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           Weekly Update from the Field March 31, 2013
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Wild Buffalo Harassed Near West Yellowstone‏
* TAKE ACTION! One Last Thrust to Urge Bullock's Veto Power!
* Update from the Field
* Media Still Covering Killing of Lone Bull Buffalo
* Celebrate Mother's Day with Handcrafted Cards from BFC
* Announcing BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!
* Volunteers Wanted!
* BFC Wish List Feature Items: Flashlights for Buffalo Crossings and... Coffee!
* Job Opportunity: Legal and Field Internship for Fall and Summer 2013
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration

* TAKE ACTION! One Last Thrust to Urge Gov. Bullock's Veto Power

Charge into action for the buffalo! BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Thankfully, the 2013 Montana legislative session is now over. Governor Steve Bullock still has a few days left in which he can veto the last two anti-buffalo bills, or sign them into law. If he takes no action, these bills will become law! Please contact Governor Steve Bullock today and ask him not to compromise our wild buffalo and veto SB 256 and SB 305. SB 256 which would legislatively undo a long standing Montana Supreme Court precedent that wildlife does not belong to any owner by making the state liable for any private property damage or public safety hazard caused by reintroduced buffalo. Under SB 305, any buffalo reintroduced or reduced to some form of captivity would not be treated under the law as wild buffalo in Montana. Thank you!

* Update from the Field

A baby buffalo watches his admirers, safe close to his mom. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

Buffalo Field Campaign patrols are seeing the gift of new buffalo calves nearly every day. It is amazing to watch a family group and to see the big, round bellies of pregnant buffalo, knowing they will soon give birth, then, days or hours later, to see the wee red calves next to their proud and protective mothers. A buffalo calf is afforded not only the uncompromising protection of her mother, but of the whole family. There is little that can penetrate the wooly walls of security, yet when the herd is threatened, all must flee, and the little legs of the brand new buffalo babies must give their all to keep up. Such has been the introduction to life for some wild buffalo calves, as government hazing activities have continued near West Yellowstone in the choice habitat of the Denny Creek area.

A family group of buffalo is chased off of their habitat by Department of Livestock agents. The baby buffalo on the far left will do everything to keep up, and her mom was mostly successful in keeping the rest of the herd between her and the pursuing agents. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

On Tuesday, wild buffalo challenged Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) inspectors with their presence here, a place that is perfectly suitable for wild buffalo, save for the intolerance of a couple of property owners who currently host no livestock. Nearly eighty buffalo--mostly family groups with new calves and pregnant buffalo--dotted the landscape. When DOL inspector Bridger Cunningham found them there, he called for reinforcements, stating that they "had a wreck" on their hands. DOL inspector Mark Anderson eventually joined him. They mounted up and began to chase the buffalo. A couple hours later, DOL inspector Jeff Bowers and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) warden Jim Smolzynski joined in the chase.

In the first photo, DOL agents chase buffalo across the South Fork of the Madison River, the moms and calves ahead of the group and out of the picture. The second photo shows an FWP warden hazing buffalo down the Madison Arm Road of Gallatin National Forest. Both photos are from Tuesday's hazing operation. BFC file photos by Cindy. Click photos for larger image.

Not a few buffalo resisted this abuse, momentarily escaping the agents. BFC was not the only media group bearing witness either; we were joined by France 2 (image), a French TV station covering the issue. By day's end, wild buffalo had been shoved around, along fences, through housing areas, wetlands and creeks, and onto Gallatin National Forest for a number of miles. By Wednesday morning, most buffalo had returned to Denny Creek.

Wednesday morning, buffalo had already returned to the place they'd been chased from, and agents came back to harass them all over again. BFC file photo by Christy. Click photo for larger image.

The vexing games began again Wednesday morning. More government employees were called in to assist with the DOL's forced removal of wild bison. BFC volunteers reported riders representing the DOL, FWP, Yellowstone National Park (YNP), and USDA-Animal & Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), along with law enforcement officers with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. Through the heart of threatened grizzly bear (image) habitat government agents yelled at wild bison as they chased them into stampedes through the fields, streams and forests. From start to finish, seven hours and eight miles later, the riders finally ended the haze and left the exhausted and annoyed buffalo to themselves. The buffalo, of course, are already starting to head back again. This is the tip of the bison abuse iceberg here in the Hebgen Basin. Soon, taxpayer funded industrial strength buffalo mismanagement will commence, forcing all wild buffalo out of their native Montana, into Yellowstone National Park just in time for the summer tourist season to begin.

Bull bison try to lose their DOL harassers. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

In the Gardiner Basin the landscape has been saying its farewells to her beneficial buffalo, as they make their own way south into the Park's interior. Eight mature bulls that had been spread out east of the Yellowstone River were hazed by the government late last week. The bulls are supposed to be allowed in this area, but likely the agents fear that they, like the forty-one resisters we mentioned last week, would follow the scent trail of the lone bull that the DOL shot and left to rot on Dome Mountain. The media has continued to cover this reprehensible action and the DOL is still receiving some well-earned bad press. See below for links to recent news articles.

Co-existence with wild buffalo is both beneficial and rewarding. The buffalo shown here came from far across a pasture with about twenty others to greet us early in the morning. It was a gift we won't forget. No danger, no fear, only gentle curiosity and friendship. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

So many of the buffalo suffering these abusive government operations have been experiencing such maltreatment their entire lives, since they, too, were wee calves. Their experience of humans has been a confusing juxtaposition between tourists who cherish and adore them, and those who want to abuse and kill them. It is our intent that this next generation of wild buffalo will grow to be truly wild and free, the man-made lines in the sand erased before they reach maturity. With your continued support, we can make this a reality.

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
~ Stephany

* Media Still Covering the DOL's Killing of Lone Bull

More news stories and letters to the editor have been published, focusing attention on the malicious yet cowardly actions of the Montana Department of Livestock. Below are two links of interest and another viewing of BFC's video, "41 Resisters: Wild Bison Migration Memory Can't Be Killed."

Click image to watch BFC's video.

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Buffalo Field Campaign 4/24/13

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.

Letter to the Editor: MacKay's bison slaughter and outrageous and illegal act
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Bison Bull: Ranch killing raises bison management questions*
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

*Note: BFC spoke at length with the reporter, who had been inspired to do a story after seeing our video.
The editors, unfortunately, decided to cut BFC out of the article.

* Celebrate Mother's Day with Handcrafted Cards from BFC

Click image to order now!

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12 and Kathleen Stachowski, our talented and generous card-maker, has committed to hand-crafting a limited number of Mother's Day cards for the occasion! This 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.

The Deadline for ordering cards is Sunday, May 5. No orders will be accepted after this date.

VIEW CARD AND ORDER NOW: or send a $15 check or money order (no cash please) to: Buffalo Field Campaign, PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.

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.

*Announcing BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!

Buffalo Field Campaign is pleased to announce that we are making a transition this summer from tabling inside Yellowstone National Park to opening a Free Buffalo Museum just outside the west entrance, in the town of West Yellowstone. The museum will take you on an incredible buffalo journey, through their storied history and amazing natural lives to their current plight and the efforts of the people standing in their defense. The museum will showcase photos, artwork, images, and video, as well as buffalo items you can touch, plus BFC merchandise. Standing guard and welcoming all will be our ever-popular Buffaloon, a gigantic inflatable buffalo, who will lead the way to BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!

You can help make this museum the best it can be! We are looking for a few items to showcase, items of cultural and practical significance such as (but not limited to):

War shields made of buffalo hump
Buffalo hide paintings
Buffalo horn spoon
Buffalo jawbone warclub

If you have any related items that you'd be willing to allow us to showcase in our Free Buffalo Museum, please contact Mike Mease at by email or 406-646-0070. Thanks and see you there!

* 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 Free Buffalo 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.

* Job Opportunity: Legal and Field Internship for Fall and Summer 2013

BFC and ally Western Watersheds Project is seeking a legal and field intern who can help with reviewing project files and documenting conditions in the field for several Forest Service grazing allotments in the West Yellowstone and Gardiner Basin areas, and creating legal documents. Learn more...

*BFC Wish List Featured Items: Flashlights for Buffalo Crossings and.... Coffee!

One of the challenges wild buffalo face during their migration is contact with US Highways 191 and 287. Buffalo Field Campaign monitors these highways morning through night, putting up warning signs and taking other action to help reduce the chance of bison/vehicle collisions. Seven wild buffalo have been killed along these roads this year, all at night. Bison are extremely hard to see at night, so BFC is out there to be visible for them! We are in need of high-powered flashlights to aid us in this task. We have glow-cones that attach to flashlights which we use at night when standing along he highways with our "stop/slow" paddles. We are in need of a specific type of "MagLite" costing $35 that works with our glow-cones and we need a total of four. If you would like to help us purchase these items, please mark your donation for "Safe Passage" to ensure it goes to the appropriate budget. Watch a BFC video about our efforts as wild buffalo crossing guards. Thank you all so much for helping to keep us, the buffalo, and travelers safe on these dangerous highways!

~ Rain
Gear Coordinator

Thank you so much to all BFC supporters for the speedy response in heed of our call for coffee donations!
This strong outpouring of support from all over the country is greatly appreciated. Only with the help of friends like you can we look forward to waking up each day with a hot cup of coffee before heading out into the field from sunrise to sunset in defense of America's last wild Buffalo. 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!

~ Kasi
Office Coordinator

Thanks for your support!

View other items on BFC's Wish List. All donations in-kind and monetary are tax deductible.

*By the Numbers

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
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
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
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,250

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths

*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration

"You delivered a slap in the face to all those folks who don't view bison as vermin. Maybe that was your point. But you killed an animal and left it to rot on the ground. We don't do that around here."

~ Parker Heinlein, outdoor columnist for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Addressing Montana Department of Livestock executive director Christian MacKay in his editorial, "We don't do that around here," about the lone bull buffalo shot on Dome Mountain. The excellent editorial, published April 26, is still not available online.

Please send us your submissions to Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!


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Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
BFC is the only group working in the field every day in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone Montana
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