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Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 21, 2009

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Complain to FAA About the DOL’s Helicopter Use
* Traditional Prayer Ceremony on Horse Butte May 31
* Join BFC on the Front Lines
* Thank You! BFC’s Media Crew Receives Laptops
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

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* Update from the Field

DOL helicopter hazing bison. Photo courtsey of Lance Koudele

DOL helicopter hazing bison. Photo courtsey of Lance Koudele

The Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park continue to aggressively haze any wild bison in Montana. The sounds of the rotating blades of the Department of Livestock’s helicopter can be heard outside the media cabin this morning as I write. Just a few miles from here, on cattle-free Horse Butte and other areas of Gallatin National Forest, the buffalo are currently under attack by livestock interests. BFC patrols are with the buffalo, documenting all actions made against them. The scenes we’ve been witnessing are the stuff of nightmares.

Newborn bison calf. Photo courtesy of Lyle and Sue Wood

Newborn bison calf. Photo courtesy of Lyle and Sue Wood

Within a single week, at least four newborn buffalo have suffered broken legs or debilitating leg injuries as a result of government hazing activities. All injuries have been documented by Buffalo Field Campaign. You can view footage of last week’s injured calf. Be advised that these images are difficult to watch, but take inspiration from the mother bison defending her calf. We don’t know the fate of this calf, though the calf that was separated from it’s mother during last week’s hazing operations was reunited with her the following day. Unfortunately, during today’s hazing operation, another mother and calf were separated, and patrols are currently monitoring the mother as she searches for her lost baby.

On Friday the DOL chased all of the bull bison that had been grazing in the Duck Creek area, deep into Yellowstone National Park. By Monday, eleven bulls had returned to their chosen ground, and the DOL resumed their harassment operations forcing them into Yellowstone, through the Park’s grizzly bear closure area. Patrols documented bulls being shot with paint balls by the agents. This is a way the DOL marks the
buffalo, so if they return again the agents can deem them “unhazable” and send them to slaughter if they feel like it. It is critical to note that, while the risk of brucellosis transmission from wild bison to cattle is only theoretical at best (it has never happened), bull bison pose no risk of transmitting the livestock disease to cattle, a fact echoed even by the livestock industry. What’s more, there are no cattle currently in the area. Furthermore, the Adaptive Management Plan states that bull bison are allowed to be within zone 2 lands year round, an area approximately five miles west of Yellowstone’s boundary. These bulls were in their favorite Duck Creek migration corridor, which, while still within the so-called tolerance zone, the agencies Adaptive Plan deems off limits to them, wantonly setting the buffalo up to fail.

Bull buffalo near Duck Creek. Photo courtesy of Lance Koudele

Bull buffalo near Duck Creek. Photo courtesy of Lance Koudele

On Tuesday DOL, NPS, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) horsemen began the day by chasing two moms and two babies off of Gallatin National Forest for a few miles through the thick woods, then they picked up another 30 buffalo, including more newborns, and proceeded to chase them out of this area, and into Yellowstone. On Wednesday, agents returned again to this cattle-free, public lands buffalo habitat to haze yet another group of mixed buffalo, including three newborns. BFC patrols documented another calf injured by the agents’ activities. After reviewing our footage, we could see that the calf had a deep cut on its right hind leg, disabling the calf and preventing it from using the leg. Yet the agents were unrelenting and pressed them hastily forward, “yipping” and “hooting” as if on a cattle drive. During yesterday’s haze, another two moms and two babies eluded the DOL for the remainder of the day, though the agents tried numerous times to find and harass them.

Today, the agents are back harassing buffalo within Gallatin National Forest on Horse Butte and the south side of the Madison River. A group of approximately forty buffalo, including newborn calves, returned to their sanctuary on the Galanis property at Horse Butte. We expected another showdown by livestock inspectors, who force their zero-tolerance of wild bison on private land where buffalo are welcome. Last week, the Galanis’ son was threatened with arrest on his own land by DOL agent Shane Grube. The Galanis family was prepared to defend the buffalo and their property rights against the DOL’s helicopter again today, but by morning, the buffalo had moved to adjacent National Forest land, and the agents swept them up with the helicopter and horsemen, who are now pushing the buffalo along the northwest bluffs of the Madison River towards Yellowstone National Park. The hazing will not stop at Yellowstone’s border, but will continue deep into the Park. Patrols have called in two more reports of calves who’s legs have been injured by hazing activities. That’s four calves in one week, and these are just the ones we know of. Likely there have been many more injuries to newborns, yearlings and adults. Further, agents are running the buffalo for miles, without allowing them to stop for water, nor allowing calves to stop for nursing. By the end of the day, these buffalo will have been chased nearly 20 miles. There will never be cattle in this area, yet livestock interests continue to deny the buffalo access to their native habitat – America’s public lands – and the private lands where buffalo are welcome.

The buffalo will never surrender their ancient migratory instincts to arbitrary human boundaries, fences, or time lines. “We the People” must continue to stand with the buffalo and force the agencies to abandon their arrogant and senseless actions against wild bison. Cattle aren’t present on public lands in this region, yet millions of federal tax dollars continue to be squandered to placate the livestock industry’s economic interests. History is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t act. Please continue to write President Barack Obama and your Members of Congress and the decision-makers involved in this absurd management scheme. We must keep pressure applied for as long as it takes to set the buffalo free.

ROAM FREE!

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* Complain to FAA About DOL’s Helicopter Use

You can make your voice heard to the Federal Aviation Administration and file a complaint about how an FAA-registered helicopter is being used by the Montana Department of Livestock to harass and harm members of America’s last wild population of bison. The helicopter disrupts the entire ecosystem and all its inhabitants, including wild bison, grizzly bears, wolves, nesting birds such as Sand Hill cranes, bald and golden eagles, and white pelicans. Human residents on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park are also disturbed by the use of the helicopter, which flies extremely low through neighborhoods to scare up bison, hazing them towards Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park has shamefully allowed the DOL’s helicopter to intrude within the boundaries of the world’s first national park. Please contact the FAA to complain about the use of the DOL’s helicopter (registered N1095T) during bison hazing operations. If enough complaints are received, we may be able to stop the helicopter from being used, or at least make it very difficult for the DOL to find a helicopter that is willing to participate in such aggressive tactics.

Thank you!

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* Traditional Prayer Ceremony on Horse Butte May 31

We are honored to announce that on Sunday, May 31, beginning at 11 am, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, along with Lakota elder and BFC co-founder Rosalie Little Thunder, will come to Montana to hold a traditional ceremony on Horse Butte in honor of the buffalo. The event is co-sponsored by Buffalo Field Campaign, Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo, and Seventh Generation Fund’s Tatanka Oyate Project.

All are welcome. Following the ceremony there will be a pot luck community meal in the town of West Yellowstone. Please RSVP with Stephany.

For more information, including directions and media protocall, please see our press release about this special ceremony.

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* BFC Needs You on the Front Lines!

BFC is looking for summer volunteers to help with outreach in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Talking to park visitors who are in the company of the buffalo we are trying to protect is a great way to raise awareness and make more friends for the buffalo. If you would like to spend some or all of your summer with BFC, please contact Chris at volunteer@buffalofeildcampaign.org or call 406-646-0070.

See you in West Yellowstone in the land of the last wild buffalo!

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* Thank You! BFC’s Media Crew Receives Laptops

Buffalo Field Campaign would like to send out many heartfelt thanks to those who answered our calls for laptops. The generosity of BFC supporters Chris & Bob Anderlik, their daughter Kerry Masters, and rock-and-roll’s living legends Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne have enabled our media crew to grow technologically, and expand our capabilities of sharing the buffalo’s story with the world. We are so grateful to you for your extreme generosity in helping us acquire two high-quality laptops. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! We are always in need of upgrading our computers, cameras, FM radios and still cameras to keep up with the changing times, so if you can help, please contact us at 406-646-0070 or email Stephany or Mike.

BFC’s Media Crew
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* Last Words

“Almost anywhere and everywhere you go in the American West you find hordes of [cows]…. They are a pest and a plague. They pollute our springs and streams and rivers. They infest our canyons, valleys, meadows, and forests. They graze off the native bluestems and grama and bunch grasses, leaving behind jungles of prickly pear. They trample down the native forbs and shrubs and cacti. They spread the exotic cheatgrass, the Russian thistle, and the crested wheat grass. Weeds. Even when the cattle are not physically present, you see the dung and the flies and the mud and the dust and the general destruction. If you don’t see it, you’ll smell it. The whole American West stinks of cattle.”

~ The late Edward Abbey, conservationist and author, in a speech at the University of Montana in 1985

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* Kill Tally

AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2008-2009 Total: 17

2008-2009 Slaughter: 0
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 1
2008-2009 Highway Mortality: 16

2007-2008 Total: 1,631

Total Since 2000: 3,698*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities

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Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-0070
bfc-media@wildrockies.org
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

KEEP BFC ON THE FRONTLINES WITH A TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION TODAY

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ROAM FREE!

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

4 Responses to Hazing Continues, More Calves Injured.

  1. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    This is such bull when they are on private land that welcomes them or on National Forest land that is cattle-free. Every time I see a newborn calf in the park I hope that it gets to live its life without being harassed like that. I know buffalo will not be able to live everywhere they once did but it seems that Montana could relent at least a little.

  2. avatar April Clauson says:

    Wish we could shoot the harasser’s with paint ball too, see how they like it. Actually rock salt and cyane pepper would be better. this just make’s me sick to hear about, private land, and they still are at it….long live the wonderful wild west….

  3. I hope some people will be at the prayer ceremony on Sunday; it’s always important to reflect, especially on the land where all this happens.

    And, afterwards, it will be good to talk and congregate.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Ken!

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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