Last Wild Buffalo Tormented by DOL, Park Service

The myth continues. You can show the livestock thugs all the evidence in the world that they are wrong and inhumane but they will forever lie.

Here is this week’s update from the Buffalo Field Campaign. There is a very interesting video showing the birth of a buffalo calf where the mother consumes the entire afterbirth. This seems to contradict the myth that livestock industry perpetrates on the taxpayer. They want you to believe that the risk is so high as to justify this B.S.

For the third year in a row the Montana Department of Livestock has violated the private property rights of the Galanis’ on Horse Butte with their helicopters. The arrogance and the hypocrisy of the livestock industry is astounding. They continually cry that private property is sacred but it must only mean their private property.

Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 20, 2010

* Update from the Field
* New! Two Video Clips from BFC
* BFC Looking for Summer Outreach Volunteers
* Buffalo in the News
* Last Words
* Kill Tally
* Useful Links

* Update from the Field

Wild buffalo flee from their oppressors.  BFC file photo.  Click here for larger image.

Every time I close my eyes I see buffalo.   Quick flashes of their soft gentle shapes, dark brown, tawny and black, sprinkled with the tiny red shapes of baby buffalo.  Instead of bringing the usual peace, these images are unpleasant because the buffalo are running, tails up in distress, fleeing from the relentless harassment that they have been suffering for weeks now, victims of the unreasonable intolerance Montana’s livestock industry heaps upon them.

As expected, hundreds of these buffalo that were hazed last week, and in weeks past, returned to their chosen, historic habitat on lower elevation lands surrounding the western edge of Yellowstone National Park, where the buffalo find greener, more plentiful, pastures.  More than 600 buffalo have been harassed outside the Park, and hundreds of buffalo that never even left Yellowstone have been pursued by agents and exiled from their native habitat supposedly in the name of livestock disease management.  Yet there are no cattle here.  Additionally, there was no agent activity Friday through Monday, so it seems the so-called brucellosis threat doesn’t apply on weekends, or after 5pm.

This baby and its family have been relentlessly harassed this and last week by DOL agents, such as Shane Grube above.  BFC file photo.

Buffalo have been forced to travel for many many miles – upwards of 20 – nonstop, without rest.  Perhaps a quarter of these buffalo are newborn calves, and scores of them pregnant mothers who have yet to give birth, or who are in labor at the time of the haze.  As I write, patrols are reporting that they’ve spotted a mama buffalo with a wet calf, brand new to the world and about to experience the dark side of the human race.  They are being forced to travel at unnatural distances and speeds that a mother buffalo would never ask her baby to cover under natural circumstances.  Inexorable government forces push them over terrain and swollen waterways difficult to negotiate under fear, as they are pursued by federally-funded cowfolks on horseback, federal, state and county law enforcement, and the Montana Department of Livestock’s helicopter.   It is heart-wrenching to see these buffalo tormented so, little babies doing everything they can to keep up with mom, no matter how far or how fast; moms trying to shelter their babies from harm, entire family groups trying to escape the yelling predators in cowboy hats and the metal bird that threatens to land upon their backs and devour them.   And this, so say the grinning agents, is the “kinder alternative” to slaughter that bison advocates are supposed to be thankful for.

DOL and Park Service cooperatively harass America’s last wild buffalo on Gallatin National Forest. BFC file photo.  Click here for larger image.

Hazing this week began along the south side of the Madison River, in Gallatin National Forest, targeting buffalo that approached lands within their migration corridor that are currently unavailable to them because one landowner leases his land to cattle for a few short months.  The DOL’s selfish intolerance deprives the public and private landowners who want the buffalo around, including businesses such as the Bar N Ranch, of the presence of native wild buffalo. If they don’t get permission from the landowners, the DOL will trespass with assumed authority anyway.  This particular south side haze pushed buffalo more than 10 miles and lasted an incredibly long time for the distance it went, not because of a slow pace but because the buffalo kept trying to lose the agents.  Ultimately, the buffalo were moved out of Gallatin National Forest and into Yellowstone, and then returned on their own.  Today, the agents are out there again hazing small family groups with calves through the cattle-free public lands of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Buffalo being hazed off the Galanis property by the DOL’s helicopter.  BFC file photo.  Click here for larger image.

Yesterday, the DOL, Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks attacked cattle-free Horse Butte once again.  Horsemen and helicopter scouted the Butte’s public lands.  The DOL’s federally-funded helicopter flew over the grizzly bear closure area, obviously disturbing the griz, but didn’t find too many buffalo on the public land, other than one small group near an area closed to all human activity to protect bald eagles, which should be a safe zone for buffalo.  In the DOL’s outrageous omnipotence they were allowed to enter the eagle closure on horseback to chase them out, an area where you and I aren’t even allowed to step foot.  Simultaneously, an additional hazing operation – assisted by the DOL’s helicopter that continued to fly back and forth between hazing operations, wasting gallons of fuel and thousands of taxpayer dollars – was ongoing deep inside Yellowstone National Park, yet again pushing exhausted buffalo deeper into the Park where there is very little grass for them to eat right now. The agencies use the tactic of moving buffalo already in the Park to other locations in order to clear areas occupied by buffalo for those being hazed off of habitat outside the Park’s boundaries.  Tax dollars at work for the livestock industry!

This is another group hazed off the Galanis property.  The mom has an injured back left leg which gave her trouble even when walking at her own pace, and she has a calf to care for.  The young bull also had an injury, but all were forced to run even through it was extremely painful and difficult.  BFC file photo.  Click here for larger image.

Of the more than 100 buffalo hazed off of Horse Butte yesterday, most of them were on private lands within Yellowstone Village and the Galanis property, places where the buffalo are welcome, but the buffalo harassing agents are not.  Horsemen and helicopter appeared in the housing area and proceeded to trespass. They caused extreme chaos, flying the helicopter over the neighborhood, stampeding buffalo through people’s yards, swooping low over the Galanis’ pastures to scare buffalo into the housing area, where agent riders waited.  Residents and wildlife alike were disturbed and endangered by the operation’s shattering of the morning’s tranquility.  The riders were escorted by the swirling lights, guns and trucks of law enforcement who have been increasingly aggressive, and giving out frivolous orders in failed attempts to prevent Buffalo Field Campaign from documenting their actions.  The community was watching with us.  Quite a few very upset residents came out of their homes to have a word with the DOL, expressing their anger at the situation and underscoring the absolute wastefulness of such operations.

Today, there is more of the same happening on Gallatin National Forest and in Yellowstone National Park, and it will continue tomorrow and probably through next week as well.  As I write, patrols in the field have reported that the DOL have again entered the buffalo-friendly lands of the Bar N Ranch to haze buffalo, and they have pushed them onto Gallatin National Forest and eastward towards Yellowstone.  One of our patrols reported that the helicopter spotted two moms and two calves and it attempted to haze them, but lost them in the woods.  A DOL rider came in to assist, running the buffalo at a full gallop through the deep woods teeming with dead-fall, treacherous ground for buffalo to have to run through, especially little babies.

Law enforcement this week and last has also become increasingly aggressive, making up extreme excuses to try and keep us from documenting.  They don’t want the world to see what they are doing.  They know that the vigilent eyes of Buffalo Field Campaign are sharing these events with everyone, and that the world is watching.

Buffalo hazed off Gallatin National Forest, accross Highway 191, towards the boundary of Yellowstone National Park.  Photo by Mike Friberg.  Click here for larger image.

A message to the DOL:  your dominion over America’s last wild buffalo, over Yellowstone National Park, over Gallatin National Forest, over Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, over the migratory movement of prehistoric native wildlife, over state, federal, tribal, and county officials, over the media and the propaganda machine, over private property owners, over the citizens of this state and this country–like all greedy empires–is soon to fall and the buffalo will take back the lands you have stolen from them.  It’s only a matter of time.

Friends of the buffalo, please take action by contacting your members of Congress in the House and Senate and urging them to stop the harassment and slaughter of America’s last wild bison population left in the United States!  Endless pressure, endlessly applied is going to make the difference.

Write your Senator

Write your House Representative


* New! Two Video Clips from BFC

Buffalo Field Campaign has completed two new video clips!  One is about the birth of the buffalo that we were very lucky to witness and the completion of our first “off-fence, de-fence” project.  The other is about BFC helping buffalo by warning motorists of their presence on the highways.  Please check out the videos and help share the buffalo’s story and take action on their behalf.  Thank you!

Born Between a Fence and a Road

On the Road

BFC extends our thanks to Tony for helping make these video clips happen.

* BFC Looking for Summer Outreach Volunteers

Buffalo Field Campaign still has a few openings for summer education and outreach volunteers.  If you can commit to spending three weeks with us, most of which will be spent inside be grandeur of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, to help educate Park visitors about what’s happening to America’s last wild buffalo, please get in touch!  Drop a line to or call 406-646-0070 with questions or to apply.  Thank you!

* Buffalo in the News

Plight of the Bison (Part I)
Powell Tribune, Wyoming

Bison hazing triggers locked horns, conflict (Part II)
Powell Tribune, Wyoming

Why the buffalo can’t roam
Go Earth Friendly Now

Benefiting Buffalo
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Montana

Hazed & Confused
Helena Independent Record, Montana

Annual Yellowstone bison rounded up near completion

* Last Words

“As we all know, bison are nomadic. They always roam,” he said. “It is a bit early in the season for spring in the west side of the park. Only the bison will be able to tell us if there is really adequate forage.”

~ Al Nash, Spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, in a comment to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 5/14/10

Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to Thank you all for the poems, songs and stories you have been sending; you’ll see them here!

* Kill Tally

AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 6

2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 4
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 2*
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0
*Two bulls that were drugged by APHIS on 5/4/10 were shot by DOL
later that evening.

2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,708*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality

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.


Join Buffalo Field Campaign — It’s Free!


Take Action!



  1. Cody Coyote Avatar

    Saturday May 22—-The New York Times has chimed in on the Yellowstone bison situation… the hazing on the west boundary , and the appropriation of 87 Park bison by Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch near Bozeman.

    Generally favorable article, but a little too kind to or dismissive of Montana stockgrowers / DOL.

  2. Virginia Avatar

    After I saw Rachel Maddow interview and suck up to Governor Brian Schweitzer on MSNBC, I wrote her an email and told her check out his record and actions toward wildlife in Montana. I don’t know if she reads all of her emails, but I would like for her to know who the real governor is and not just the one who goes on national television to show what a “good old boy” he is. I will probably write her again – it disgusts me how the people in Washington think he is so great. In my opinion, he is one of the main people responsible for this disgusting treatment of the buffalo that belong to all of us in this country – not the DOL of Montana!


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