Montana promise bison slaughter was over not true. It continues.

This is from the Buffalo Field Campaign. I edited it to put all their links at the end (suggestion, more people will read the news if they find it quickly). Ralph Maughan


Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 1, 2008


In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Call Out for Summer Volunteers
* Buffalo in the News
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words
* Update from the Field
This week on the Yellowstone National Park’s western boundary, the largest buffalo slaughter since the 18th century continues, even after Montana governor Brian Schweitzer promised two weeks ago that no more buffalo would be killed this season. The Montana Department of Livestock blatantly ignored the governor’s statement, capturing three bull buffalo at the Duck Creek trap on Monday and shipping them to slaughter without testing on Tuesday morning.
The continuation of the buffalo slaughter this week by the Department of Livestock adds insult to injury, with more than a third of the Yellowstone bison population having been eliminated since November, with no signs of stopping. The “historic announcement” issued by governor Schweitzer on April 17th, allowing buffalo more room to roam outside of the park boundaries, apparently has no merit along the park’s western boundary.
Even on the northern boundary of the park, the Park Service still continues to haze and harass the country’s last wild and free-roaming buffalo. 289 bison are currently being held at the Stephen’s Creek trap, some having been confined there for over two months now. The Stephen’s Creek trap has become a glorified buffalo feedlot, with grass and hay rations fed to the buffalo in masses, and just another factor contributing to the over-domestication of these purely wild beings.
Pregnant female bison held in the Stephen’s creek trap have given birth to 27 new calves this week along with 2 stillborn deliveries, making a total of 53 calves born in the trap.  The Park Service is still waiting for ‘green up’ to release the bison from captivity, but the effect of captivity on the newborn calves is yet to be seen. Wild buffalo are migratory animals learning from a young age from the elders in their family groups how to survive. Being born in captivity, these newborn buffalo calves may suffer a severe disadvantage when they must fend for themselves in the wild.
Since the governor’s announcement that the Church Universal and Triumphant and the National Park Service have reached a compromise to allow buffalo room to roam on church lands, things are still bad for buffalo. Bison continue to roam out of the park to the church land in search of winter grasses, and the Park Service continues to haze them back. Any buffalo allowed to remain on the church land must run the ‘gauntlet’ first- they must be captured and tested, then implanted with vaginal transmitters before the Park Service will let them graze on church land, and then only 25 buffalo are allowed at a time.
While the sad news just keeps coming, there is a bright note for buffalo on the western boundary. This is the time of year when our field patrols get to experience first-hand the beauty of new life. With buffalo calving season well underway, our volunteers have had the pleasure of witnessing newborn buffalo taking their first awkward steps into the world. It is obvious by watching these newborns, and after their first few hours of life being able to walk right in pace with the herd by their mothers’ sides, that buffalo are genetically meant to roam. After a long season of slaughter this year, the first-hand experience of witnessing new buffalo life come to this world gives hope and determination for all of us to continue to fight for the rights of the sacred, ancient, beautiful creatures.
Please Contact Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and ask him why he is breaking his promise and continuing the federal tax-payer subsidized slaughter of America last wild, free-roaming bison.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
State Capitol
Helena, MT 59620
(P) (406) 444-3111
Roam Free~
* Call out for Summer Volunteers
Buffalo Field Campaign is in need of hard-working, self-motivated volunteers starting this June to help with cabin maintenance projects and/or to set up Buffalo outreach tables inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Do You Have:
* Construction, carpentry, plumbing, cleaning, or automotive maintenance skills?
* An outgoing personality and knowledge of the issue with a willingness to communicate to visitors in Yellowstone?
If you have any of the skills listed here, then you should come and join us this summer.  All volunteers will be provided with food and lodging at our main cabin outside of West Yellowstone in one of the most naturally beautiful areas of the country. If you have just a few weeks or the whole summer, Buffalo Field Campaign could use your help.
If you are interested in assisting with cabin maintenance projects this summer please contact BFC at: (406) 646-0070
If you are interested in helping with summer outreach projects inside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks please contact Iwi at:
View BFC Video Footage:
* NEW VIDEO! To Protect the Wild Bison
Make a Secure Online Donation to BFC:
Why are they killing the last wild buffalo?
* NEW! Buffalo Field Campaign Blog
Receive BFC’s updates or press releases.
Send your email address to with “sub updates” or “sub press release” in the subject line.
AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2007-2008 Total: 1,604
2007-2008 Slaughter: 1,438
2007-2008 Hunt: 166
2007-2008 Quarantine: 112
Total Since 2000:  3,669*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts
* Buffalo in the News
4/23/08 – People for the Buffalo
Jackson Hole News & Guide
4/25/08 – Montana Food Bank Network Buys Bison Meat
Associated Press
*NOTE:  The agencies have always claimed that they “donate” the meat, heads and hides of slaughtered wild bison to tribal charities and food banks.  Clearly, someone is making money off the slaughter of the last wild buffalo population.
4/28/08 – Where the Buffalo Roam — And Die
CNN ~ Planet in Peril
4/28/08 – The Buffalo Fight Back
Indian Country Today
4/28/08 – Officials Halt Bison Slaughter
Casper Star Tribune (by Brett French of the Billings Gazette)
4/29/08 – Yellowstone Bison Population Halved
United Press International
4/29/08 – Yellowstone Bison Slaughter Halted, Meat Distributed to Food Banks
New West
4/30/08 – Bison Can Thrive Again
Science Daily
* Photo of the Week
Bull bison on Duck Creek.  Three bulls were captured at Duck Creek and subsequently shipped to slaughter this week by Montana Department of Livestock officials.  This photo is in memory of them.
Photo credit and thanks to Price Chambers, Jackson Hole News & Guide (WY).
* Last Words
“In 1880, [Montana] was practically uninhabited. One could travel for miles without seeing so much as a traveler’s bivouac. Thousands of buffalo darkened the rolling plains. There were deer, elk, wolves and coyotes on every hill and in every ravine and thicket. . . . In the fall of 1883, there was not a buffalo remaining on the range and the antelope, elk, and deer were indeed scarce. . . [T]here were 600,000 head of cattle on the range. The cowboy . . . had become an institution.”
Granville Stuart, quoted in Donald Worster, Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Stay informed!  Get our weekly email Updates from the Field:
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Speak Out! Contact politicians and involved agencies today:
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News Submissions or Problems:


  1. Pronghorn Avatar

    Missoula-area folks can learn more and/or show their support for wild bison at a Gathering for the Buffalo this Saturday, May 3rd at noon, large meeting room at the Missoula Public Library. Free and open to the public. Details here

  2. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I am not surprised. Is there anything they do that’s “above board”??

  3. Heather Avatar

    LIke Pronghorn said: This will be a good bit of information for the Buffalo informational gathering at the library in Missoula library this weekend. I think I’ll be asking this question so it is out in the air.

    What is it about being continually lied too? after awhile one becomes very cynical…

  4. vicki Avatar

    I am increasingly cynical as well Heather.
    I get so tired of the song and dance we get from these people.
    We only want to kill a few, we want to save 25 of them. Enough have been killed this year, let’s kill some more. They could spread desease, let’s forget about testing them.
    It is all pathetic and sick.
    Couldn’t their statements about not killing anymore this year be seen as a verbal contract? Haven’t they violated it enough? I hope people will publicize this so the world can see how much their word is really worth-sqwat, nada, zilch!

  5. kim kaiser Avatar

    one of the aritcles i read the other day, quoted the mouthpiece for the park, Nash, saying, if they come out next year, they will be slaughtered again,, i am just curious as to how many they will kill if weather is severe like it was this year

  6. JB Avatar


    What we have are agencies captured by livestock interests that need a reason for actions that are clearly arbitrary and ill-conceived. We need a couple of favorable decisions from the courts (and a Federal administration change) and then the bison can be petitioned for listing as endangered (which it clearly is).

  7. dbaileyhill Avatar

    I posted this quote on another thread, and do not know who said it.

    “Society is like a pot of soup. It needs to be stirred often to keep scum from forming on the top”.

    I intend to trade my spoon for an electric mixer.

    I got a price from my printer guy today. What i am doing is having bright lime card stock printed on both sides. It is one package of stock-(250 sheets)- that is recycled paper and cost 15 dollars. Each 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece will be cut into 8 cards, for handing out in the park. It’s 30 dollars for 2,004 individual cards from 250 sheets of card stock.
    Lime green for two reasons: 1. it’s a really bright color, and 2. If any get dropped on the ground they will be easy to spot and pick up.
    The small card will fit in pockets for convenience, and hopefully less likely to end up in the garbage.
    2,004 cards printed front and back for a total of 45 dollars.
    That’s .0224 cents per card.
    I will be handing the cards out while i am in the park this month. I was thinking that it would be great to have a lot of these cards to hand out during our protest in July.
    I can e-mail the template to take to your own printer. Or if you cannot find a good price and want to pitch in some cash i can have my printer do them.

    I checked prices for various items to give away, and all were very expensive. Unless a huge amount was purchased, but then the cash needed was an enormous amount. (The prices were wholesale).

  8. kim kaiser Avatar

    if you are talking about doing it in yellowstone, i would think they wourl be frowning on handing out flyers and stuff.., jsut a thought,,

  9. dbaileyhill Avatar

    That’s already been checked out. Thanks Kim.

  10. Bill Horn Avatar
    Bill Horn

    This whole thing makes me want to finally leave this country for good.

  11. vicki Avatar

    Don’t count the country out yet Bill, there are good people trying to make things right.

  12. vicki Avatar

    I am getting ready for my family’s annual trip to YNP. Today while packing I had a very sinking realization. I will have to actively try to spot a bison in the park this summer.
    Wow, I have been going to the park for over 30 years. I can not remember a time in the last 12 when I ahven’t driven by so many bison that we stopped counting them.
    It is so sinking to realize that while for years I drove by, hiked by, or fished near bison without giving them a second thought. But this year, I will not likely even see them in mass, as I have for so long. I am so ashamed to have taken them for granted.
    I came home from packing things into my trailer, and walked immediately to my photos. I began looking through the photos of countless bison, I have colected for so many years. Then I began to stare at them, and a lump formed in my throat. I know while I look at the photos, especially recent shots, that the bison I am looking at are most likely dead.
    That is a truth I could easily handle if I knew they’d died a natural or wild death. But I am so sickened that they were wasted, and abused in their final hours. They were herded like cows, and slaughtered without dignity, without the dignity that these noble beasts deserve.
    The repercussion of this years hazing and slaughter is going to be heard long and far.
    Undoubtedly we will hear, the bison are in trouble because of the wolves, and oh-it was the hard winter that did it.
    I wish. I wish we could attribute it to something natural. But, sadly, we are stuck with the truth that they died a cruel and wasteful death at the hands of an inhumane government that is coersed and paid for, they are dead courtesy of greed and cows.
    I used to get stuck in bison jams as the herds crossed roads and held up traffic. This year it is more likely that the jams will be people who line the roads desperately trying to get a glimpse of a rare bison.

  13. jjordan Avatar

    We drove into the park through the North entrance yesterday, snow still covers much of the ground and most of the Bison are still starving. they are still strugling down the road to walk towards the gate. The calves don’t look good and I suspect the mortality rate might be very high.

  14. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Thanks for the update, grim though it is.

  15. Buffaloed Avatar


    That quote is from Edward Abbey. He also said:

    “The purpose and function of government is not to preside over change but to prevent change. By political methods when unavoidable, by violence when convenient.”

    This too:

    “The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies–and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West”

  16. jjordan Avatar

    Sorry Ralph, I forgot to mention that we also witnessed Park personal dragging a dead Bison out of a field using a front end loader and chains in front of a shocked group of onlookers. Looks like Suzanne is a bit concerned about summer tourist seeing a bunch of dead bison along the road when they drive into the park. Not a good thing for the predators either.

  17. jjordan Avatar

    Here is the link to the 2008 Summer YNP Newspaper Publication

    If you Scroll down to the issues in Yellowstone/Bison Management Section, (When Bison leave the park) you can read the blatant disinformation and propaganda they are going to feed the tourist this summer, by omitting that they Routinely allow Bison to be slaughtered after they leave the park.

  18. vicki Avatar

    I read the link, then proceeded to the NPS web site. I went to the contact NP page about their site, etc.
    I sent a very specific email demanding that they tell the whole truth in their guides. I asked why they fail to mention that they help round up bison inside the park. I asked why they left out the fact that the bison rounded up are slaughtered in mass. I asked why they left out the fact that a massive number of bison have been killed, leaving a struggling population to try to survive winter. Why did they intentionally mention that the bison remaining will have to be the limited genetic pool for all future bison. I asked why they failed to say that bison have never been proven to have transmitted brucellosis to any cow, ever.
    I demanded that they remember their mission is to protect natural resources and wildlife-not the cows outside of the park.
    Maybe everyone else should email them too.

  19. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Bison activists have been asking these questions for years. It’s about time the public asks them too.

  20. vicki Avatar

    Very true!!!! We (myself, dbh, and a few others from here, are rounding up some public and taking a trip to YNP in July. You are welcome to join us. We aim to ask questions and get others to ask also.)
    On a note of gratitude-thanks BFC for your endless work.

  21. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Thank you for the quotes. They give words to some of my thoughts. Abbey could not have said it better. He gets right to the point.

  22. jjordan Avatar

    I didn’t get to the park this weekend but the OF web cam is showing fresh now again this morning. I just don’t see how any of the Bison are going to survive, especially the new born calf’s

    Web Cam


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan