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           Weekly Update from the Field April 17, 2014
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Citizens Speak Up for the Buffalo‏
* JOB OPPORTUNITY: Work for the Buffalo as BFC's Office Coordinator!
* Update from the Field
* NEW VIDEO CLIP: Gardiner Resident Speaks Strongly for the Buffalo at IBMP Meeting
* Gardiner: Write & Call With Support for the Buffalo Today!
* Tell Montana's Governor: No Slaughter for Habitat!
* The Buffalo Need You. Please Volunteer or Donate Today
* This Summer Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC!
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Paul Hawkin

* JOB OPPORTUNITY: Work for the Buffalo as BFC's Office Coordinator!

Buffalo Field Campaign is currently accepting applications for our Office Coordinator position. This job, based at BFC headquarters near West Yellowstone, will open in May 2014. Applicants should be well organized, personable, and articulate and should have experience with nonprofit or small business bookkeeping. Familiarity with Microsoft Office is a must, as is knowledge of and passion for wild bison and the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. For a full job description and information on how to apply, please contact BFC's Executive Director.

* Update from the Field

Buffalo calving season has begun. Patrols were blessed to see a new calf last week in the Hebgen Basin, and one has been reported in the Gardiner Basin. BFC file photo. Click photo for larger image.

Late last week BFC patrols saw the first buffalo calf of the season! Mom and calf appeared to be doing fine, and were spotted along the Madison River in the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone National Park. The next generation of wild buffalo is coming! While snow still covers a lot of ground, spring has truly arrived to the Hebgen Basin. Osprey, blue birds, Sandhill cranes and pelicans have returned, and the first sign of grizzly bears has been spotted. A couple hundred buffalo have been migrating along the Madison River toward their calving grounds on the Horse Butte Peninsula. Save for the dangers of having to cross the highways, all has been blessedly quiet on the western front.

Hard to believe that these big boys were ever tiny red calves. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.

In the Gardiner Basin, hundreds of wild, migratory buffalo are still roaming, but not quite so freely, as "tolerance" is a relative term. Multiple hazing (forced removal) operations have been taking place nearly every day. Late last week, a couple of larger scale hazing operations occurred, one of which, on Friday, included the third involvement of a Montana Department of Livestock helicopter, eight state and federal agency horsemen, and law enforcement. In these hazes, the government again conducted "preemptive strikes," aiming to prevent wild buffalo from navigating around the Gardiner Basin's buffalo blockade, which we have begun referring to as the Basin's Berlin Wall. One such path the buffalo would like to take out of the Basin would lead them north to Dome Mountain, a portion of which is buffalo-friendly private land, the other portion is a state wildlife management area; all entirely suitable and appropriate buffalo habitat. Most of the hazing, however, has taken place within the interior of the Gardiner Basin, almost exclusively from private land due to complaints by a very few anti-buffalo residents.

DOL agent Jeff Bowers hazes bull buffalo off of property leased by Bill Hoppe. Agents placed us where we could only document the final moments of the operation. BFC file photo by Peter. Click photo for larger image.

On Friday, a bull buffalo was shot and killed by Bill Hoppe, a Gardiner Basin landowner and lessee, who has been an infamous player in Montana's war against wild buffalo and wolves. He allegedly claims that the buffalo was threatening his wife. It takes a person with a certain agenda to get on the grumpy side of a buffalo. Look at everything they put up with from state and federal agents without returning the violence! Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks took the buffalo's carcass into custody and is currently investigating the incident. Not surprisingly, land Hoppe owns or leases is where most of the hazing operations have been taking place, though the Church Universal & Triumphant has also been requesting that buffalo be removed from portions of their land as well.


We tried documenting from the west side of the Yellowstone River since agents were keeping us from seeing much. On the left, Hoppe land where horses and buffalo simply graze together with no worries about each other. Hoppes, however, have no tolerance for wild buffalo. On the right, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks takes the lead and shows the Deptartment of Livestock a better way to ask buffalo to leave an area: gently, on foot. As much as we don't like hazing, we couldn't help but be impressed with this approach. The Hoppe's could have done this themselves and saved taxpayers a lot of money. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click for larger images.

Interestingly, BFC has noticed that Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has been conducting some hazing operations without the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) being present. This is something that has never occurred in years past, and is apparently a new development brought about from the Interagency Bison Management Plan's new Gardiner Basin habitat expansion. The DOL has certainly been involved in most of the hazing the past few weeks, but now we are seeing FWP conducting hazing without them. When BFC asked an FWP game warden about this, he stated that they are responding to private property issues.


FWP agents switched from a foot haze to an ATV, and enlisted the help of DOL on horseback. Because we are being denied access to adequately document the haze from the east side of the river, we moved to the other side, inside our public lands of Yellowstone National Park, where we were out of the way and would have gotten the public a very good view of the haze, and the never-seen footage of agents pushing buffalo across the Yellowstone River. But, a Park Ranger who was helping with traffic control saw us, drove down and actually shouted out a very unofficial closure to us across the Yellowstone River before driving around to remove us from our location. The buffalo got a bit of a break, as hazing was stalled while we had discussions. You can see from the photo on the right how far back we were made to move, we strongly believe, unjustly. BFC file photos by Stephany. Click for larger images.

It is unfair and unsustainable for state or federal tax dollars to be used to harass native wildlife off of "private" property, day after day, simply because a person doesn't like them there. In Montana and other western states, when a cattle producer's non-native livestock gets onto another person's land (and this happens frequently), the government isn't called to the rescue; the burden is on that landowner to fence out or chase away the cattle. Most property owners in the Gardiner Basin cherish living on the edge of Yellowstone National Park, the most uniquely wildlife-rich area of the country, and have learned to coexist with many species of charismatic mega-fauna, including elk, wolves, grizzly bears and bison. As most residents of Horse Butte will testify, wild buffalo are one of the easiest wild animals to get along with. They are big but they are gentle and they are very good communicators. As the invaders who took everything from them and nearly drove them to extinction, it is time we humans at least give them the benefit of the doubt. Learn from the buffalo and learn to give away some of our coveted control; live a little bit on their terms for a change, as they finally gain a little bit of their homeland back.


* NEW VIDEO CLIP: Gardiner Resident Speaks Strongly for the Buffalo at IBMP Meeting

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Buffalo Field Campaign 4/17/14

Bison Management- Public Comment
Gail Richardson comments at the Interagency Bison Management Plan Meeting 4/10/14 in Bozeman, Montana. She addresses all of the people who make the bad choices of how the buffalo are treated with your tax dollars. Her comments are mixed with video showing the true story of the buffalo.

Gail Richardson comments at the Interagency Bison Management meeting, April 10, 2014, in Bozeman, Montana. She articulately addresses all of the people that make the bad choices of how the Buffalo are treated with your tax dollars. As you hear her comments, the video shows some of the sad realities that wild, migratory buffalo currently endure.

The meeting room was pretty well packed with over 90 people in attendance. Public comments favored wild buffalo, for which the video above is a great example. The IBMP affiliated tribes and government agencies discussed the "success" of reaching their stated goal by killing over 600 wild buffalo this season through slaughter and harvest. There was very little new information given and none of the IBMP affiliates represented the best interests of the buffalo. The best parts of the meeting included a presentation on the Iinnii (Buffalo) Initiative, by Blackfeet Cultural Leader Leroy Little Bear, Holy Walking Woman and others, who truly spoke to the sacred nature of the buffalo. There were also a lot of great pro-buffalo public comments, and only a small handful of comments from the anti-buffalo contingency. The biggest news is that bison advocates can look for our first opportunity to comment on the new Montana/Yellowstone bison management Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) sometime in July. This EIS will replace the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan, which is due to expire in 2015, but will stay in place until the EIS is finalized a few years from now. Unfortunately, the Park Service made it clear that operational quarantine will be included in the new EIS. It also appears as if the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, the federal livestock overseer, may attempt to hijack the EIS to target brucellosis in elk, something that Montana and Yellowstone stated would be better dealt with elsewhere, as the EIS is bison-specific. The process is only in the discussion phase now, and there will be ample opportunity for the public to shape this EIS in a positive way for the buffalo. We will keep you posted!

* Gardiner: Write & Call With Support for the Buffalo Today!

It is *critical* that support for the buffalo in the Gardiner Basin is heard by decision-makers and the media. We can't let the buffalo be misrepresented by the few folks who hate and fear them.

Please call today:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 3 Office: Phone: (406) 994-4042
Montana Governor Steve Bullock: 406-444-3111
Montana Department of Livestock: 406-444-0782

Please also submit Letters to the Editor to the following papers:
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Billings Gazette
Helena Independent Record
Livingston Enterprise

To show our appreciation for helping wild buffalo, if your LTE is published we will send you a free BFC t-shirt or calendar. Send us the link to your buffalo-friendly letter when published, your gift preference, tee shirt size, and mailing address. Thank you!

* TAKE ACTION! Tell Montana's Governor: No Slaughter for Habitat!

Broad public support for year-round buffalo habitat - almost 120,000 public comments received by Montana - has been corrupted by the Department of Livestock and their allies and turned into a buy-in for slaughtering buffalo. Montana's buffalo-slaughter-for-habitat proposal (Download a pdf) is a dirty compromise between Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Montana Department of Livestock. It shows how the livestock industry has corrupted the public decision making process and management of the public's buffalo. If this proposal implemented, wild buffalo will only be given year-round habitat if their numbers are reduced to and kept under 3,300 animals. The larger the population, the less land they can access and the more slaughter and hunting will be used to kill them. Montana's slaughter for habitat proposal exemplifies the corruption of cattle ranchers in charge of wild buffalo.

TAKE ACTION NOW to tell Montana Governor Steve Bullock: No Buffalo Slaughter for Habitat!

* The Buffalo Need You. Volunteer or Donate Today.

If you have ever dreamt of standing with buffalo and fighting for their rights to be wild, now is the time! BFC is in need of caring people to make this sacred sacrifice to help the buffalo. Buffalo Field Campaign invites you to join us on the front lines, here on the edge of the world's first national park, to defend America's last wild, migratory buffalo. State, federal, and tribal governments are in the process of capturing and killing hundreds of wild bison. They aim to reduce the already vulnerable population of America's last wild, migratory buffalo to a mere 3,000 animals.

We need more people to stand with us and protect the buffalo. We need help from now until the end of May. BFC provides room, board, gear, and training while the wildlife and wildlands provide incredible inspiration. Please visit our volunteer page to fill out an application or email our volunteer coordinators or 406-646-0070. Bring your passion and ideas. See you on the front lines!

If you can not join us in person we can still use your help. Please use the DONATE NOW button below to make a tax-deductible contribution to our important work for the buffalo.

Thanks for giving us the honor of standing with these sacred beings and please come experience it for yourselves, it will change your life.

Mike Mease

* This Summer Keep it Wild with the Buffalo & BFC!

We're excited to announce that we're gearing up for our Summer program (June 1st until Labor Day weekend) and have started accepting volunteer applications. This summer we'll be doing a variety of community and public outreach including tabling at our new Free Buffalo Information Center located inside of the Buffalo Spirit Trading Post in the town of West Yellowstone, tabling inside Yellowstone National Park, and attending festivals in the area with our giant inflatable buffaloon and spreading the word about the herds. If you're interested in coming out for the summer we ask for at least a two to three week commitment. If you have any questions or would like to apply feel free to give us a call @ 406-646-0070 or shoot us an email at volunteersummer@buffalofieldcampaign.org

Keeping it wild with the buffalo,

Pat and Comfrey Root

*By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,000 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild, migratory bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

Total Buffalo Killed: 647
Government Capture: 359
Buffalo Released from Capture: 41
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC Slaughter: 157
Tribal - CSKT Slaughter: 101
Tribal - Nez Perce Slaughter: 0
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 31
Treaty Hunts: 291
Unknown Hunts:
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner: 1
Highway Mortality: 3
Cause of Death Unknown:

Total Killed in Previous Years*
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,885

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths
**bison stolen from the wild and placed in APHIS research facilities (such as for GonaCon) have already been counted as being "eliminated from the population" so bison that have died in a government research facility are not reflected in the total.

*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Paul Hawken

"Inspiration is not garnered from litanies of what is flawed; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. Healing the wounds of the Earth and its people does not require saintliness or a political party. It is not a liberal or conservative activity. It is a sacred act."

~ Paul Hawken

Please send us your submissions for Last Words

Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!

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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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