefine wild buffalo in a manner that would strip wild buffalo of their legal status as native wildlife.
Please contact Governor Steve Bullock today and ask him not to compromise and veto SB 256 and SB 305. Thank you!
41 Resisters: Wild Buffalo Migration Memory Can't Be Killed
On Friday, April 12, 2012 the Montana Dept. of Livestock found out about a wild bull bison that had migrated deeper into his ancestral lands, but out of Montana's "tolerance zone." They killed him, trying to kill the buffalo's migratory memory. Two days later, forty-one buffalo caught his scent trail, and after being harassed by the government, they headed up towards Dome Mountain where the bull was shot. No bullets can erase this ancestral memory.
Last week we let you know about a lone bull who was tracked down by five state and federal agents. He was shot and left to rot in the Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) claims that killing the bull will kill the migration memory. People are outraged at this waste and the media is still covering the issue. This video shows how little the DOL knows about wild buffalo and tells the story of what happened next.
One of the newest additions to America's last wild buffalo populations! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Buffalo Field Campaign has been celebrating the coming of a few more wild baby buffalo, and we've seen many pregnant buffalo who look like they could give birth any minute. Soon, the chocolaty brown herds will be sprinkled with tiny red calves. The next generation of wild buffalo is coming!
A buffalo group with a brand new baby stroll west down US Highway 287. BFC volunteer David sets up signs for the buffalo, warning traffic. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
BFC patrols have been busy, day and night, along Highway 191 and 287, monitoring groups of buffalo who are spending time near these highways. Thankfully, no wild buffalo have been struck by vehicles recently. We have also been busy documenting hazing operations, government actions of intolerance, which began after our last Update.
An unusual group of eight young bulls were hazed down US Hwy 20 on icy roads. ATVs chase them down the Gallatin National Forest Madison Arm Road on ATVs, which is currently closed to wheeled vehicles. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click photos for larger image.
This past week, several groups of wild buffalo were chased off of their chosen ground in the Denny Creek area, near the South Fork of the Madison River, south of Horse Butte in the Hebgen Basin.
Six different government hazing operations were conducted this past week. Agents forced wild buffalo off of critical habitat with ATVs and explosive cracker rounds. Agents participating in these hazes included Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) inspectors Bridger Cunningham and Mark Anderson and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks warden Jim Smolzynski. Buffalo usually return to these lands shortly after the agents leave. This area is terrific habitat for all kinds of wildlife, including the federally protected threatened grizzly bear, whose sign BFC patrols have been documenting. While Montana forbids wild buffalo access here, even on public lands, this never stops the buffalo from trying.
Even on Earth Day wild buffalo didn't get a break. Two different hazing operations were conducted. The bull group mentioned above and the family group shown here, which included a brand new baby buffalo. This little guy had a terrible introduction to the abusive nature of humans.
In the Gardiner Basin, the same group of wild buffalo shown in BFC's new video were hazed again the next day, after following the slain bull's scent trail. Members of this same herd and an additional 20 buffalo were again hazed on Tuesday, though they were still within the "tolerance zone" and should have been left alone. Conducting the haze was a DOL agent on an ATV and an FWP agent on horseback. The FWP agent was bucked off of his horse after an aggravated buffalo bluff-charged them. The operation was abandoned right at the boundary of Yellowstone National Park. While we advocate for it to cease entirely, hazing in the Gardiner Basin is not supposed to occur until May 1st.
And so spring "hazing season" has begun. We rise before the dawn and take our rest very late, standing with America's last wild buffalo on their chosen ground, documenting all actions made against them. The coming weeks are going to be tough for BFC volunteers, but more importantly, for wild buffalo. With persistence, resistance and endurance, wild buffalo adhere to their ancient Earth-given rights and traditions in the face of difficult obstacles of oppression.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Celebrate Mother's Day with Handcrafted Cards from BFC
Click on image to view card and to order!
Kathleen Stachowski, our talented and generous card-maker, has committed to hand-crafting a limited number of Mother's Day cards! This year year's card features Walt Whitman's words, "Peace is always beautiful" and a hand-drawn scene of a mountain bluebird face-to-face with a baby buffalo. For your minimum donation of $15 per card, we'll send one to the recipient(s) of your choice, timed to arrive before Mother's Day.
Deadline for ordering cards is Sunday, May 5. No orders will be accepted after this date.
Your purchase of a Mother's Day card enables Buffalo Field Campaign to continue fighting for wild bison and their rightful place on the land.
* Volunteers Wanted!
We have immediate openings for field volunteers to help with our front-lines patrols now through June. We are also seeking summer volunteers who can help us conduct outreach and education, representing BFC and the buffalo to Yellowstone visitors at our new Bison Museum in West Yellowstone. If you are interested, passionate, and hard-working, please email our Volunteer Coordinator.
For more information about volunteering with BFC visit this page or click the Volunteer button above.
*BFC Wish List Featured Items: New Refrigerator and.... Coffee!
Our current refrigerator has served us for many, many years but is now on the brink of exhaustion, and we are sorely in need of a new one. Please assist in the replacement purchase of a NEW, on sale, commercial stand-up Refrigerator. $1000 will enable us to purchase a new refrigerator and pay for the disposal of our old one. Assisting in this purchase of an energy-efficient refrigerator will ensure better longevity for fresh produce, provide better storage, and solve sanitation concerns by ensuring a constant temperature and moisture drainage. Thank you in advance for your contribution!
With the waxing sun, Buffalo Field Campaign patrols are waking up earlier and staying in the field later -- sometimes all night long -- to stand with America's last wild Buffalo and bear witness to the government harassment of these ancient majestic creatures. Patrols are in the field with the buffalo from sunrise to sunset, and with the days becoming increasingly longer, our supply of coffee has dwindled to just a few remaining beans. If you or someone you know would like to assure the alertness of Buffalo Field Campaign's field patrols, please consider donating coffee. Please. This is very important, we NEED coffee!
The last wild buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,200 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
Total Buffalo Killed: 256
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 25
Treaty Hunts: 218
Unknown Hunts: 5
Shot by Agents: 1
Highway Mortality: 7
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,250
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Edward Abbey
"The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies-and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West."
~ Edward Abbey
Please send us your submissions to Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!