By Stephany Seay, Media Coordinator
Photos by Thia Martin.
Another hazing operation, the second of the year, took place yesterday.
More than fifty buffalo, with at least twenty calves, were chased from habitat on the south side of the Madison River by three Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents.
The agents have been itching to haze buffalo, and yesterday they got their thrill, though it is questionable if these unjustified actions were legal. The Governor’s year-round habitat decision contains contradictory language and maps, and it seems the different agencies are interpreting it differently.
According to BFC’s recent discussions with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), lands south of the Madison River and east to the South Fork are part of the buffalo’s year-round habitat. Instead of the language, the DOL is going by the map, which shows less habitat. These agencies, who are supposed to be working together, are clearly not on the same page, and the DOL is taking advantage of the confusion.
After being chased through a forest heavily covered with fallen trees, the buffalo were forced to swim across the Madison. Exhausted after such abuse, the buffalo quickly bedded down, grazed, or began nursing as soon as the DOL quit harassing them.
Photos by Stephany, BFC.
Buffalo in other portions of Hebgen Basin are enjoying themselves, roaming around as they please, and many others have already migrated into Yellowstone on their own. The majority of the people who live in Horse Butte’s Yellowstone Village are having some of their dreams come true, waking up in the company of wild buffalo who are under no threat from the government agents.
It is still taking us some time for this monumental achievement to sink in, but we are celebrating!
Most of the baby buffalo in the Hebgen Basin have never experienced being hazed, and hopefully they never will. Obviously, there are still threats on lands south of the Madison River, and we’re pressing the agencies to get on the same page.
We will continue to do what it takes to erase all of the lines in the sand until wild buffalo may roam wherever they want.
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!