Buffalo Battle: BFC Will Be on TV's Planet Green!

Below is this week’s Buffalo Field Campaign Update from the Field. I’ve been holding my tongue about “Buffalo Battle” which is a pilot episode for a possible new series about the bison issue and the Buffalo Field Campaign. The episode will air on December 5th on Planet Green.

I’ve seen two early cuts of the episode and I think it does a great job of explaining the issue and showing how the Buffalo Field Campaign conducts its field operations. It was filmed this past spring during the big hazing operations which moved the buffalo off of Horse Butte back into Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo Battle is directed by Matt Testa who produced The Buffalo War, another documentary about the buffalo issue and the Buffalo Field Campaign, in 2000.

We are excited and hoping that this will become a series so that the light of day will shine on this issue and the plight of the buffalo. I hope you can watch.

Ken Cole,
BFC Board Member


Buffalo Field Campaign

Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
November 19, 2009

BFC Klean Kanteen Water Bottles Make Perfect Gifts. Order Yours Today While They Last!

In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* TAKE ACTION: Help the Buffalo with Your Comments to APHIS
* Buffalo Battle: BFC Will Be on TV’s Planet Green!
* Do You Like to Cook? BFC Needs You!
* Buffalo Field Campaign Wish List
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Important Links

* Update from the Field

The first five days of Montana’s buffalo hunt have so far been uneventful. We expect it will remain so until buffalo actually begin migrating into Montana.

The state and federal government agencies responsible for the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) met this week in Livingston, Montana. For the first time ever, Native American representatives were allowed a seat at the decision-making table. Nez Perce and Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal members as well as representatives from the Inter Tribal Bison Cooperative were finally able to engage in the decision-making process. This is precedent-setting and extremely good news for both the buffalo and the tribes and we hope the tribes will become deeply engaged in educating the agencies and helping the buffalo realize a better future.

If you were receiving last year’s Updates, you might remember that the agencies promised, in their Adaptive Management Plan (AMP), to have greater tolerance for certain bison on certain lands outside of Yellowstone at certain times of the year. Despite the fact that these less than certain promises were never fully lived up to, the Department of Livestock (DOL) this week asked the other agencies to amend the AMP and prohibit any bison from occupying lands on the south side of the Madison River. In the words of the DOL, the changes agreed upon last year were “too lenient” on the bison and showed “too much tolerance.” Revealing their ignorance of bison ecology, DOL representatives claimed there was “no habitat” on the south side of the Madison, an area with expansive meadows that BFC has observed to be a favorite of the bison during periods of each our our thirteen years in the field.

The DOL also complained that buffalo were “breaching” man-made zones and “threatening” cattle operations. But when asked for specifics on these cattle operations, livestock inspectors and even the Montana State Veterinarian were unable to specify more than one, and simply stated with a wave of the arm, “oh, there’s a lot of them.” The DOL’s main complaint was that buffalo were too difficult to haze in the thick woods, and they simply don’t want them on the landscape anyway.

In a surprising and heartening turn of events, Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis and Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson expressed open disagreement with the livestock agency, and openly spoke against the DOL’s requested changes. Lewis and Erickson pointed out that one year of data was insufficient to base such a drastic digression upon. They also reminded the DOL that there was no real risk of brucellosis transmission and that the buffalo need habitat outside the park.

After hours of circular sparring, the DOL’s changes were rejected and the agencies will continue to allow a mere 30 buffalo to occupy Gallatin National Forest lands along the south side. Agency representatives also announced that bull bison would be allowed north of Duck Creek, where previously they have not been allowed. Last June three bull bison were captured and shipped to slaughter for grazing in this area, even though bulls pose no risk of brucellosis transmission. Perhaps angry at being rebuffed, the DOL insisted that if the buffalo inhabiting the south side “breached” more than twice, they would haze, capture, or slaughter them.

Regardless of the decisions made at this IBMP meeting, until the Plan is replaced with one more meaningful and respectful, the ultimate authority will rest with Montana’s State Veterinarian and America’s last wild bison will be at the mercy of the livestock industry. For now the DOL and partner agencies remain entrenched in the IBMP, and the DOL will make every attempt to keep Montana free of wild bison. Buffalo Field Campaign, with your support, will be here to defend the buffalo and their right to roam every step of the way.


TAKE ACTION: Help the Buffalo with Your Comments to APHIS

More buffalo advocates have submitted comments to the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) about their Bovine Brucellosis Program, which maintains the status quo of harming wild bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Comments are being accepted through December 4, 2009, so if you haven’t submitted yours yet please do so today. If you have, thank you, and please spread the word to save these herds! Click here to learn more and submit your comments today!

Buffalo Battle: BFC Will Be on TV’s Planet Green!

Tune in on December 5, 2009 at 10pm EST to Discovery’s Planet Green for Buffalo Battle, a new documentary-style TV program about the work of Buffalo Field Campaign. The one-hour program is expected to air in the United States and Europe. We will bring you more details as we learn them, but for now you can learn a little bit by visiting Planet Green.

While the link calls the program “Buffalo Warriors” look for “Buffalo Battle” on Planet Green December 5th!

Many thanks to Buffalo Battle’s Executive Producer Matt Testa and his amazing crew at Authentic TV for being in the field with us, learning from all sides of the issue, and helping BFC tell the world about the last wild buffalo!

* Do You Like to Cook? BFC Needs You!

Buffalo Field Campaign is looking for cooks to prepare meals for volunteers during this campaign season. We’re looking for people who can commit to at least two weeks, though a month would be preferred. BFC caters to all dietary needs, and meat is locally harvested. Please contact our kitchen coordinator, Brandy, for a more detailed description of the job at kitchen@buffalofieldcampaign.org.

* Buffalo Field Campaign Wish List

There are lots of ways for you to make a difference for wild buffalo. BFC’s Wish List is one way to visualize the breadth of Buffalo Field Campaign’s reach and capacity to support wild buffalo year-round. It’s also a great way to match your interests with our day-to-day needs, prayers and wishes. Two things that we are in particular need of right now are tools our mechanic can use to maintain and repair our fleet of aging vehicles and frequent flier miles we can use to travel between Montana and Washington, DC.

Field Patrols form the backbone of BFC’s efforts, allowing us to actively protect the bison on their native habitat, document every action taken against them, and share their compelling story with the world. Unfortunately, we are dependent upon vehicles to carry patrols to and from the field. We are incredibly blessed this season to have Dennis, a professional mechanic, as our mechanic coordinator. But in order for him to work at full capacity and keep our cars in working order, he needs some essential tools.

As important as field patrols are, they alone will not bring about the protection the bison need and deserve. The underlying policy must change. To this end, we are planning a series of trips to Washington, DC to educate and inform members of Congress and the Obama Administration on the importance of America’s only continuously wild population of bison and the dire situation they face every time they attempt to follow their instinctual migration to winter and spring habitat. If you have frequent flier miles on any of the following airlines, we will put them to effective and immediate use to protect the buffalo: Delta/Northwest, United, US Airways, and Continental.

Please click here to view these and other items on our wish list.

Thank you for supporting a wish and for helping us to meet a need in the field!

Donations can be mailed to:

Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758

Thank you!

* Last Words

“If you talk to the animals they will talk to you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them. And what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”

–Chief Dan George

Many thanks to Andrea for sending this beautiful quote along for inclusion! Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to bfc-media@wildrockies.org. Thank you all for the poems, songs and stories you have been sending; you’ll see them here!

* Kill Tally

AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010: 0

2008-2009 Total: 22
2008-2009 Slaughter: 3
2008-2009 Hunt: 1
2008-2009 Quarantine: 0
2008-2009 Shot by Agents: 2
2008-2009 Highway Mortality: 16

2007-2008 Total: 1,631

Total Since 2000: 3,702*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities
Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758

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


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Take Action!



  1. Virginia Avatar

    I already received my Klean Kanteen. BFC is one of only a few groups to which I contribute – after all, it is local for me. I look forward to this issue being brought to national television. I hope this program will show the public the injustice being wreaked on OUR buffalo by the DOL.

  2. Virginia Avatar

    I tried to read the wish list for BFC, but could not access it.

  3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Virginia, this does need national attention.

  4. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    The special was good. Made me absolutely furious. Christian Mackay from Montana DOL should be locked up…

  5. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    The park rangers they interviewed who defended this garbage should be fired.

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