What it was like to volunteer with Buffalo Field Campaign

Now is the time of year to volunteer.

Buffalo being chased by the DoL © Ken Cole

Jim MacDonald, who is a regular commenter here, has written an article to familiarize people about what to expect before volunteering for the Buffalo Field Campaign.

I’ve spent many winters there and now I am a board member of BFC. I would encourage anyone who is interested to volunteer for them. Over the seven winters that I have spent there I have witnessed many terrible and wonderful things. From witnessing the capture of hundreds of buffalo and their abusive treatment in the Stephens Creek capture facility to the incredible diversity of wildlife, and beautiful scenery, I have been privileged to spend so much time there and become a part of the Campaign.

Buffalo usually start to leave the western part of the Park towards Horse Butte near West Yellowstone to calve during the beginning of March.

What it was like to volunteer with Buffalo Field Campaign

New West Network

You can find the Buffalo Field Campaign on the web.


Here are a few photos that I took during my there.


Bull in the snow at Cougar Creek © Ken Cole
#18 in Stephens Creek © Ken Cole
The herd on Horse Butte © Ken Cole
5:00am Sunrise on the Madison © Ken Cole






  1. Virginia Avatar

    Ken – thank you for the great story. I contacted Buffalo Field Campaign last spring to volunteer in the summer. However, I live in Cody and they wanted me to commit to staying about 6 weeks, which I was unable to do. I guess I don’t know how to volunteer when you don’t live in the area.

  2. Jim Macdonald Avatar


    There was probably a miscommunication. You can definitely come for the day; however, their preference for sure is for people who stay longer term.

    In the summer, there aren’t field patrols and the place is more of a ghost town, except there are all kinds of things going on at the grounds – maintenance work, some attempts at gardening, etc. And, of course, they are tabling, often up at Tower Fall.

    And, Ken, thanks again for posting this. I hope it de-mystifies the experience a little. When I lived in DC and followed this closely, I really had little idea what the whole experience was like.


  3. Laura Avatar

    Wow-I had no idea that this was a daily operation. All involved should be very proud of their commitment and the impact they are having. My hope is to move to Bozeman sometime in the coming years and I would like to think that the need for this close monitoring of the treatment of bison would no longer be needed but I tend to be a realist…

  4. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    There is a guy posting as Jim Stanford in the comment section to this article. Truly inviting! If you are not pro cattle, then leave, stranger (you can almost hear the clicking of the gun…)
    This is the horse opera we love!


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole