* Celebrating the Buffalo Rut
Buffalove in the Lamar Valley. Photos by Stephany, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger images.
Summer is a great time to be a buffalo in Yellowstone country. The grass is tall, lush, and plentiful. The herds are all gathered in the Lamar and Hayden Valleys in enormous family reunions, living the good life. The buffalo rut — mating season — is in full swing. The bellows of huge bulls can be heard throughout the valley, like the roars of dragons. They kick up great clouds of dust as they attempt to show the females and would-be challenger bulls that they are worthy to be chosen as a mate. Once a bull is accepted by a cow as her partner he will stay by her side for the duration of the rut, defending against any other bull who dares come close. Bull buffalo are fierce competitors, challenging one another by locking horns, sparring, and heaving their massive weight back and forth. Such sparring matches are relatively rare, as bulls will urinate in a wallow and then roll in it, and another bull can detect the fat and muscle content to determine whether it’s a good idea to engage in battle. While such sparring does sometimes result in injuries, fatalities are rare. The victor earns the chance to ask for a female’s acceptance to be his mate. It is in this way that the strongest genes are passed on, generation to generation.
A buffalo calf changing colors and a herd celebrates the good life! Photos by Stephany, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger images.
This is also a time when the little red calves who we spend so much time with in the spring start to change color from their baby red to the more familiar dark, chocolate brown of juvenile and adult buffalo. There is a strong energy of celebration among the buffalo at this time. It is a powerful time to be in their presence, and a very good time to give them a lot of space! A few of us have had opportunities to go visit with our buffalo relatives in the past few weeks, and it is such a pleasure to see them at peace, doing things on their terms. Knowing the buffalo the way we do, we understand their body language and energy, which is so different at this time of year. If you have the opportunity to visit Yellowstone during the rut, enjoy their presence from a safe distance — especially the bulls. Those big boys have one thing, and one thing only on their minds. Anyone who gets in the way of that is considered a challenge.
If you do make it to Yellowstone this summer, please visit BFC! We have constant presence inside Yellowstone with our summer outreach table where we talk with visitors about what happens to the buffalo during the winter and spring months, when they migrate to lower elevations towards and into Montana. Hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors are learning about what is taking place and how the livestock industry and the government who serves them are harming our national mammal. So many people are visiting Yellowstone this year, the number of people who will learn about the buffalo is increasing as are our chances of making positive and lasting changes for these gentle giants.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Billboard Campaign: Help BFC Spread the Word to Protect Our National Mammal
Please visit and share BFC’s Protect Our National Mammal web site, www.HelpWildBison.com, with everyone you know! And if you’re traveling I-90 through Billings, Montana, look for the billboard, take a photo, and please share it with us. Thank you so much for your dedication to defending the country’s last wild buffalo!
* IBMP Meeting in Bozeman, MT, August 3
The government agencies carrying out the Interagency Bison Management Plan are meeting in Bozeman next week to discuss the plan and the 2016-2017 migratory season. Please attend and join BFC in speaking for the buffalo if you are able. Get details and read the agenda here.
Hope to see you there!
* Wild Bison 2017 Calendar: Get Yours Today, Retail or Wholesale!
Celebrate wild buffalo every day of the year with our seventh annual Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar. This year's edition is the most wonderful exploration yet of this country’s largest land mammal. Featuring stunning photos from generous professional photographers and BFC patrols, our 2017 calendar also features incredible artwork, interesting facts, and beautiful poetry and quotes.
All proceeds from the calendar go directly to BFC’s front lines work defending and protecting America’s last wild buffalo. Support our work to help these gentle giants as you celebrate wild buffalo every day!
Fall in love with the buffalo and strengthen your resolve to help protect them! ORDER HERE or click the photo below!
2017 Calendars Now Available at Wholesale Prices!
For the first time, we are offering calendars at wholesale prices to those of you who want to purchase in bulk. Please help us help the buffalo and help yourself in the process!
Do you own a small business? Does your friend, or neighbor or family member? Maybe you are part of another organization that needs some help fundraising? We want to offer you the opportunity to help us help the buffalo while also helping yourself by offering our 2017 calendar at the wholesale price to those who want to help us spread the word to protect the herds!
Minimum order is 10 calendars for $70 plus $13.45 priority S&H ($83.45 total). The calendars sell retail for $12.95 so this deal would make you or your organization almost $50! But the more you order the better it gets!
20 calendars for $120 plus $13.45 priority S&H ($133.45 total) can result in a profit of $125.55
30 calendars for $180 plus $13.45 priority S&H ($193.45 total) can result in a profit of $195.05
40 calendars for $240 plus $13.45 priority S&H ($253.45 total) can result in a profit of $264.55
View our wholesale sheet HERE.
Please send your check or money order, the number of calendars you want to order, and your USPS shipping address to:
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
If you are interested in ordering more than 40 please contact Tara at 406-646-0070 or email@example.com and she will figure out the shipping costs!
As always, we are deeply grateful for all your help!
* Hot Off The Press: BFC's 2016-2017 Newsletter
If you're on our mailing list, you'll be receiving our latest print newsletter in the next few weeks. If you're not, and would like us to send you one or more (for distribution in your community) please let us know. If your address has changed, or if you are new and would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need your help in spreading the word to save the wild buffalo herds! If you would like us to send you a stack of newsletters to place around your community, Tara can help you. Shipping can be costly, so please let Tara know an exact number that you are able to distribute and she will happily get them to you ASAP!
* TAKE ACTION! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied
1. One of the most important things that can help mitigate buffalo-vehicle collisions is the implementation of safe passage infrastructure, which involves constructing bridges or underpasses that buffalo and other wildlife can use to cross the dangerous road without ever having to step foot on the asphalt. Examples of the enormous success safe passage has for wildlife are growing in the U.S., Canada, and other countries around the world. What better place for wildlife safe passage than on the edge of Yellowstone National Park? Please join us in urging the state of Montana to provide wildlife safe passage in this key migration corridor.
2. 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 but 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.
3. 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."
4.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
* By the Numbers
The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,300 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: 603
Government Capture: 150
Held for Quarantine or Slaughter: 49
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Tribal - ITBC, CSKT, & Sho-Ban Slaughter: 101
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 28
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 349
Unknown Hunts: 1
Wounded by Hunters & Shot by FWP/NPS or Died in Park: 51
Poached in Yellowstone:
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility:
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner:
Shot by Idaho:
Highway Mortality: 16
Cause of Death Unknown:
Elk shot under treaty right: 55
Total Killed in Previous Years*
Total Killed Since 2000: 6,237
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ Rosalie Little Thunder
“Remind yourself every morning, every morning, every morning: ‘I’m going to do something. I’ve made a commitment.’ Not for yourself, but beyond yourself. You belong to the collective. Don’t go wandering off or you will perish.”
~ Rosalie Little Thunder (1949 - 2014). Rosalie was a co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign and member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate; Burnt Thigh Band, of the Little Thunder Tiospaye and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. We miss her every day, though feel her with us always.
Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!