* 2013 is Almost Here! Order Your Wild Bison Calendars Today!
In less than one week, 2013 will be here! Do you have your Wild Bison calendar yet? Buy some for yourself, your friends, and your family members and support Buffalo Field Campaign in the process!
* Update from the Field
BFC volunteer Hailee counts and admires wild buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park on a cold, snowy day. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
A few days ago BFC patrols spotted a family group of buffalo in Yellowstone, close to Montana. Hunters arrived in town even before the buffalo had crossed Yellowstone's boundary. Early on the morning of the 24th the buffalo migrated into Montana and a female was almost immediately struck by a vehicle and killed on highway 191. On Christmas morning a hunter fired five shots, killing three buffalo including two cows and a young bull. After the first two buffalo had gone down, patrols distinctly heard the hunter ask his partner, "How many tags do we have, two?" The hunter, a Confederated Salish-Kootenai tribal member from Billings, MT had two tags yet had killed three buffalo.
BFC volunteers suspected that the hunter had killed one too many buffalo, a suspicion that was confirmed by the local Fish, Wildlife, and Parks game warden, who is looking into the incident in cooperation with the tribe. The hunter will not be allowed to keep the third buffalo; she will be donated to the local food bank. Unfortunately, because the hunters were unprepared for the harsh climate and snowy terrain, the game warden allowed them to use snowmobiles in a closed area to give them an easier time of hauling the carcasses off the landscape. These areas off limits to snowmobiles have been helpful in keeping buffalo alive during the hunts, simply because without the machines they are too difficult to retrieve. That this closure was breached for the sake of convenience is disturbing to say the least, and the tracks laid by the snowmobiles will be a tempting trail for future hunters and snowmobilers to follow.
After mourning their fallen family members, the majority of the buffalo in the group have not been seen for over 24 hours. The rest are on the move away from danger. Unlike during the first years of the "hunt," buffalo have been responding wisely to hunting pressure and departing, almost immediately, areas where members of their herds are killed. We hope these buffalo will seek the shelter that keeps them alive and that hunters will consider not only the impacts of their impetuous decisions, but their long term influences on ecologically extinct wild buffalo.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* TAKE ACTION! Stop Yellowstone's 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.
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 slaughtering 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 Holds 24-Hour Winter Solstice Fire on Horse Butte
Demmi and Noah (and Niko) at our Winter Solstice fire, just before sunset. These wonderful souls were visited by their BFC family morning, afternoon and night, yet they alone guarded and enjoyed this fire for a full 24-hours. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
On the 21st two BFC volunteers maintained a twenty-four hour fire on the Horse Butte Peninsula in celebration of Winter Solstice. Horse Butte is the ancestral calving grounds for the bison of the central herds and the area's south facing slopes provide the buffalo's first sustenance in the spring. The specific spot where Demmi and Noah burned the Solstice fire is the Horse Butte buffalo trap site. Though the Department of Livestock has not set the trap up since 2008, it is an area the agencies have used for many years to capture wild buffalo.
On a windy and rainy day in May of 2009 Lakota Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, held a ceremony here reclaiming the space and designating it a Sacred Site. In respect and observance of this, our volunteers kept those warming flames burning through the frigid night (Temperatures dropped below -15 the morning of the 21st).
From a place of holiday cheer and continued celebration for wild bison we thank you now for your enduring and unwavering support for these unbelievably tolerant animals and our campaign to protect them. Happy Holidays and may the new year bring an end to the suffering of the American bison.
BFC Support Coordinator
* BFC Wish List Featured Item: Gaiters
The snow has finally arrived 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: 35
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 1
Treaty Hunts: 33
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality: 1
Total Killed in Previous Years
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,043
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway mortality
* Inspiring Last Words
"The buffalo represents the people and the universe and should always be treated with respect, for was he not here before the two-legged peoples, and is he not generous in that he gives us our homes and our food? The buffalo is wise in many things, and, thus, we should learn from him and should always be as a relative with him."
~ Black Elk, from The Sacred Pipe
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