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           Weekly Update from the Field December 10, 2015
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Bison Slaughter Contradicted by Science; John Trudell Journeys On‏
* Update from the Field
* Warrior Poet John Trudell Journeys On
* Buffalo in the News
* Stand With the Buffalo! Field Volunteers Needed
* TAKE ACTION and Help BFC Protect the Buffalo
* Thank You Patagonia’s Dillon, MT Outlet Store!
* 2016 Wild Bison of Yellowstone Country Calendars Available
* Help Spread the Word ~ Distribute BFC’s Annual Newsletter
* Donations Made in Memory and Honor of Bison Advocates
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration ~ John Trudell

* Update from the Field

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

Six more buffalo have been killed by state and treaty hunters since our last Update. All were killed near Gardiner, on Yellowstone's northern edge. Most were taken just over the park border, at Beattie Gulch, a tight bottleneck migration corridor that we have come to refer to as The Killing Fields, or Bloody Gulch. The death toll is now sixty-one bison. With every buffalo that steps into Montana getting shot, there are currently none around. This is exactly how Montana livestock interests want it. West of Yellowstone, in the Hebgen Basin, the land is also absent of her beloved buffalo.

Yellowstone National Park claims that the current bison population is hovering at a mere 4,900 individuals. They are aiming to drive this vulnerable population down by about 1,000 this year, and plan to continue the destruction until America’s last wild buffalo are reduced to 3,000 or fewer. Yellowstone conducts a bison population estimate each year, and has always issued a press release revealing the results. This year, they “forgot” to release information to the public, claiming they were too busy dealing with the media surrounding their killing of the grizzly bear known as "Blaze." They also said that the public was not informed of the bison population estimate due to turnover in their public information department. While communicating with the public may not be important to the Park Service, slaughtering bison sure is. Buffalo Field Campaign has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking documentation on the park’s bison population estimate and bison distribution. These population estimates are often used to “justify” sending large numbers of buffalo to slaughter, or encouraging hunters to kill hundreds of them.

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

Yellowstone and the other Interagency Bison Management Plan signatories have recently been called to task for slaughtering the world’s most important bison population. We have always known that the Yellowstone herds are critical to the survival of the species, and the scientific evidence has yet again shown that this is true. The Yellowstone buffalo harbor 75% of the genetics of the entire species and their ancestry can be traced back to pre colonial days. We knew this, but again science has proven it, suggesting that the slaughter of these buffalo “is not smart.” You can read the full article here. This new scientific information could not have come at a better time, just ahead of Yellowstone's planned slaughter. This information could also help with our efforts to list Yellowstone bison under the Endangered Species Act (PDF).

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, even if you have already, don’t stop until the buffalo are free to roam!

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

* Warrior Poet John Trudell Journeys On

John Trudell and Mike Mease during the 2012 West Coast Road Show. Photo by Madonna Dunbar. Click the photo for a larger view.

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Honoring John Trudell
Rest In Peace

Buffalo Wild
A poem by John Trudell, put to music by Good Shield and Mignon Geli and video produced by Mike Mease of Buffalo Field Campaign. A powerful anthem to the wisdom of the buffalo.

In a time where our leaders have no direction or plans for our children's future, a visionary man has left this earthly plane to guide us from above. On December 8, 2015 John Trudell passed to the next dimension. His words showed the way back to ways that work for all people and the planet. I had the honor of calling this great man my friend. John's words were only one of his many gifts to this earth. His actions and activism were also an inspiration. Today's activists have no idea how easy we have it and it is because of great warriors like John. He paid for his actions with retaliation of family members being murdered, and this never stopped him. He gathered strength from this loss and never stopped leading by example. I am hopeful that in his passing we can learn from his words and actions that we need to unite to create positive change. Diversity should be our strength; we don't need to be clones of each other to work together, that is dictatorship and only divides us. Nowadays too much of the focus of activism has been in criticizing other other activists, dividing and conquering the handful of people who care enough to actually act. I know firsthand that it is scary to face our enemies and there is a consequence when actions are taken, but that is how we create change. Now is the time to be a real activist and fight the real enemies, the real enemies of life on this planet - not each other. John paid for his actions with the loss of his wife, three children, and mother in law. Rather than silencing him, this only made him stronger. We need to lead our lives in this direction and quit helping the other side by dividing ourselves. Take the time to learn from John's words, poems, and wisdom and be the change you want to see. We are our only hope. One of his many gifts to the buffalo is in the video below "Buffalo Wild." With few words he tells the story and shows the ignorance of what continues to happen. Take the time to listen to John's poems, songs, and videos he left behind for us. I vow to make my life's work something John would be proud of and I extend this challenge to each of you. The many gifts John left for us to learn from are alive, please use them in your life. Thanks John for all you taught me and continue to teach me, I am still listening, learning, and will do so until I join you again. My prayers, heartfelt hugs, and love go out to John's family, friends, and all the people who mourn his passing. It is our job now to make him live forever in our daily lives. Thanks John for all you have done for me my friend.

With the Buffalo,
Mike Mease
Co-Founder of Buffalo Field Campaign

P.S. You can read another beautiful piece honoring John Trudell, written by an incredible buffalo supporter.

* Buffalo in the News

Image by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click for larger view.

Molecular look at Yellowstone bison reveals distinctions, histories
Billings Gazette

Researcher says Yellowstone bison hold key to species’ genetic future
Casper Star Tribune

Bison bloodbath: Yellowstone plans slaughter of 1,000 bison
Counterpunch ~ George Wuerthner

Bison on its way to becoming national mammal
Billings 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.

* Thank You Patagonia’s Dillon, MT Outlet Store!


A few photos from this wonderful benefit, anniversary, and holiday celebration with the Patagonia Outlet Store in Dillon, Montana. Photos by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photos for larger image.

On Friday night, BFC traveled through the Madison and Ruby Valleys to Dillon, Montana, to celebrate the Patagonia Outlet store’s hootenanny in honor of their 25th anniversary and the holiday season. The theme was buffalo and their image roamed all over the store! Patagonia offered us a table space so we could talk to attendees and conduct outreach for the buffalo, and with the place fully packed, we were able to talk to many different folks. Dillon is most definitely a ranching community and a lot of rancher-types were in attendance, but there was no trouble. And, to our surprise, we even had some good discussions with some, and a few even signed our Endangered Species Act petition! There was delicious food, and beer was provided by the local Beaverhead Brewing Company, who probably worked harder than anyone that night! Patagonia provided the brewing company stainless steel pint cups that folks could get for a $5 donation to BFC. The event was a huge success and the brewing company nearly ran out of cups! It was a wonderful night of celebrating buffalo, seeing old friends, and making new ones. Patagonia has always given us tremendous support, and they continue to be one of our largest allies. We can’t thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do! Special thanks to Beth Sullivan for making us feel so welcome and offering us this wonderful opportunity!

* 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 buffalo@wildrockies.org.

* Donations Made in Memory and Honor of Wild Bison Advocates

Susan Ponchot in memory of Joey

Barbara Van Duren in memory of John Hagerman

Melinda Bloom in memory of Dad

Mary Grimm in memory of James Grimm

Jon Drake-Vladimirtsevin memory of Will Drake

Dana Barraclough in honor of John W

Vicky Newman in memory of Job Parrish

Marc Diller in memory of Cheyenne Diller

Kevin & Rosetta Hoessli in memory of Rae Evening Earth Ott

Thomas Novitsky in honor of all my Students- Past, present and future and in memory of the Fallen Millions

Medora Woods in memory of Rosalie Little Thunder

Karla Brandt in memory of 8,634 murdered Yellowstone bison

Carlo Popolizio in honor of Ben Hitchner

Myra Woods in honor of John Milliner

Dabney Griggs in memory of Wylie

Alberto Galvan in memory of Arlene Daisy

Carol Halberstadt in honor of Janet King

Joyce Grajczyk in memory of All the Slain Buffalo

Marcia Mueller in memory of the bison victims

Trisha Flaherty in memory of All the unborn bison killed each spring

Tracy Basile in memory of Rosalie Little Thunder

April Christofferson-Leach in honor of Michael Leach

Ray Ayer in memory of Ray Ayer

Susan Bailey-Pruc in honor and memory of Nancy Bailey

Jacqui Zink in honor and memory of the Buffalo!

Kevin Ann Harvey in memory of James M Harvey

Feather Sherman in memory of Rosalie Little Thunder

Dianne Douglas in memory of Shawnee, Cheyanne, Bailey, Shelby, Sydney, Dante, Mollie, Ivory and all my other pets that have pasted. God Bless and protect!

April Christofferson in honor of Kathleen Stachowski and Chris Barnes

Rolling Mountain in honor of barb abramo

*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: 61
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: 9
State “Damage" Hunts:
Treaty Hunts: 48
Unknown Hunts:
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: 5,701

* 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 ~ John Trudell

coyote logics (11/30/2015)

flying with the clouds
tracing the blue in the sky
out of reach
of within reach

distant trails of distant trials
dissolving in long forgotten tears
while the moon kissed the sun
and he was next in line

the stars threw him fire
knowing he loved the heat
pulsing from magic light
bringing him out of the shadows


coyote logics (12/1/15)

he woke up in a familiar high knowing it was time to change dream worlds
waiting at the station for his ride enjoying the colors in awe of the swirl and blur in between dimensions

where dying to live is different than dying to die and continuation has no use for beginning and endings that traumatized lives devote to fear


coyote logics (12/3/15)

wearing his ghost suit he zoomed through realities ln the realms of torn a parts people with holes in their hearts
in the way lies cry with tears falling backwards they hid their scars in masks over their eyes
he was glad he was wearing his ghost suit


coyote logics (12/8/15)

My ride showed up
Celebrate love. Celebrate life.

~ John Trudell, February 15, 1946 - December 8, 2015

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

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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.

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