* Update from the Field
A late-born calf with older sibling move through the snowy landscape. Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.
Winter is setting in. Snow is accumulating, and with the snow comes migration. The deep snows of Yellowstone’s high plateau drive elk, buffalo, deer, moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep down to lower elevations. Unfortunately for hundreds of wild buffalo, this migration can mean the end of their lives; not because food is hard to find — winter is extremely challenging, but they are well-equipped to use their huge heads to “crater” through snow to get to the life-giving grasses below — but because the lower-elevation grasslands they seek are located in Montana where they enter a deadly conflict zone put in place by livestock interests.
As the buffalo begin their winter migration, BFC volunteers begin their own, returning to camp from all points of the compass to stand with the buffalo. The early snowfall necessitates the opening of our Gardiner camp along the Park’s north boundary, which we will do this Saturday; it’s been quite a few years since we opened up Gardiner camp this early. Patrols are preparing for another difficult season of documenting all actions made against the buffalo, monitoring their migration, and sharing our stories and first-hand experiences in an effort to end this war against wild buffalo. Will you join us?
In the Hebgen Basin, west of Yellowstone National Park, at least ten buffalo have already been killed by treaty hunters, and Montana’s state hunt will begin on Saturday, with other treaty hunts to follow. In addition to six months of combined state and treaty hunts, Yellowstone National Park, the Montana Department of Livestock, and even some tribal entities, are aiming to capture and kill hundreds more buffalo. Through hunting and slaughter, the Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies intend to kill nearly 1,000 Yellowstone buffalo. There are fewer than 5,000 left, and the Yellowstone population — the world’s most important — is made up of America’s last continuously wild herds. Ecologically extinct throughout their native range, and not yet federally protected, bison are endangered. In 2014 we filed a petition with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to protect wild bison under the Endangered Species Act, and sometime this fall the USFWS is expected to issue their finding. If they issue a negative finding, rejecting ESA protection — and no thanks to politics, we expect they will — we are prepared to take the next step.
Come stand with the buffalo if you can, help keep us on the front lines, and continue to spread the word to save these sacred herds.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Many Thanks for Another Successful Road Show
Another very successful road show has come and gone and it is now time to thank all the beautiful people who made it happen. Please take no offense if I forgot you as I mean no disrespect, I just meet many great people and can be forgetful.
I send a special thanks to the three people who were on the show the whole time. Goodshield has now been doing this tour with me for the last 11 years and makes sure the show is something to remember. Mignon Geli has been with us for four years and opens hearts with her magical flute playing, and Sam Estrada in his first year, ran the table, navigated and did so much more. Thanks to each of you; it is a pleasure to spend so much time with you and a great effort in our saving the buffalo.
Sam and I left Montana on September 10th and went to Boise, ID where we stayed with BFC board member Ken and his wife Susan before heading off to our biggest show in Williams, OR. This show on the Sun Spirit Farm has become an annual event and we had over 200 people attend. Brian, Michelle, and Jaia put the whole thing together and have been doing this for the last five years -- thanks so much for all you do for our buffalo family. Additional thanks to Brian, aka Raven Redbone, for having us on his radio program, Make No Bones About It. Many people contribute in many ways and the following people and businesses deserve thanks: Rise Up Bakery, Fox Treats, Diane Patterson, David Kai, Omiza River, Organicos, Flying High Wines, Casa Blanca, White Oak Farm, Rogue Roasters, the Haul, Shop-n-Kart, Ashland Food Coop, Medford Food Coop, 7 Seeds, Patagonia, Don's Bikes, Uber Herbal, the Tool Merchant, Red Lily Vineyard, Pacific Botanicals, Allie Jones, Jackson Well Springs, Oshala Farm, Horizon Herbs, Woldrige Creek Vineyard, Sequential, Wild Wines, Diggin Livin, Takubeh, Stella Photography, and artist Lindy Kehoe. Numerous local volunteers also gave their time, energy and expertise; thanks to all of you. We then had five days off and tried to spend it in Newport, OR with Andrew but on the way our van had its first breakdown. Thankfully, the very nice people at Clayton Auto got us back up and running.
Our friends at the Black Dog Arts Cafe, Christie, Greg and Ike deserve a special thanks for hosting us for the second straight year. We will be back. Next up was Whidbey Island where Lisa; Dana; Linda; Ron; Mary; Elsi; Unitarian Universal Congregation; the Calyx School; the Orca Network; Service, Education and Adventure; Whidbey Environmental Action Network; and the Whidbey Institute all contributed to our event.
Easy Street Records in Seattle sponsored our Seattle stop with the Pearl Jam Ten Club. Thanks so much to Matt, Tim, and Jeff Ament for making it happen. The other Seattle event, at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center happened thanks to Joey and Chrissy. The event at Hibulb Cultural Center, was organized by Jennifer and Sweetwater. Our final Washington show was hosted by Traditions Fair Trade Cafe, and organized by Raven Redbone, Rick, and Jesse--thanks to each of you!
The aptly named Bison Coffee House hosted our Portland, OR presentation. Thank you Loretta and family, Sean and Judy, and Chris at KBOO for all the excellent coverage. We had the honor of the Siletz Tribe sponsoring our event at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, and owe a special thanks to Heather and Nicki for making it happen. My friend Jim set us up in Eugene at Old Nick's. A very special Ashland, OR event at the Well Springs was organized by the Folk Goddess Diane Patterson and Sheba. Inspired music was provided by Freedom, Phoenix Sigalove, Sara Tone, Windsong Martin, the Ancient Wild, Diane Patterson, with visuals by Jonathan Singer. We wrapped things up in Oregon with a private house party in Cave Junction, thanks to Dug and Frog.
Lifelong buffalo warrior Greta kicked things off in California for us with a show at the Arcata playhouse. Allie and Lara organized our show in Ukiah. Next we hit the coast in Caspar, CA for a very special evening, thanks again to Lara and her family. Our brother Sampson set us up at the 7 Squid row in Santa Cruz. Tina then put together a music festival at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, CA featuring the Funkanauts and other great bands. The Ecology Center in Berkeley once again helped us out with spreading the word through a joint effort with Hempstead Project Heart. Unfortunately, John Trudell was unable to make it due to health issues. Our prayers are with you brother. Thank you Stephany and KP for housing us and taking care of us.
En route to our Rosebud's Cafe show in Jackson, CA our van's transmission went out. Our friend Megan who had planned on coming to the show saved the day by driving to Stockton, picking us up, and driving us to the show. Thanks to Chuck, Sara, Maggie, and the owners of the cafe for making it all happen. The next day Chuck and I went back and sent to van to the junk yard. Our great Mignon lent us her car to finish the tour. The next show was at SF State University. Thanks Phil! Kieran organized our show at Isla Vista Coop. Next we where treated to five nights at the Vagabond Inn in Ventura, as we did our last three shows, thanks so much to the hotel owners, Chippa Bro, and all the Patagonia folks who gave us this gift. Thanks to Michael at the Patagonia Pasadena store and Bruce at the Patagonia Ventura store for two very enjoyable events.
The final event of BFC's 2015 Roadshow, at the beautiful G-2 Art Gallery in Venice, was put together by Bonnie Flamer, a supporter, photographer, and writer who has been supporting us for years. It was great to meet Bonnie's family who also helped make the event a great success.
During our last week of shows our supporters from all over sent donations, suggestions, ride offers, and offers to rent me a van to get home. A very special donor named Lisa sent an extra special donation and as it turned out we were able to buy a 2003 GMC Yukon that brought me home safely to Montana. A big thanks goes out to KP for finding us the vehicle and setting it all up so when I showed up to the bay area we bought it that day and headed home. Also thanks to Phil who loaned us the money to get the truck that day.
I am very humbled by the great supporters who are always here whenever we need help. You are the reason I have stayed so strong and persistent over the last 18 years. This year strengthened my commitment and I promise I will be here until the buffalo are treated with respect and roam free again. Thank you all for giving me the honor of being with the buffalo. I will never take it for granted.
With the Buffalo,
* Stand With the Buffalo! Front Lines Volunteers Needed for Coming Field Seasson!
BFC patrols look for buffalo in the Gardiner Basin. You, too, can join us on the front lines. We need you! Photo by Stephany Seay, BFC. Click for larger image.
Buffalo Field Campaign has seasonal openings for field volunteers. We have opportunities for every season, but are in great need of folks during our field season which runs from November through May. This is the time of year when wild bison are migrating into Montana and facing death and harassment. Any buffalo within Montana's borders is in danger of being shot on sight, hazed, or captured and shipped to the slaughterhouse. All volunteers are provided room, board, gear, and training in exchange for staffing our field patrols. We cater to most any dietary need. We are located in a warm log cabin by beautiful Hebgen Lake, just a few miles outside of West Yellowstone, Montana, and we also run a camp north of Yellowstone, in the Gardiner Basin. Click on the button above or HERE to learn more and make your plans.
See you on the front lines!
* Bucks for Buffalo: Use Your Spare Change to Create Real Change
Due to popular demand, BFC is reviving our Bucks for Buffalo program. The idea is simple. Merchants post a collection jar near their cash registers and customers donate spare change to protect the buffalo upon checkout. When the donation jars are full, the merchants send these donations to BFC and we use them to fund our work to the protect the buffalo.
Do you run a store or know the perfect merchant in your community? Please write Tara at email@example.com for a Bucks for Buffalo merchant agreement and starter kit.
* TAKE ACTION! Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied
One of the many tools we use to affect change is pressuring decision-makers to do the right thing. Below are two new Take Action items, as well as an ongoing one that still needs everyone’s attention.
1. 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.
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. 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.
* 2016 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendars Available!
Order BFC's 2015 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendars!
Celebrate wild buffalo every day of the year! This is our sixth annual Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country calendar, and it is another wonderful exploration of this country’s largest land mammal. Featuring stunning photos from generous professional photographers such as Sandy Sisti, Tom Mangelsen, and Ric Kessler, along with photos from Buffalo Field Campaign, this calendar also includes incredible artwork, interesting facts, and beautiful poetry and quotes. BFC's 2016 calendar is also dedicated to BFC co-founder Rosalie Little Thunder, our friend and teacher who passed away in August 2014. All proceeds from the calendar go directly to BFC’s front lines work in defense of 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!
* Spread the Word for the Herds! Distribute BFC Newsletters in Your Community
Help spread the word to save the herds! If you would like us to send you a stack of newsletters to place around your community, Tara can help you with that, too. We love that we have supporters who are willing to distribute our annual newsletter, spreading the word to save the herds is one of our main tenets and we are thrilled to have so many volunteers! Shipping can be costly, so please let Tara know an exact number that you feel you are able to distribute and she will happily get them to you ASAP!
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.
* Donations Made in Memory of Wild Bison Advocates
Karen Robertson in memory of Robert Gopher
Rex and Mary Uline in honor of Mary Uline and in memory of Rex
Jon Bennet in memory of Noelle
Jill Tew in memory of Florida's murdered black bears
Arden Allen in memory of my many animal friends
John Nichols in honor of God's creatures
Suzanne Westgaard in memory of Willie
Barbara Van Duren in memory of John J. Hagerman
Hilda Leefeldt in memory of Ernest Callenbach, author of Bring Back the Buffalo and in honor of National Bison Day
Kimberly Tapio-Nuzzo in memory of Mr. James [Jim] Wiley Williams. If not for him, we Chicagoans, may have never road-tripped to the Greater Yellowstone Area, and may have never known the bison herds. Thank you BFC for your relentless work on behalf of the buffalo.
*By the Numbers
The last wild, migratory buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,200 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: 12
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Tribal - ITBC & CSKT Slaughter:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 10
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*
Total Killed Since 2000: 5,659
* 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 ~ Christopher Ketcham
"The word is in from the wildlife biologists. Say goodbye in North America to the gray wolf, the cougar, the grizzly bear. They are destined for extinction sometime in the next 40 years. Say goodbye to the Red wolf and the Mexican wolf and the Florida panther. Gone the jaguar, the ocelot, the wood bison, the buffalo, the California condor, the North Atlantic right whale, the Stellar sea lion, the hammerhead shark, the leatherback sea turtle. That’s just North America. Worldwide, the largest and most charismatic animals, the last of the megafauna, our most ecologically important predators and big ungulates, the wildest wild things, will be the first to go in the anthropogenic extinction event of the Holocene Era...There are five other mass extinction events in the geologic record, stretching back 500 million years. But none were the result of a single species’ overreach.”
~ Christopher Ketcham, award winning journalist and advocate for the West, from his recent article, Extinction, the New Environmentalism, and the Cancer in the Wilderness. Read the full article in Counterpunch.
Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!