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           Weekly Update from the Field February 4, 2016
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Take Action Against Quarantine!
Update from the Field

* OPPOSE QUARANTINE! Submit Your Comments to Yellowstone National Park
* Update from the Field
* NEWS: U.S. District Court to Hear Arguments for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Yellowstone Bison Slaughter
* BFC Week of Action February 15 - 21, 2016
* TAKE ACTION and Help BFC Protect the Buffalo
* WANTED! Photos & Artwork for 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar
* Buffalo in the News
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ There Was a Time

* OPPOSE QUARANTINE! Submit Your Comments to Yellowstone National Park


Stand in solidarity against the domestication, commercialization, and slaughter of wild Yellowstone buffalo! Yellowstone National Park has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a fifty-year quarantine program which seriously threatens America’s last wild, migratory bison. There is nothing in this EA for bison advocates to support, as even the “no action” alternative maintains the Park’s ongoing capture-for-slaughter program.

Comments are due by midnight MST February 15, 2016.

Please click the button on the left or visit our Take Action Alert to learn more and send your comments. We have provided a sample letter, but please write in your own words to make the biggest impact. Speak from your heart, with what you know, to address the adverse impacts of quarantining wild bison and the Park’s ongoing capture for slaughter operations. Don’t allow Yellowstone National Park to domesticate wild, migratory bison! Thank you for taking this important action!

* Update from the Field

A baby buffalo left in her mother's gut pile. "Untraditional native "hunting" practices...this is not right. Due to a manipulation of our 1858 treaty that was never "honored" or recognized until very recently, native hunters are only allowed to hunt in the winter when it is the worst time to hunt relatives who are surviving a Montana winter and who's mothers are pregnant or who are just about to give birth. We must gain control of our treaty that gives us exclusive hunting, gathering, and ceremony rights to the Yellowstone region and DOES NOT only limit us to hunting buffalo in the winter. This is ridiculous and most of all, against our traditional teachings and the laws of nature.” ~ Goodshield Aguilar. Photo by Don Spates, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.

The hunting frenzy in the Gardiner Basin is escalating. More than 330 Yellowstone bison have been killed in this year’s “hunt.” Buffalo families continue to be gunned down and wiped out along the northern border of Yellowstone National Park. This killing furor is a result of the buffalo management agencies to have hunters reduce the population as much as possible. One of the four tribes hunting under treaty right, as well as a few state hunters, have decided not to honor the already-weak hunting closure at Beattie Gulch. This choke point migration corridor is almost a certain death sentence for wild buffalo who move through there. Hunters blast into buffalo family groups as soon as they migrate across the Park boundary, many hunters not even knowing which buffalo have already been shot. Numerous buffalo that have been hit run back into Yellowstone, or away from the patchwork of hunting areas, sending park rangers or game wardens out to “mercy kill” the wounded and return their bodies to the hunting parties, rewarding their irresponsible actions. Tensions are rising between hunters, community members, law enforcement, and bison advocates. Even state wildlife officials and tribal game wardens are expressing disgust at the way the current hunt is being carried out.

Those who participate in the killing are responsible for their individual actions, for the cumulative impacts of every buffalo life that is taken. Hunters have a responsibility to ensure the long-term survival of the animals they hunt and should be fighting for more habitat and more buffalo on a larger landscape. The arguments used to justify the killing — overpopulation or brucellosis — ring hollow. There is no such thing as “surplus” wild buffalo. In fact, the species is “red listed” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as “threatened with near extinction." Even the state of Montana recognizes that they are “vulnerable to global extinction.” There has never been a single case of bison-to-cattle brucellosis transmission outside of laboratory settings. The livestock industry’s political anti-buffalo propaganda is driving the slaughter, all of it based on lies, prejudice, and intolerance.

The livestock industry’s intolerance is directly responsible for the buffalo’s current brush with extinction. We must put an end to livestock industry control over wild buffalo, and to do so we must repeal the law — MCA 81-2-120 — that places them in charge. As evidenced by his decision to grant year-round habitat on Horse Butte, Montana Governor Steve Bullock is listening, but the livestock industry is trying to undermine his citizen-supported decision. He must hear from each of us, often. Please contact Governor Bullock today, thank him for granting year-round habitat on Horse Butte, and urge him to help repeal MCA 81-2-120. With endless pressure, endlessly applied, we can end livestock industry control and help regain wild buffalo their rightful, ancestral place on the landscape.
Thank you so very much for being with us for wild buffalo!

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

*NEWS! U.S. District Court to Hear Arguments for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Yellowstone Bison Slaughter

Journalist Christopher Ketcham and Buffalo Field Campaign patrols scope the Stephens Creek bison trap, far in the distance.

Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaing. Click for larger image.

Journalist Chris Ketcham and BFC’s media coordinator Stephany Seay will have their first day in court on Friday, February 5, when the United States District Court in Casper, Wyoming hears arguments for a preliminary injunction to halt the planned Yellowstone National Park bison cull. Ketcham and Seay are represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, University of Denver constitutional law professors, and Jamie M. Woolsey of the private Wyoming law firm Fuller, Sandefer & Associates, L.L.C. The capture and kill operation is scheduled to start February 15.

Read the press release and full legal complaint HERE.

* BFC Week of Action! February 15 - 21, 2016

BFC's Week of Action will take place February 15 - 21, 2016.

Join Buffalo Field Campaign for our upcoming Week of Action! We are planning events in southwest Montana towns, and there will be an event that everyone, everywhere will be able to participate in. We are still in the planning stages and welcome your ideas. The Week of Action will kick-off on Monday, February 15 and last through Sunday, February 21.

Here is the schedule of events:

  • Monday, Feb 15, 10-5 - Bozeman: Rally and tabling in Bozeman, Montana. We will have info/take action tables at the Bozeman Co-Op and Bozeman Public Library from 10am-5pm, and rally through Downtown Bozeman mid-day.

  • Tuesday, Feb 16, 10-7 - Mammoth YNP & Beattie Gulch, Gardiner: Protest outside Yellowstone’s administrative buildings in Mammoth, Yellowstone National Park, followed by a candlelight vigil beginning at Mammoth, convoy to the Stephens Creek bison trap entrance, ending with a vigil/ceremony at Beattie Gulch.

  • Wednesday, Feb 17, all day - Everywhere: National Call-In Day (targets to be announced that day)

  • Thursday, Feb 18, 1:00-4:00 - Helena, MT: BFC & Natives Rally in Helena! Rotunda of the Capitol Building from 1-4pm. Join BFC along with members of the Nez Perce, Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, Blackfeet, and Confederated Salish & Kootenai tribes, as we honor Governor Bullock for opening year-round habitat for wild buffalo on Horse Butte, urge him to expand the lands where wild buffalo roam, and repeal MCA 81-2-120! We will also pay a visit to the Montana Department of Livestock offices to let them know how we feel about their maltreatment of America’s last wild buffalo. Afterwards, join us for a working-in-solidarity dinner from 4:30-8:00. Dinner location to be announced.

  • Friday, Feb 19, 12:00-5:00 - West Yellowstone, MT: Join us in the Yellowstone gateway community of West Yellowstone for a march through town, ending with a rally at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

  • Saturday, Feb 20, 10:00-5:00 - Big Sky, MT: Join us in Big Sky for a rally and march through Montana’s famed ski resort.

  • Sunday, Feb 21, 5:00-7:00 - BFC: Join us at BFC headquarters in West Yellowstone for an open house and community meal to celebrate year-round bison habitat on Horse Butte! Bring a dessert or appetizer and please RSVP for this specific event by calling our office: 406-646-0070,

Please join us at any or all events!
Tell your friends and bring them with you! If you are able to come for the full week and would like to stay with us, please RSVP with Stephany or Natalie so that we can make accommodations for sleeping spaces and food. Please bring bedding!

* TAKE ACTION! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied

The killing of the buffalo, whether it’s through “hunting” or slaughter, is all part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), which was crafted for the benefit of livestock interests, not buffalo. Even those hunting under treaty rights are being used by Montana's livestock interests, and consequently, the IBMP, to facilitate the destruction of the buffalo and to prevent them from restoring themselves in Montana and elsewhere. Whether the excuse for these fatal tactics is brucellosis or population control, neither is based on reality and they only serve a political agenda. The IBMP exists because Montana livestock interests sued Yellowstone for “allowing" wild bison to migrate into Montana, and because of a law crafted by the livestock industry — MCA 81-2-120 — which places the Montana Department of Livestock in charge of managing wild bison. One industry’s intolerance is driving a national treasure towards the brink of extinction. We know you care deeply about wild bison, and one of the single most important things you can do is to help repeal this law.

Contact Governor Steve Bullock today, and please take these other actions, even if you have already. Don’t stop until the buffalo are free to roam!

1. Montana Governor Steve Bullock needs to feel the pressure from everyone who cares about wild, migratory buffalo, enough pressure that he has no other choice than to help repeal MCA 81-2-120, the law that is driving the nefarious actions against America's last wild buffalo. Please contact Governor Bullock today, and everyday, demanding he change the status quo for wild bison in Montana by repealing MCA 81-2-120 and rejecting the government's alternatives in the newly proposed Montana-Yellowstone Bison Management Plan.

2. Help change the status quo for wild buffalo by urging your members of Congress to support BFC’s alternative to “Manage Wild Bison Like Wild Elk in Montana."

3. Submit Letters to the Editor in support of BFC's alternative to “Manage Wild Bison Like Wild Elk in Montana,” the only alternative that respects wild buffalo and their right to roam their home.

* WANTED: Photos & Artwork for 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendar

Order BFC's 2016 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendars!

It’s that exciting time of year when we give a shout out to all the awesome photographers and artists out there! We are on track to create our 2017 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar and we want your Yellowstone buffalo images! Our calendar project is a true celebration of the wild buffalo of Yellowstone country, America’s last wild herds. Your generous and amazing contributions have made this an amazing buffalo exploration stunning photos, incredible artwork, interesting facts, beautiful poetry, and inspired quotations.

Please contact Stephany at bfc-media@wildrockies.org for details or to submit your images.

We still have a few 2016 Wild Bison calendars left, with more than eleven months left to enjoy it. It’s never too late to celebrate wild buffalo every day of the year! All proceeds go directly to BFC’s front lines work in defense of America’s last wild buffalo. Fall in love with the buffalo and strengthen your resolve to help protect them!


*By the Numbers

The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,900 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: 333
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Tribal - ITBC & CSKT Slaughter:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 22
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 282
Unknown Hunts: 4
Known Wounded in Hunt: 12
Wounded & Shot by NPS: 1
Poached in Yellowstone:
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner:
Shot by Idaho:
Highway Mortality: 2
Cause of Death Unknown:

Total Killed in Previous Years*
2014-2015: 740
2013-2014: 653
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631

Total Killed Since 2000: 5,970

* 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 ~ There Was a Time

~ Simon Combes

This time will come again!

Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!

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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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