* Update from the Field
Buffalo are still absent here in the Hebgen Basin. Patrols are conducting daily recons, searching through the buffalo’s migration corridors, but the gentle giants are keeping themselves out of Montana and, consequently, safe from the killers.
A bull bison approaches a relative's remains, near Beattie Gulch, in the Gardiner Basin. Buffalo have intense family ties and deeply mourn the loss of those whom they love. Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.
Along Yellowstone’s north boundary, in the Gardiner Basin, buffalo haven’t been so lucky. Another eight buffalo have been killed by Confederated Salish & Kootenai (CSKT) hunters who are “harvesting” ecologically extinct wild bison because they have a treaty right to do so. We would suggest that the CSKT and other tribes who hold treaty rights to the Yellowstone region also have a right to healthy, viable populations of wild bison on all federally unoccupied, unclaimed lands. And we would further suggest that the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which is driving the destruction of America’s last continuously wild buffalo herds, is not only violating the lives of wild buffalo, but violating treaty rights as well.
Most of the recent killings in Gardiner took place right outside Yellowstone’s boundary at Beattie Gulch (image), which is a tight bottle-neck corridor that the buffalo attempt to use to make it to other lower-elevation habitat in the Gardiner Basin. Hunters literally line up and wait for buffalo to cross the line from Yellowstone, where they can then be shot. Hunters and bison “managers” are aware that bison will seek the assumed safety of the Park when groups are shot at in this area. We have frequently seen hunters shoot into large and small groups of buffalo here, and the buffalo’s response has been to turn around and flee into the Park. This, according to Yellowstone, causes hunting to not be “effective” at killing enough, which, in turn, triggers Yellowstone’s response to initiate capture-for-slaughter operations. At the last Interagency Bison Management Plan meeting, some tribes had agreed to occasionally withhold from hunting right at the Park boundary to enable at least some buffalo to migrate to other expanses of habitat. Of course, these buffalo would still be pursued and eventually killed by hunters. The CSKT, who have killed the most through hunting this year and in years past, also hold an agreement with Yellowstone National Park to ship buffalo to slaughter. Since the CSKT also ship buffalo to slaughter, it’s not really in their interest to allow the buffalo to move further into the Gardiner Basin.
BFC’s Gardiner patrols have also reported that hunters from other tribes hunting under treaty, who normally start their seasons later in the winter going into early spring, have been arriving to Gardiner. With Yellowstone threatening slaughter, hunters are anxious to kill as many buffalo as possible before capture for slaughter begins. For the buffalo, it doesn’t matter if they cross the Park boundary or not, as they'll likely be killed either way.
Many thanks to our friend and Gardiner resident, Fred Baker, for sharing this image with us. Click for larger view.
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 are based on reality, 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.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* Thank You for Making Giving Tuesday a Huge Success for BFC
This awesome photo is by the wonderfully talented photographer, Sandy Sisti. Click the photo for a larger view.
Giving Tuesday is about creating a meaningful expression of the holidays and inspiring people to support their favorite charities. America's last wild buffalo have thousands of friends around the world and this Giving Tuesday you came together to prove it with a humbling amount of passion and generosity.
Partway through the day we were already very close to meeting our $10,000 goal to qualify for matching funds when we heard from a donor who wanted to up the ante with an additional $2,500 to encourage even more giving. And give you did! More than 230 of you stepped up with contributions ranging from $1 to $2,000, generating a whopping $17,230! Together with the promised matching funds, you contributed almost $30,000 -- all on Giving Tuesday!
As a grassroots organization with very low overhead, all of this money will directly fund BFC's work to protect the buffalo. Frontlines field patrols, our effort to protect the buffalo as an Endangered Species, and our work to replace the current bison management plan will all directly benefit from your contributions.
There would be no BFC without you. Thank you for making our work possible.
For the Buffalo,
Buffalo Field Campaign
* Buffalo in the News
Image by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger view.
A Thousand Bison May Be Killed — Time to End Slaughter
George Wuerthner, The Wildlife News
Mistreatment and Slaughter of Wild, Migratory Bison: Cultural and Moral Considerations
BFC’s Justine Sanchez, The Wildlife News
Agencies Ignoring Obligation to Restore Bison Population
Buffalo Field Campaign, West Yellowstone News
Editorial from the Toledo Blade
And to share with you the mentality that we are up against, here’s a Letter to the Editor in response to “Bison Bloodbath.” BFC has submitted a response to this craziness:
Yellowstone Bison Benefit from this Herd Management
LTE, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
* Stand With the Buffalo! Front Lines Volunteers Needed!
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!
* 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 and Honor of Wild Bison Advocates
Craig Miller in honor of Paul Moss (Happy Birthday, Paul!)
Patrick Dawson in memory of Herman Bearcomesout
Richard Knight in memory of barb abramo
Joyce Kovacs in memory of Alexander Estrada
Jill Tew in memory of Florida's murdered black bears
Lynn Callahan in memory of Sharon Callahan
Elizabeth Gordon in memory of Deb J.
Nancy Mastin in honor of Pearl Brister
Emily Pompei in honor of all who fight for the bison and in memory of the bison we have lost
John Brian in memory of Russell
Hill Snelling in memory of Big Buffalo Henry Snellings
Marlene Hutchison in memory of Larry Hutchison
Jonathan Way in memory of Jon Way
David O'Donnell in honor of The Nez Perce People and in memory of Chief Joseph
Karen Butler in memory of Richard Wulf
Mark & Carol Rickman in memory of Jenna
Allison Lovejoy in memory of Chipmunk
Dianne James in memory of Jennifer Palm
Irene Vasquez in honor of Victor Shea
Priscilla Jansen-Tolland in memory of Jaap
Patricia Gale in memory of Alice & Lawrence Marquiss
*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: 55
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Tribal - ITBC & CSKT Slaughter:
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 8
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 43
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: 5,695
* 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 ~ George Wuerthner
“…[L]ivestock production harms many other species besides bison. Everything from the killing of wolves/grizzlies to the destruction of sage grouse habitat to the dewatering of rivers critical to trout and even global climate change is a consequence of trying to raise beef for human consumption...get friends and neighbors to understand when they consume a hamburger, they are helping to kill wild bison, wolves, and other wildlife.”
~ George Wuerthner, writer and advocate for the wild, from his recent article, “A Thousand Bison May Be Killed — Time to End Slaughter.”
Please keep sending quotes, poems and other words of buffalo wisdom. You'll see them here!