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           Weekly Update from the Field December 17, 2015
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Update from the Field
* Why Did He Have to Die? By Deleana Baker, BFC Volunteer
* Buffalo in the News
* Stand With the Buffalo! Field Volunteers Needed
* TAKE ACTION and Help BFC Protect the Buffalo
* 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 ~ David Brower

* Update from the Field

A beautiful glimpse of the hills and mountains above the Gardiner Basin, on a frigid but enchanting Tuesday morning. Photo by Spencer Morris, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.

BFC patrols continue to be out in the field all day, every day, monitoring buffalo migration corridors along the north and west boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. We are very pleased to report that buffalo have been keeping themselves alive since our last Update. Recent hunting pressure along Yellowstone’s north boundary in the Gardiner Basin has driven many buffalo to seek shelter deeper in the park, outside of Montana’s killing fields. Recent snowfall has had us worried that this would trigger a large migration into the hunt zones but both the buffalo and their BFC defenders were able to take a breath and enjoy this brief respite.

Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!

* Why Did He Have to Die? By Deleana Baker, BFC Volunteer

A gentle bull buffalo peacefully grazes in the Gardiner Basin, hours before he was killed by hunters. Photo by Deleana Baker, Buffalo Field Campaign. Click photo for larger image.

His beautiful body rumbled across the land. His presence was one of beauty and wisdom. Every single magnificent muscle radiated with purpose.

As I came over the hill his gentle eyes rose to greet me as if to say, "I know you, we are the same." Whether I imagined these words as a means to comfort my own sorrow for the events to come, or whether it was this beautiful buffalo's true feelings, I guess I will never know. But in that moment, however brief it may have been, our eyes met with a look of mutual understanding before he tilted his powerful head back to the ground and continued to graze. I left my four legged brother with the only advice a mere human could give to such a wise animal, "stay safe." We both went on our separate paths. I continued with my fellow volunteers on our patrol while he continued to follow his instincts, not knowing they could be leading him to danger.

Just mere hours latter, although it felt like days, I saw my friend again...

After checking on his brothers and sisters and finding them all safe and sound, we made our way back to this lone bull. In my heart I was sure I would find him in the same condition. Coming around the corner expecting to see his gentle figure making its way across his natural landscape, instead I was greeted with an image of a group of hunters gathered around the now still body of this beautiful creature. One pointed down in excitement as if to show that he had somehow proven his own strength by destroying such a strong animal. Hit by the realization that not only would this wise buffalo never again get to fallow his instincts wherever they may have taken him, but I also would never again get to look into his deep brown eyes. Never truly get to understand the wisdom he imparted on me with his gaze. With this realization all I can do is to hope with all my heart and fight with all my soul for his future brothers and sisters to be allowed to follow their own wisdom and instincts to wherever that may take them... TO ROAM FREE !

To you my departed four-legged brother, with every piece of my being, I am sorry you had to die. I will always remember the moment when your gaze met mine, and I will hope for a day when our eyes will meet again.

Deleana Baker
BFC Volunteer

Written after her first week in Gardiner, early December, 2015

* Buffalo in the News

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

Letter: Livestock politics are imperiling a national treasure (BFC)
Pittsburg Post Gazette

Mike Mease: His words were a gift to the Earth
John Trudell Tribute
Indian Country Today

* Read all of the wonderful tributes to John Trudell
Indian Country Today

Mysterious buffalo herd runs amok in Canadian prairies
Associated Press

* 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

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.

* 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

Carrie Bennett in memory of John Trudell

April R Gavin in memory of John Trudell

Paula & Stephen Hamon Fund on behalf of Matt Hamon

Jennifer Gifford in honor of Judy Gifford

Bridgette Pregliasco in honor of Traci Jo Partin

*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 ~ David Brower

“Every time I’ve compromised, I’ve lost. When I held firm I won. The problem with too many environmentalists today is that they are trying to write the compromise instead of letting those we pay to compromise do it. They think they get power by taking people to lunch, or being taken to lunch, when in reality they are only being taken.”

~ David Brower, 1994

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