*Update from the Field: DOL Kills Two Bull Buffalo
BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
After spending week after week harassing hundreds of wild bison from their chosen ground repeatedly, abusive actions that have continued to take place every day this week, the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) yesterday deemed two bull buffalo "unhazeable" and shot them both. Unhazeable means the bulls didn't respond with enough fear as the livestock agents thought they should. They stood up for themselves and the ground they wanted to be on. They didn't have families with young to defend, and with only themselves to protect, bulls typically don't accept being pushed around so easily. That is the nature of bull buffalo; it is within their social makeup to be "unhazeable," or at least put up more of a fight to defend themselves. The DOL flippantly uses this term "unhazeable" as an excuse to kill the big burly boys every year. They have no reason, no justification for hazing or killing them. Bull buffalo pose zero brucellosis risk, and with any buffalo the risk is only theoretical. Unlike wild bison, elk have been blamed for transmitting brucellosis to cattle, yet they are free to roam the same landscape.
FWP game warden, Jim Smolzynski, made a minor attempt to haze these two bulls last week, and the DOL deemed them unhazeable so they could "justify" shooting them. When BFC approached the scene Wednesday, Smolzynski lied to our patrols saying that the DOL were just "checking out a few bulls they saw.... would probably keep hazing them until the cows came home." BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
Over the past few weeks, up to sixteen riders were here for days on end, carrying out the DOL's wild buffalo harassment operations in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Last week, patrols reported a single agent attempting to haze these same two bulls, and without really making any effort, he gave up right away. The point is, they didn't even try. They intended to come back and shoot these bulls. It's easy for them to just say they are unhazeable and then kill them. The agents viewed these bulls as an end-of-season trophy, a solid kill to reward themselves for weeks of hazing.
BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
The DOL stated in their press release that the bulls were in a "no tolerance zone," even though one of them was shot on Gallatin National forest -- our public land. The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) arranges the landscape in ecologically meaningless "zones." Zone 1 is Yellowstone National Park, Zone 2 is minimal Montana land where bison are hunted, Zone 3 is the rest of Planet Earth where these agencies forbid wild buffalo to migrate. Wild bison advocates have a better idea: scrap the zones and let wild buffalo stretch their migratory muscles. If a rancher wants to "cowboy up" on his ranch where there are actually cattle, and take responsibility for what's his, then let him fence his land. But the rest of the country -- the buffalo's country -- is not going to be off-limits to native wild buffalo!
TAKE ACTION! The killing of these bulls, and the ongoing abuse of America's last wild buffalo is totally indefensible and must end. Please let the Montana Department of Livestock (email@example.com) know what you think of their intolerant actions, and please urge Montana Governor Steve Bullock (firstname.lastname@example.org) to designate critically important habitat for bison in Montana, allowing bison to migrate outside of these arbitrary zones dictated by the Interagency Bison Management Plan. We also ask that if you live in or are visiting Montana or Yellowstone, please boycott Montana beef and let the businesses know why.
Wild is the Way~ Roam Free!
* OPEN! BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!
Design by BFC's Cindy Rosin. Click for larger image.
BFC's Free Buffalo Museum is now OPEN! We are located just outside Yellowstone National Park's west entrance, in the town of West Yellowstone, at 128 Firehole #2. The museum will take visitors 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. Please visit us or call for more information: 406-646-6445. BFC's Free Buffalo Museum is open daily from noon until 8pm.
A little glimpse into BFC's Free Buffalo Museum! BFC file photos by Bruce. Click for larger images.
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 war club
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 email@example.com or 406-646-0070. Thanks and see you there!
* 2014 Wild Bison Calendars are Here!
Click on the image for a larger view and click here to order now!
We are thrilled to announce that our 2014 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendars are now available! This is the fourth year we've had the honor of working with a variety of buffalo advocates through their photographs, art, and words, to bring together a wonderful calendar that educates, inspires, and truly celebrates wild buffalo 365 days a year! Familiar and new artists and photographers are featured this year, and their fantastic work demonstrates their deep love of these gentle giants, and it is clear that the buffalo have touched their very souls. These calendars are great for your home or office, and make really fantastic gifts.
*Buffalo in the Media
Two bison killed in Montana after hazing efforts fail
Billings Gazette, June 6, 2013
Bison death could provide lesson
Helena Independent Record, June 5,2013
NOTE: We would totally agree if migration corridors are protected that allow the Yellowstone herds to access other lands on their own four hooves!
Brucellosis found in two elk in the Bighorn Mountains
Billings Gazette, May 30, 2013
* Volunteers Wanted!
We have immediate openings summer volunteers who can help us conduct outreach and education, representing BFC and the buffalo to Yellowstone visitors in 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
APPLY BY JUNE 10, 2013! Work with BFC and Western Watersheds Project to gain valuable experience working with nonprofit groups. Work in an environment near Hebgen Lake and the Continental Divide in Montana. Yurt and work space available adjacent to the scenic Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park. Learn more...
*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: 261
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: 3
Highway Mortality: 7
Cause of Death Unknown: 3
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,256
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration: Straight from the Mouths of Livestock Agents
Monday November 5, 2012, Park County/Stockgrowers/Farm Bureau v. Montana, Intervening Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Western Watersheds Project, Buffalo Field Campaign:
QUESTION: Hertha Lund, Montana Farm Bureau attorney: Could a bull bison breed a cow through that fence?
ANSWER: Dr. Marty Zaluski, Montana State Veterinarian, Montana Department of Livestock
* I find it difficult to visualize a bison breeding a cattle through a fence. Based on their anatomy, I find it difficult to believe … Even if it was successful, transmission by that event would be extremely unlikely.
QUESTION: Norm Peterson, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks attorney: Question of bison bull transmission risk/danger of infecting domestic cattle.
ANSWER: Dr. Brian McCluskey, USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
* Is about zero for a couple of reasons. Even in cattle, cattle bulls are low on the priority list in epidemiology investigations; bison bulls would not have contact with cattle … study by APHIS on brucella in bison bulls semen found in a few bulls but at such low levels not to be infective. It is as close to a zero risk situation as I think you could get... How its related to AMA: bulls not gonna matter, they are still not going to be a risk.
Please send us your submissions to Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!