Today's statement by Buffalo Field Campaign on the hazing


Press Contacts:
Janae & Rob Galanis, 406-646-4848
Ed & Vicky Millspaugh, Hebgen Lake Estates, 406-646-9176, (cell) 406-580-0321
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – With horses, a helicopter, state and federal law enforcement, and U.S tax dollars to spend, Montana Department of Livestock agents have descended upon the cattle-free Horse Butte Peninsula, violating private property rights and upsetting human and wildlife residents in an attempt to chase wild American bison out of Montana and into Yellowstone National Park.

“These actions underscore the arrogance of the Department of Livestock, cattle industry, and agencies carrying out the Interagency Bison Management Plan,” said Mike Mease, co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign. “There are no cattle out here and the landowners want the buffalo around, yet the government-funded cowboys act like the only private property rights that matter are those pertaining to cattle.”

The Horse Butte peninsula is a 26,000-acre landscape encompassing both public (Gallatin National Forest) and private property. It is 100% cattle-free at all times of the year. Horse Butte provides critical winter range and calving grounds for American bison. The majority of Horse Butte residents welcome bison, but do not welcome the presence of the Montana Department of Livestock. Homeowners have expressed their wishes that the DOL refrain from chasing bison off of their land, but these wishes continue to be ignored.

“I am a fully disabled veteran. I went to war–nearly getting killed several times–for their rights and my rights and now they’re taking it away from me by violating my private property rights,” said Ed Millspaugh, Horse Butte property owner and president of Hebgen Lake Estates. “Is this the way Montana wants to treat its vets?”

Buffalo Field Campaign documented Department of Livestock agents harassing wild bison, including newborn calves, chasing them off of the Galanis property using a helicopter, which they flew at about 20 feet above the ground, violating airspace. Fence lines were damaged in the opereation.

The Galanis family, shaken and distraught over today’s actions by the DOL, refrained from immediate comment until they are able to assess the damage caused by the operation. As soon as the Galanis family took ownership of the former Munns’ Ranch, they immediately placed signs around their 700+-acre property defining it as a “Buffalo Safe Zone,” the largest in Montana.

“The Galanis family removed the problem by removing the cattle on Horse Butte,” said Stephany Seay, a spokeswoman for Buffalo Field Campaign. “Now we need to remove the Department of Livestock.”

Buffalo Field Campaign also documented as DOL agent Shane Grube and another DOL agent, both on horseback, chased one wild bull bison off of other private properties within Yellowstone Village housing area. Residents came from their homes to scorn the DOL’s actions and asked them to leave the premises. The residents were ignored.

“The Interagency Bison Management Plan is supposed to be adaptive, so adapt!” said Mease. “The fact that there are no cattle on Horse Butte is a significant change and it means the Department of Livestock has absolutely no reason to be there harassing bison!”

In March of 2008, Horse Butte homeowners, Buffalo Field Campaign, and Earthjustice called on state and federal officials to stop hazing, capturing, and killing bison that migrate onto Horse Butte. View the letter and press release at

There are no cattle currently grazing in the Hebgen Lake region, and they may not be trucked into the region until early July. There is no risk of brucellosis transmission at this time. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle.

More than 1,700 wild American bison have been eliminated from the remaining wild population this winter under actions carried out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), as well as state and treaty hunts. Bison are a migratory species native to vast expanses of North America and are ecologically extinct everywhere in the United States outside of Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo Field Campaign strongly opposes the Interagency Bison Management Plan and maintains that wild bison should be respected as a valued native wildlife species and allowed to naturally and fully recover themselves throughout their historic native range, especially on public lands.

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the wild American buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo and their habitat and advocate for their lasting protection. BFC has proposed real alternatives to the current mismanagement of American bison that can be viewed at For more information, video clips and photos visit:



  1. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Well, I just sent this letter to the Governor, I am not a happy Camper!

    Dear Governor Schweitzer….

    The reason for my letter is the address the illegal violation of private property owners rights today in the Horse Butte area of West Yellowstone, Montana.

    I am gravely disturbed that a state agency has violated the property rights and wishes of the property owners in the Bison hazing operation.

    When we elected you, 4 years ago, you promised change on the Bison Management issue, to date, other than a token move, you have virtually done nothing, this is very disappointing, you are the first Democrat I have ever voted for, in my adult life, that goes back 28 years!

    How can the Montana Dept of Livestock justify, hazing Bison, off private land, against the private land owners wishes? There is no threat of transmission of brucellosis in this area as cattle do not range there any longer and they are NOT hazing Elk which is also a carrier of the disease.

    It is a disgrace how the state of Montana treats the last remaining wild Bison population in the United States. I am sorry, I will no longer be able to support the actions of this government, I was a believer in you, but no longer, and will do as I did with Conrad Burns, and that is to mount a campaign to remove you from the office of Governor, your campaign promises have been hollow and untrue, I stop short of calling you a lier, but not very short.

    The people of Montana are again, being shown in a very poor light to the rest of the Nation, as well as the world in our management of wild Bison…

    Good luck in your next election bid, because I can assure you, all of my efforts will be directed to taking you out of office.

  2. Salle Avatar

    This is obviously a travesty of the public trust as well as a demonstration of the obvious disdain these politicians and agency personnel have for nature and it’s function in their wellbeing.

  3. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    I don’t think we’ll ever win this fight at the ballot box or through electoral politics – it’s always more of the same because the same industry is pulling the levers of power no matter who it is.

    We have to embarrass these politicians while continuing to organize the local population. They already spend too much on these programs; however, they obviously feel they can absorb the cost. We need to make it that much more costly for them. That means more people willing to stand in their way. That owners in Horse Butte are beginning to take steps to stop the advance is such a positive sign; the more we can support and organize around that, the better.

    I was heartened that people associated with our group were willing to drive from the Paradise Valley and from Bozeman early in the morning to try and be at the front lines. I’m heartened to know that Horse Butte people are communicating to people in Bozeman – so that we know information before it appears in the press.

    This is a wildfire that must continue to develop. If you are in our area and want to help out – or just want to stay informed, please consider joining our discussion list (or if you don’t want to be that informed but want to know generally what’s going on, see our announce list. The list is growing, and we are getting pretty good information from Horse Butte and have the ears of people in the north in Gardiner as well. The better we communicate, the better we can organize response and stand up.

  4. Chuck Avatar

    Ok in the real world if you or I violate a law, say trespass on private property, we get a ticket, a fine, go to jail. All these clowns, even the govenor of Montana, should be prosecuted to the fullest of the law. Guess its time for Montana residents to kick Governor Schweitzer’s butt to the curb.

  5. When Pigs Fly Avatar
    When Pigs Fly

    I’ve just written Schweitzer and have passed along the press release to others who will also express their outrage. I’m from Texas, so I won’t be able to vote against Schweitzer (but, as I say, I’m from Texas, so I have more than enough liars to vote against).


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Ralph Maughan