Citizen Sacrifices Self to Draw Attention to, and Stop Wild Bison Slaughter


Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0071
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-640-0109

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, GARDINER BASIN, MT: This morning, Comfrey Jacobs, a twenty-year old citizen concerned for wild bison, placed life, limb and freedom on the line by blocking the access road to Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap in hopes of preventing more of America’s last wild, migratory bison — the most important bison populations in the world — from being shipped to slaughter.

To date, approximately 450 wild buffalo have been captured in Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap, located in the Gardiner Basin. Most of the buffalo have been and will be shipped to slaughter, while some are going to government research facilities. To date, more than 200 bison have been shipped to slaughter and 250 more have been killed by hunters.

Mr. Jacobs spent a number of week’s in the Gardiner Basin, where bison capture and slaughter operations and intense hunting have been taking place.

“During my time in Gardiner,” said Jacobs, “I was feeling helpless as I watched wild buffalo lured and trapped, fed hay like livestock, tortured with sorting and testing, and eventually crammed into livestock trailers headed for slaughter facilities, while simultaneously bison were being hunted just outside the Park boundary.”

Jacobs blocked the road to prevent livestock trailers from accessing the trap before more wild bison could be loaded onto trailers destined for slaughter facilities. He handcuffed himself to a hunter orange 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete, and wire-mesh webbing spanning the entrance to the roadway, which is closed to public access.

“My goal is to stop these trailers from getting to the trap so they cannot load more bison and transport them to slaughter,” Jacobs said. “My intent is to not unduly cause these buffalo any more stress or harm than they are currently being subjected to in the trap, and to ultimately get Yellowstone to set them free.”

This is the first time a citizen has exercised civil disobedience at Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek bison trap. Yellowstone National Park initiates a 7-mile public access closure surrounding their Stephens Creek bison trap while highly controversial bison management activities are underway.

Jacobs state that, “Yellowstone National Park’s public access closure around the Stephens Creek facility is an obscene and blatantly unconstitutional limitation of public oversight and accountability of our government agencies during bison management actions.”

Mr. Jacobs, Buffalo Field Campaign, other organizations and media outlets have requested numerous times that Yellowstone conduct media tours of the facility, but these requests have been ignored. Thousands of people have written and called Yellowstone urging them to cease capture and slaughter operations. Yellowstone National Park has also been extremely secretive: Superintendent Dan Wenk is the first Yellowstone superintendent to prevent his staff from disclosing information to the public. Yellowstone has not issued a single press release during this year’s capture and slaughter operations, and they are refusing to tell the public how many wild bison they have captured so far, and are only giving delayed information on the number, age and sex of bison that have already been transported to slaughter.

Jacobs said he is aware of the repercussions of his actions, but felt strongly that he needed to draw attention to what Yellowstone National Park is doing so that they are held accountable for their direct participation in bison mismanagement, which has lead to the decimation of America’s last wild bison populations.

“I have taken these drastic actions because I feel it is my civil duty as an American citizen to protect this national treasure,” Jacobs said. “The National Park Service has neglected their duty as stewards, to respect public interests and preserve and protect the entirety of the Yellowstone ecosystem. I’m giving up some of my freedoms in hopes of re-establishing a free-roaming heard of bufflo in their traditional habitat.”

Comfrey Jacobs’s blockade included banners with the messages “Hunters for Bison Habitat,” and “Road Closed.” Jacobs also included a list of demands for Yellowstone National Park:
1. The immediate halt to all current and future capture and slaughter management actions and the release of all currently captive buffalo.
2. Yellowstone National Park’s withdrawal from the Interagency Bison Management Plan, due to its ineffectiveness in maintaining a wild, free-roaming bison population and not meeting the public’s, or the buffalo’s best interests.
3. So long as the Stephens Creek facility continues to be used to capture, torture and ship wild bison to slaughter and research facilities, there needs to be public oversight and media access at all times, to keep the Park Service accountable for its actions.

Wild bison are currently managed under the highly controversial state, federal and tribal Interagency Bison Management Plan, which is heavily influenced by Montana’s livestock industry. The IBMP allows for hazing (chasing) of bison out for their native Montana, a lengthy late-season harvest, and capture for slaughter and research. American citizens and others world-wide have have largely opposed all the actions carried out under the IBMP. IBMP-affiliated tribal partners, including the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the InterTribal Buffalo Council (ITBC), and the Nez Perce tribe have signed slaughter agreements with Yellowstone. The CKST and ITBC have been actively shipping wild bison from Yellowstone to tribal slaughter facilities. USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service is taking wild bison from Yellowstone’s trap to research facilities to use them in experiments with the chemical pesticide birth control GonaCon. Under the IBMP, more than 4,650 wild bison have been senselessly killed or otherwise eliminated from these last wild populations.

The wild bison of Yellowstone are the most significant bison populations in the world, the last continuously wild bison to exist in their native habitat since prehistoric times. They are the direct descendants to the tens of millions that once thundered across North America. Currently, wild, migratory bison are ecologically extinct throughout their historic range with fewer than 4,200 existing in and around Yellowstone and, temporarily, in Montana. They are free of cattle genes and the only bison to hold their identity as a wildlife species. North America’s largest land mammal, wild bison are a keystone species critical to the health and integrity of grasslands and prairie ecosystems.

The zero-tolerance bison politics of Montana’s livestock industry are driving the policies that are pushing these significant herds back to the brink of extinction.

Yellowstone and its IBMP partners have set an arbitrary population target of 3,000-3,500 bison, yet a Yellowstone bison carrying capacity study has determined that the Park can sustain upwards of 6,200 wild bison. Additionally, there are tens of thousands of acres of public lands surrounding Yellowstone that could sustain thousands more.

“I belive year-round habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Montana is the solution for wild bison population management, not genetically damaging and limiting the herds through slaughter or constant harassment and abuse through hazing operations,” Jacobs said.

“We would like to thank Comfrey Jacobs for taking an action that our organization cannot,” said Stephany Seay, a spokesperson for Buffalo Field Campaign. “We have always strongly opposed the slaughter and abuse of wild buffalo and applaud non-violent civil disobedience when other means of public participation have been exhausted and ignored. BFC shares Mr. Jacobs’ goals for wild, migratory buffalo populations that are respected and valued as native wildlife and free to roam and flourish beyond Yellowstone’s borders, in Montana, and beyond. We hope his courageous actions inspire other patriotic Americans to stand up tor this iconic and important National Treasure.”

Video and still footage available upon request.

Buffalo Field Campaign is a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1997 to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone’s wild bison, protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming bison and other native wildlife, and to work with people of all Nations to honor the sacredness of wild bison. BFC has its headquarters in West Yellowstone, Montana, and is supported by volunteers and participants around the world who value America’s native wildlife and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

For more information visit Buffalo Field Campaign on the web

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115 Responses to Man Blocks Yellowstone Bison Trap

  1. karen says:

    Thank you to this young man for standing up for what is right. Yellowstone has done a disservice to all of its wildlife, especially the bison and wolves. More young people should follow his lead. This is your country and your right to expect they are protected. Thank you for doing what a lot more should be.

  2. Richie G. says:

    Just passed the article this man is brave and he is putting on the line now it is up to the media to publish this newspapers and radio stations alike thanks Ralph for the article. Our government is taken over the powerful. They are using language against Obama like nobody ever did against any President and nothing happens to them. I really am at a loss to understand how all of them are getting away with all this. The language the actions against the wildlife everything wall street has the most power these days. This actually scars me as to what is going to happen in the future !

  3. Kudos to Comfrey Jacobs!! Thank you!!!

  4. Joseph Allen says:

    Right On! Jacobs did what is right, ethical and just. At least someone had the cojones to stand up….honestly, there has been so much lip-service given to anti-environmentalism but there has been very little action. It is about time. The BFC deserves your financial as well as activist contributions.

  5. Nancy Kurinec (Storm) says:

    The actions of the IBMP sounds a lot like how the BLM is mismanaging our Wild Horse and Burros populations into extinction.

    Since when does a non native, invasive species like cattle take priority over the native wild life species? the Bison are a native species and belong in the park and on their natural lands without removing large numbers of them to control their population since this will only contribute to the population as it does with the WH&B. Nature does and will control wildlife populations, in the form of natural predators, few to no new offspring being born when food and water resources become scarce as well as the natural mortality rate that occurs in all life forms. It is only when humans interfere with mother nature, does the natural wildlife species and the ecosystems become unbalanced or destroyed because humans haven’t figured out that no matter how big their ego is, they can not control mother nature.

    • Tom Darnell says:

      Wild horses and burros, like cattle, are “non native, invasive species.”

      • MJ says:

        How is it exactly that they planned this invasion of the U.S.? Who was their leader?

        Could it be that humans took them from the wild for our convenience, built our modern culture with their help, used them to fight wars, and made our profits,.. and when we no longer had a financial need for them we abandoned these animals who trusted us and gave us all that we asked of them?

        I see the logic of treating them with such disdain. Next on the list German Shepherds?

        The horses actually do fit a niche in our ecosystem, but since we are slaughtering bison, wolves and other predators then it seems balancing the ecosystem isn’t really a goal anyway.

        The logic is clear, politics that’s why. We eat beef. Our overpopulation calculations seem to be based on how many animals there are per amount of land left over after industry has made all the use they can of our public lands. And so we get to treat these poor animals with utter hate.

  6. Any study showing that Yellowstone can support 6,200 Bison wasn’t done by anyone trained in range management. Starving Bison, desperately trying to leave Yellowstone each winter, give lie to any such study.
    It has been obvious for years that Bison are overgrazing much of Yellowstone. The meadows are covered with Bison Chips in the spring. The grasses are mostly gone by fall,leaving nothing to support the Bison and Elk for the winter. Western Watersheds would be suing the government if the same damage was being done outside the Park by domestic livestock.
    The area where they are trapping the Bison is grazed down to the dirt. The Park management has fenced off large sections there in an attempt to get grasses restarted where the Bison have destroyed the vegetation.

    I do not have a problem with the Park giving the surplus Yellowstone Bison to various Native American tribes. Unless someone buys out most of the Paradise Valley ranches for Bison winter range, the alternative is to permanently damage Yellowstone.

    Reduce the Yellowstone Bison numbers!!!

    • Kathleen says:

      “Starving Bison, desperately trying to leave Yellowstone each winter, give lie to any such study.”

      Geez Larry, are you serious? Of course they try to leave the park–they’re trying to get to their lower elevation, migratory wintering grounds which were excluded when the park boundaries were drawn. Good grief.

      • Elk375 says:

        Yes, but those lower elevations are 10 and 20 acre fenced tracts that are used for horse or cattle pasture and have a home.

        • Kathleen says:

          The park is surrounded by public land.

          • Elk375 says:

            The lower elevations are not public lands for the most part. The public lands will typically be higher in elevations and have more snow. The lower elevations will have less snow and more forage. Buffalo will go where there is the best grazing and the best grazing is north into Paradise Valley which is getting more developed every day. It is to bad.

    • LM says:

      Larry, I do not have a problem with the Tribes receiving buffalo, but it should not be dictated or regulated that “they go straight to slaughter.”. The tribes should be allowed to manage them as they wish.

  7. LM says:

    I want to thank Comfrey Jacobs for his courage and hope he receives all the help he needs in his legal defense because this is NOT just about any particular species, native or non-native. The buffalo, wolves & wild horses are like the “canaries” of a corrupt system. We know about the bias and leanings for managing the Public Lands in favor of special interests. This is a Constitutional “We The People . . . ” issue. See the First Amendment Lawsuit filed by Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education in 2010:

    My wish is for all of us “conservationists” to set our species biases & political preferences aside and do what is right toward restoring the beauty & balance of the Public Lands and National Parks and hopefully exercise & preserve our Constitutional Rights along the way.

  8. Mark L says:

    I agree. They should at least have some say as to what happens before they are slaughtered (like at least keeping the pregnant females until they drop calves). Plenty of good locations for the orphans and they can keep legal slaughter numbers.

  9. Kathy Vile says:

    Thank you Mr. Jacobs. So many people today forget that these lands and animals are for all Americans. They do what they want and it is always influenced by hunters, trappers and cattlemen. The average person (also the majority of people) are not given a second thought. Nor are our rights.

    • Elk375 says:

      He is in jail according to the Billing Gazette.

      • Louise Kane says:

        I too applaud his stand but I think that the livestock industries, wildlife agencies and legal enforcement branches will be pushing hard for serious repercussions to make an example and to quench other attempts of civil disobedience. It will be interesting to compare the sentence he receives to that of some of the worst poaching offenses that have been uncovered recently.

        I had no idea Bison were being shipped to to facilities as subjects for chemical pesticide research. There seems to be no limit to the indignities and torture that wildlife agencies and the laws allow. Its very distressing.

        • Ida Lupines says:


          I had no idea either – outrageous. WTF is going on in this country?

          • LM says:

            Does anybody know how he’s been charged ? The powers that be HATE this kind of activism. The last time I went to Wash. DC to a peaceful rally for wild horses they pointed guns at us from the steps of DOI. We were also surrounded mounted police. Of course being horse enthusiasts everybody started petting the horses and taking pictures and they told us we could not take pictures or they would shoot. We were hand delivering a petition to Secretary Salazar for a Moratorium to end the roundups. Crazy & sad times we are witnessing.

            • Elk375 says:


              ” Crazy & sad times we are witnessing.”

              Is now the sad times or were the sad times in the past. I think the sad times were in the past, think Kent State University.

              There are not going to shoot no one wants another Kent State.

              • LM says:

                The gun pointing and threats?
                They didn’t send a representative, they took the petition inside and for all I know probably threw it in the trash.
                I hope you are right, but with the war on wildlife it does feel like history is repeating itself.

            • WM says:

              ++BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Park rangers have arrested a man who chained himself to a cement-filled drum to protest the slaughter of bison from Yellowstone National Park.

              Twenty-year-old Comfrey Jacobs was arrested Thursday morning and charged with disorderly conduct, breaking [into] the closed area around the park’s bison capture facility and interfering with government operations.++

              Yeah, that ought to look good on a work resume, especially if this young turk has to check the box that asks whether he has been convicted of a federal criminal charge. You can’t fix stupid or understand crazy, especially at age 20, when the adult brain has yet to fully form and function.

              So, Ken’s group Buffalo Field Campaign applauds the effort, and maybe even endoreses it (at least that is what the news release implies). Now if he were to have done something really stupid like set fire to something or blown something up, do you suppose he would have been acting within course and scope of the organizations objectives (as a volunteer/employee), such that BFC could be held liable? Something to think about for the next stunt, and organizational endorsement.

              • Mike says:

                ++Yeah, that ought to look good on a work resume, especially if this young turk has to check the box that asks whether he has been convicted of a federal criminal charge. You can’t fix stupid or understand crazy, especially at age 20, when the adult brain has yet to fully form and function.++

                So it’s okay for stupid and crazy 20 year old brains to have guns, but not to engage in non-violent protest?

              • LM says:

                I’m afraid they are going to use him as an example and throw the book at him as a deterrent to future protests. The wild horse advocacy has never endorsed militant or radical efforts but recently 3 people were arrested in Canada for trespass and damage to personal property during a wild horse operation. Tensions are very high.

              • WM says:

                ++…but recently 3 people were arrested in Canada for trespass and damage to personal property during a wild horse operation…++

                Some might say if you do the crime, expect to do the time. Canada (and the US) is a country of laws. Laws, of course, in a democracy, reflect the will of the people, except when some of the people don’t think it does not apply to them.

                • LM says:

                  But the laws should apply to all entities, not just individual people. Failure to allow media & public access to observe and report on the gathers & roundups of a Public Resource is a First Amendment issue.

              • WM says:

                Sorry (double negative):

                “Laws, of course, in a democracy, reflect the will of the people, except when some of the people don’t think it APPLIES TO THEM.”

              • WM says:


                ++Failure to allow media & public access to observe and report on the gathers & roundups of a Public Resource is a First Amendment issue.++

                If you (or the media) believe that is the issue, then that is the one you should pursue…. in court. If you are right, you will get the answer you seek.

                On the other hand, if your objective is to oppose these presumably legal activities carried out by the government, then that is entirely a different matter. I am, however, inclined to believe your objective is the latter, rather than the former (1st Amendment issue).

                • LM says:

                  Yes, The cost to defend one person’s actions would be better spent on a legal team with WWP or WEG or WHE, etc., etc.
                  But, how would you defend this person ? This could be a very high profile case. Is Gerry Spence still with us ?

              • WM says:

                Spence, who lives and practices law mostly in WY (though has high profile cases in other states) is still around, as is his firm. But, does someone who wears the hat, boots and buckskin jacket, and probably drives an F-250 pick-up and dines with land barons – all part of the cowboy uniform and cowboy way- speak against livestock interests? Frankly, I don’t know.

              • Louise Kane says:

                “Laws, of course, in a democracy, reflect the will of the people, .”

                Not so much anymore….legislators once elected with huge sums of special interest money (on either side) don’t; always vote what their constituents want they vote for the money. Post Citizen’s United elections and the laws created by the elected reflect a politicking process that is frustrating, baffling and very undemocratic. Take Michigan for example……

  10. Monty says:

    Stop describing the killing of bison as “hunting”. How is it any different than shooting cattle in a rain barrel? Please, no pictures of a ten year old “hunter” with his foot on the head of a dead bison.

    • Kathleen says:

      Exactly so, Monty. It’s like shooting a sofa. I’ve witnessed two such executions–hard to call it anything else. The account is here

    • LM says:

      Monty, We used to sponsor a buffalo “hunt” “harvest” whatever you want to call it for the Native Community in No. Colorado. It was a very somber event, 4 days of ceremony and sweat lodges, and everyone would gather, men, women & children to dress out the buffalo in an open field. Nothing was wasted. The meat was distributed amongst the families and sent to distant relatives on various reservations. The hides were gifted to the elders or the medicine people for ceremony. It was a profound and spiritual experience, as it should be.

      • Kathleen says:

        LM, that’s not necessarily how it happens here.

        Plus, the tribes are allowed to set their own hunting seasons (animal biology doesn’t seem to figure into it at all) and sometimes hunt into late March/early April, killing pregnant bison.

        • WM says:

          ++Plus, the tribes are allowed to set their own hunting seasons (animal biology doesn’t seem to figure into it at all) and sometimes hunt into late March/early April, killing pregnant bison.++

          ….and this would have been different for historic Native American bison harvest in what way (even the non-tribal member who poached on another tribe’s territory for which there were reprocussions)? And, do remember four legged predators will kill a prey species at any time an opportunity arises (pregnant cow/doe or newborn calf/fawn), just to keep the conversation honest.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            But, WM, humans are not 4-legged predators, are not the same as 4-legged predators. We have the ability to perceive, and adjust our behaviours. Our activities have put pressure on other non-human animals, so it is up to us to back off.

        • LM says:

          The Nez Perce Tribe’s Conservation Enforcement division seized some tribal members’ permits to participate in the hunt and issued some citations related to the incident, Sheppard said.

          “Their enforcement took this situation very seriously and handled their enforcement end of it right along with us,” Sheppard said.

          The ability to hunt and harvest and/or raise and manage buffalo herds is the keystone to these Native American Tribes. In spite of the cultural degradation that has been perpetrated against them, the ancestors and re-connecting with “the ways” will resolve the wildlife management issues. Its a process, but we need to be supportive & patient (and pray) and it will happen.

          • LM says:

            Sorry, forgot quotes

            “The Nez Perce Tribe’s Conservation Enforcement division seized some tribal members’ permits to participate in the hunt and issued some citations related to the incident, Sheppard said.”

            “Their enforcement took this situation very seriously and handled their enforcement end of it right along with us,” Sheppard said.

            The ability to hunt and harvest and/or raise and manage buffalo herds is the keystone to these Native American Tribes. In spite of the cultural degradation that has been perpetrated against them, the ancestors and re-connecting with “the ways” will resolve the wildlife management issues. Its a process, but we need to be supportive & patient (and pray) and it will happen.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Yes. The bison also need more room to roam, expanded ranges, but between ranching interests and other human development, whose interests will take precedence? Migratory animals are not meant to be confined in Yellowstone Park – and the predators follow the prey. How do you suppose ranching and other interests came to have so much sway with the gov’t? Humans have put everything out of whack.

        • LM says:

          The Native people I know would not hunt or kill the buffalo cows, only bulls. But, one winter we contracted with a local rancher (non-native) for a buffalo and he drove us out to the field and pointed out the buffalo and we shot it. It turned out, that it was a young cow with an almost term calf. We were devastated and felt betrayed that this man had directed us in this way. It was very sad.

  11. Ida Lupines says:

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    This is what is known as real courage.

    • IDhiker says:

      Unfortunately, this sort of action will eventually become necessary for all of us to participate in, if it isn’t already.

      Powerful and monied interests will always get their way eventually, with our system as it is today, without serious resistance.

      Unfortunately, many “sportsman’s” groups are aligning themselves with and become willing accomplices to these very interests. These same interests that will stab these sportsman in the back some day.

      • Robert Bunch says:

        “Powerful and monied interests will always get their way eventually, with our system as it is today, without serious resistance.”

        I am in total agreement but things won’t change without the “serious resistance” part and I don’t think the people are ready for that. I doubt if they ever will be as long as the dulled and sedated masses have enough credit left to get their iphones, X boxes and flat screens.

  12. Dan Lynch says:

    I’m glad Yellowstone has a thriving bison herd. However, it seems to me that there is no shortage of bison within Yellowstone.

    The bison in Yellowstone were always hunted by man. Now that hunting is no longer permitted within the park, it seems reasonable to cull bison for the benefit of area tribes.

    If you don’t want to herd the bison into cattle trucks, then let the natives return to the park to hunt with traditional weapons.

  13. Ida Lupines says:

    Not just in and around Yellowstone; I’d love to see a little bit of our native prairie grasslands with roaming bison restored/protected (in Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas?).

    • LM says:

      Ida, it seems that it would be wise to protect the gene pool of that herd by relocating YNP cull bison to other regions. Check out Mari Sandoz book, “The Buffalo Hunters” about the demise of the 4 great bison herds, when there were 50+ million, and how the migration patterns of each was based on the great plains river regions: the Republican, the Arkansas, the Rio Grande & the Yellowstone.

  14. JohnR says:

    Bison have always roamed … for eons. That is what they do… always looking for forage. Yellowstone boundaries are invisible fences. Trapping and shooting bison that roam impedes natural processes.

  15. Joanne Favazza says:

    Thank you for your courage, Comfrey Jacobs. You are a true warrior.

  16. Monty says:

    Kathleen: I love it, “shooting a sofa”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Yvette says:

    Unfortunately, his name will most likely be entered into DHS database as a ‘terrorist’. That is how they handle animal and environmental rights protesters now. “Terrorists”. That is how screwed up things have become.

    >i<Green is the New Red Will Potter

    I wish the best for this young man. He’s going to need all the luck and money he can muster.

  18. Mike Mease with the Buffalo Field Campaign has agreed to be a speaker at the Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 event. Because the event strives to have a national discussion about wildlife management reform, Mike’s a great fit. Event organizers are also speaking with groups opposed to the wild horse round-up. In effect, a common denominator for the buffalo, wolf and horse slaughters is the livestock industry. Pure and simple. Rid the land of hoofed maggots and America begins to rewild. Good news on the jaguar in the southwest, too!

    • WM says:

      ++ In effect, a common denominator for the buffalo, wolf and horse slaughters is the livestock industry…..Rid the land of hoofed maggots and America begins to rewild.++

      I get the part about rewilding with “livestock” being gone. But, the exclusion of horses from the definition of “livestock” by their association with buffalo and wolf for your event is puzzling. Are horses not also “hoofed maggots”? Please explain.

    • LM says:

      Brett, do you have a contact or link for this event. I receive BFC news but would like to calendar it in way ahead of time.

    • Kathleen says:

      The term “hoofed maggots” is objectionable, and here’s why. As much as I abhor the idea that exotic cattle are out-competing native wildlife thanks to the hegemony of the livestock industry, it beHOOVES (ha ha) us to remember that cattle themselves are just another class of innocent, exploited animals. Our ire should be directed not at the victims but entirely at those who create the political and cultural forces that allow it–including consumers.

      • Yvette says:

        Yes, agreed.I like cows, too. They’re just cows and they aren’t responsible for human decisions that have created this political and financial mess.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Our ire should be directed not at the victims but entirely at those who create the political and cultural forces that allow it–including consumers.

        Yes. In fact, mindless consumption is the most to blame IMO, by giving the ranchers and the politicians such power and free rein to begin with. And the energy companies too.

        If more people had the courage to stand up like this 20-year old, it might not be as bad as it is.

    • LM says:

      Pass this on to BFC:
      We bring more than 50 years of experience representing ordinary people in the pursuit of justice against big corporations, insurance companies, and the government. We are trial attorneys, dedicated to fight for the rights of people who have been injured or killed. We prosecute civil crimes for those who otherwise may not be able to stand up for themselves.

  19. Some of you are missing the point. Yellowstone can only support a limited number of grazers. You cannot stockpile Bison or Elk. The wolves have reduced the Elk numbers and plants that were severely damaged by the Elk are starting to recover. Huge numbers of Bison are disrupting that recovery.
    The “Giant Canadian Wolves” are just not big enough to kill enough Bison to keep their numbers in check. The Yellowstone Bison herd has grown to the point at which native plants are being destroyed and replaced with cheat grass and weeds.
    I can remember back in the 1960 and 70s when the Lamar Valley Bison herd was small enough that rangers on horseback were assigned to herd them up into the high country during the summer and reserve the Lamar Valley for winter range. Today, there are so many Bison in the Lamar that the grasses are gone by late fall, forcing the starving Bison to migrate down through Mammoth and Gardiner to find something to eat.
    The cattle/bison guard on the highway at the upper end of Yankee Jim canyon prevents them from going down into the Paradise Valley.
    Unless someone buys up some winter range for Bison in the Paradise Valley, the only alternative to destroying what is left of Yellowstone’s soil and vegetation is to reduce the Bison numbers.

    • Ken Cole says:

      So the fact that these are the last bison without any cattle introgression is meaningless Larry? It’s terrible that they put radio collars on wolves but it’s okay for them to round up bison by the hundreds and send them to slaughter?

      Yeah, I guess I am missing the point.

      Bison leave the Park every year, it’s what all other species do and other species have brucellosis yet they aren’t treated this way. They aren’t leaving because there isn’t food, they are leaving because they can’t get to the food due to deep snow and ice.

      Also, you have missed a big point I asked about in an earlier post.

      You should understand that this population of bison is the only remaining population that shows no sign of introgression with cattle and how important they are. You should also understand that populations have to be of a certain size with a metapopulation structure to maintain a healthy genetic diversity and to ensure that the entire population isn’t put at risk when a stochastic event takes place like a disease introduced by some idiot who introduces malignant cattharal fever or something similar. Think domestic sheep in Gardiner. This population doesn’t have those qualities and the management they receive doesn’t help them achieve these characteristics.

      This is precisely why I, and other Buffalo Field Campaign supporters, strongly oppose these kinds of actions. The bison wouldn’t be so heavily impacting the park resources if they were allowed to leave and seek winter range just as EVERY other species in Yellowstone National Park is allowed to do. Why the difference in treatment? It’s because of the paradigm that is being taught to new and old wildlife biologists alike by those who are sympathetic or beholden to the current power structure.

      I’m asking people to think outside of the box and quit thinking that there are any “surplus” bison. There aren’t and there needs to be a metapopulation structure that includes large areas outside of the artificial confines of Yellowstone National Park. The park isn’t big enough to sustain this incredibly important species and people should realize that.

      • Louise Kane says:

        “I’m asking people to think outside of the box and quit thinking that there are any “surplus” bison. There aren’t and there needs to be a metapopulation structure that includes large areas outside of the artificial confines of Yellowstone National Park. The park isn’t big enough to sustain this incredibly important species and people should realize that.”

        While there are some differences with wolves isn’t this what is happening with them too. They are not allowed to leave the park without being shot or trapped and the areas they now live are hunting and trapping them into smaller and smaller populations. anyhow thanks for your comments on the Bison. I think when you said, “the paradigm that is being taught to new and old wildlife biologists alike by those who are sympathetic or beholden to the current power structure.” rings especially true when it comes to predator management. Nothing seems to change and in fact seems worse in some places, worse because there is enough information available to be doing a much better job but its ignored and business as usual.

  20. Real Nice Guy says:

    From my home in Virginia, I check the YNP Electric Peal webcam almost daily just for a taste of one of the greatest places on earth. This week, bison have been numerous in the area as they naturally seek adequate grazing. It is quite depressing to realize that I might be looking at a bison death march.

  21. Cody Goodnough says:

    Bison don’t migrate out of the park just because they are overpopulated. Studies have been done showing there can be over 6,000 Bison in Yellowstone. They migrate during harsh winters just like deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, grizzlies, wolves, etc. For some reason, bison aren’t allowed to go where they want although every animal is. Not just because of disease. Elk are all over private land and they have the very same form of disease but yet they can go where they please. There are other herds with no disease such as Wind Cave, Badlands, Teddy Roosevelt Natl Park, etc. but they are still fenced into a national park although they’re surrounded by national grasslands while other wildlife can go where they please. People have made this assumption that bison on private land, National Forests, National Grasslands, etc. is completely out of the question and it makes absolutely no sense.

    • WM says:

      “Bison slaughters done for the season.” Just so I get this correct, this nit-wit, Comfrey Jacobs, does the “citizen sacrifice” thing, subjecting himself to federal prosecution for his deed, a day before the NPS stops the bison culling in Yellowstone because they reached their number objective?

      Now there’s some poor timing that matches the stupidity of the act, itself.

  22. mikepost says:

    You will soon see similar actions against elk in the YNP area. The cattle folks have quietly launched an anti brucellosis campaign that is targeting elk and will result in similar culls.

    The real key to all this is to spend the money on developing a vaccine for cattle so the pressure is off the wildlife.

  23. LM says:

    Time for a “feel-good” post about a re-wilding effort in Spain. “Ancient Beasts Roam Spain’s Wilderness”

  24. Rich says:


    In the course of history many people have stood against what they saw as misguided governmental policies and laws, eg, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns (Women’s suffrage in America), Nelson Mandela (Antiapartheid in S. Africa),, Rosa Parks (Discrimination in America) , Vietnam and Iraq War protesters to name a few. Imagine that, they broke the law! Yes they ended up in jail with arrest records and all the rest. These individuals became part of history as people who changed the world for the better. If there is one thing we have learned it is that governmental decisions and resultant laws are not always perfect. Fortunately there are individuals who lead the way to a more enlightened and humane existence.

    We have a current determination by Montana State and Montana cattlemen that the only possible alternative to managing America’s last remaining genetically pure North American bison is to lure them out of YNP and kill them. They have decided that Yellowstone bison must not be allowed to live anywhere else in the world where they might preserve and expand the limited gene pool. Instead American taxpayers are required to pay for the round up and killing of bison that step into Montana while bison are allowed in Wyoming. The decision to limit management of bison to killing them is likely every bit as misguided and flawed as apartheid, discrimination, denying women the right to vote, and the Vietnam and Iraq wars. When money and power are involved the court system is often just a crap shoot. We were duped into sending 4000 young people to die and thousands more to be severely injured along with around $1T of our treasury into a war in Iraq. And for what – trumped up WMD fears in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Why would anyone protest as our leaders are perfect and if they aren’t, the courts will surely protect us. We fixed the protesters by throwing them in jail and giving them criminal records.

    We are now being duped by Montana cattlemen into killing native bison because of their trumped up fear of the brucellosis boogeyman in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Why would anyone in their right mind protest?

    But for Rosa Parks, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns the laws in America might still reflect the fears of lesser minds where discrimination and denial of voting rights to women would still be the law of the land. Yes there were many timid individuals who sat on the sidelines and arrogantly labeled them as “nitwits” and “stupid”. My hat is off those who choose to challenge laws hacked together by duplicitous good ole boys.

    • WM says:

      ++ The decision to limit management of bison to killing them is likely every bit as misguided and flawed as apartheid, discrimination, denying women the right to vote, and the Vietnam and Iraq wars. ++

      Big difference between the HUMAN rights examples you mention and the very conscious, publicly transparent Interagency Bison Management involving a National Park that is simply too small and lacking winter range.

      It is not that I do not appreciate well thought out advocacy of sorts. It is that an ill-advised 20 year old may have created an obstacle to this life (violation of federal law that may result in criminal conviction) that will follow him around for the rest of his working life. It may prevent him from certain employment opportunities and maybe even some schooling – possibly law school/graduate school of certain types, and even professional licensure.

      I don’t believe the individuals you cite violated US federal law in pursuing human civil rights, by the way. And, I don’t think this guy is some clone of Nelson Mandela. Something to think about in and of itself, before some other youngster makes a “citizen sacrifice.” Wonder what this kid’s parents think of this?

      • Ida Lupines says:

        WM, he is young now and things may change for him – but he also may find that social trappings don’t mean anything to him, and following his conscience is the right thing to do, regardless of how society labels him and/or punishes him for doing the right thing. If selfishness is the motivation, then nobody will stand up. This is why people who have bought into a corrupt system find that they can’t speak up for change for fear of losing everything. Children will think more highly of a parent who stood up and did the right thing, even if they had to lose their job and took a pay cut, rather than be silent.

        Decent people will understand the difference between whether he went to jail for change and to protest a wrong, or for robbing a convenience store or embezzlement! I don’t agree with you about MLK either; he supported animal welfare.

        • WM says:


          I didn’t see MLK in Rich’s list. Nor am I aware MLK committed any state or federal infraction in order to support animal welfare.

          At age 20 not many young people have charted out their life – work path. But a mistake or two, based on poor judgment can surely narrow the path and the direction, and some of those paths remaining open don’t come with health care and dental coverage or a 401(k) savings plan. That’s not “following social trappings,” it’s survival in America in the 21st Century.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Well, with the right spin and PR, anything is possible to explain away. That’s 21st Century America too.

  25. Nancy says:

    Funny thing about criminal records:

    1 in 29 college students have criminal records and I think if young Mr. Jacobs decides to go to college, he will have a much easier time explaining his arrest (concern for the treatment of America’s last remaining bison) compared to kids that got arrested for reckless driving, assault, drug possession, etc.

    If he were my kid I’d be damn proud of him. Course I was around for the Vietnam war protests and the sit in at the Shoreham nuclear power plant 🙂

    • WM says:


      Try this website, rather than some rag that caters to those following celebrity. It is more objective. And, while reading, consider this: Two applicants for job/college/graduate school, each appears to be equally qualified or worthy of selection. Which one gets picked, and what are the non-selected person’s remedies? (the only limit is that two criminals with the same criminal record must be treated without discrimination on the basis of protected class status. It doesn’t say an employer/school can’t choose the person without the criminal conviction) Also consider background checks for security clearance, and what the next step is if something pops up? Lots of explaining, and still maybe no clearance, maybe even dismissal from a job.

      On the other hand if one aspires to work for an environmental NGO that employs maybe a half dozen people, or uses unpaid volunteers, probably no big deal. My point, again, is paths are often closed as a result of poor judgment and bad decision-making, without considering consequences.

      According to the earlier news article, and inferring the implications, this kid could be convicted of FEDERAL charges:
      1. disorderly conduct
      2. breaking and entering
      3. destruction of federal property
      4. trespass
      5. interference with governmental operations

      It may be a subsequent but short criminal summary shows up in a background investigation using only those cryptic words. Remember we are now living in an age where this information can show up on a computer screen in a few seconds after a query. He may never get an opportunity to say, “I was only protecting the bison.”

      Here is what the EEOC says about use of such information, and remember it would be the aggrieved applicant who has to file an EEOC charge if they felt they had been discriminated against. Even if successful do you suppose they would ultimately get the job/college entry if left to the employer/school if other non-discriminatory grounds could be found not to choose the convicted person?

      • Ida Lupines says:

        He may not consider it poor judgment. might be a lot happier working for the environmental NGO. Maybe they’d find it a badge of honor. He should also be upfront with any potential employer about any incident and explain – it’s a lot different than being busted for drugs and alcohol, and certainly more responsible behavior.

        If it were my child or my spouse, I’d be as proud as hell of them also and support them however I could. American kids today are in a prolonged childhood and perennial adolescence, don’t move out, parents paying bills. I know part of it is the economy, but still. You raise them the best you can, but at some point they grow up and make their own decisions.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Of course, it depends upon what company you’re applying with – a conservative company, factory farm companies, banksters and energy companies, to name a few, don’t want someone who potentially could create Mutiny on the Bounty if they find out something about them.

          I doubt they’d even apply in cases like that.

      • Yvette says:


        I understand what you’re saying, and the arrest will likely cause him problems in the future. However, given the direction that our national political system has moved, along with many other social and political gyrations, when do we stand up and say, “enough”? Our political system doesn’t work, or at least, it works poorly for those without money and clout.

        In today’s political climate where our politicians are bought, sold and traded to the highest bidder we’re left with few options. Those that want to protect animals,their habitat and environment, get their names placed in DHS’s ‘terrorist’ database. It doesn’t take an arrest, or property destruction; it can be as simple as attending a meeting and handing out flyers. This isn’t me being paranoid. It has already been happening.

        When do we stand up and say, “enough with the cronyism and corruption”? Those of us without money and clout face an entirely different landscape in the current era than the protesters in the 60’s faced. Does chaining yourself to a barrel of concrete change the policies? No, but neither does working through the legal and political channels.

        It’s be cool if you read Will Potter’s book, “Green is the New Red”.

        • LM says:

          We’re all probably already in the DHS database just for posting on this blog. Also, if you go to any of the agency meetings where there is a public forum to voice your opinion (like the Nat’l Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Committee meetings), you have to pre-submit your statement before you are allowed to speak; and everyone in attendance alwsignals to “sign in.”. The last time I attended a Public Lands clean-up day on a wild horse range we had to give out all kinds of personal information, as well as keep our vehicles in a convoy (supposedly not to scare the horses) nor could we pick up any trash, like an old rusty bean can or wire if it might be more than 50 years old, even if it was potentially dangerous for the horses. It was too much authority & too many rules – I left early.

      • LM says:

        WM, so what is the best legal strategy for defending his actions ? First Amendment, political protest, animal welfare ?
        If he was your kid or close friend what would you tell him to do ?

        • WM says:

          ++If he was your kid or close friend what would you tell him to do ?++

          Advise: Don’t do dumb things that will follow you around the rest of your life. Once, done, repent and be respectful, or you might find your sorry ass in jail and be fined heavily. You might incur more legal defense costs if you continue to do stupid stuff.

          ++ …defending his actions++

          Advice: Well, I am not aware that ANY of the matters you suggest (animal welfare, 1st Amendment, political protest) is an affirmative defense to what appear to be the offenses he may have committed. See, that is the thing about civil disobedience – you know what you are doing is against the law, and do it anyway, and accept the consequences. Even if you don’t and after the fact, claim some higher law calls you (recall this idiot that fraudulently bid on oil/gas leases in UT a couple years back and is now doing time), it won’t dissuade a judge (or most times a jury) from not finding guilt if the elements of each infraction match the facts.

          The area of leniency might be found in sentencing, or if a busy federal prosecutor is feeling charitable, maybe reducing or eliminating some of the charges (or lesser and included offenses may be prosecuted instead of the greater offense).

          On the other side of the issue, is the deterrent factor to keep some other not so bright person from doing the same thing. If this kid gets off, what does that say for the next one(s) doing it? Some federal judges/magistrates don’t like this kind of thing. On the other hand maybe this kid gets Judge Molloy (federal judge in MT), and then who knows what happens?

          Putting the shoe on the other foot, if some yahoo shot a wolf where protected in violation of federal law, and claimed “mistake” or other defenses, how do you feel about that?

          • LM says:

            Shooting something by mistake, federally protected or not does not sit well with me. However, I am open to a defense of “mistake” and “other defenses” if there is supporting evidence. But for Comfrey Jacobs, regardless of where he was born or how he was raised; he wasn’t armed, no shots were fired, nobody was injured – crime of passion ? So, shooting from the hip (ha!) – here’s what I think; from the little bit of information and what little evidence I’ve seen, I think the guy that shot the moose while snowmobiling deserves a harsher punishment than Comfrey Jacobs !

  26. Nancy says:

    “He may never get an opportunity to say, “I was only protecting the bison.”

    But he can certainly include (and explain) the circumstances for an arrest record, in his job application or resume WM.

    • WM says:

      Rationalization, indeed, can take many forms. Of course, in any event, good luck with the home loan application.

      • topher says:

        At the age of 20 there are a few here who would claim his brain wasn’t fully developed or he was indoctrinated. Oh wait, that’s only if he was hunting.

        • Nancy says:

          Topher – Google Comfrey Jacobs when you have the time. It appears he’s packed a lot of living in those 20 short years.

          • topher says:

            Born in an old school bus.Kinda says it all without needing to read further.

            • topher says:

              When I was 20 I had a young daughter and worked upwards of 60 hours a week so I could live somewhere besides an old bus. Now my daughter is almost 20 and a full time student at the local college with her whole life ahead of her. The decisions we make have benefits and consequences for ourselves and our children, if you want to raise kids like that then you get what you get. To pretend you would be proud if this child was yours is great but wouldn’t you hope for a little more. I would much rather see my daughter complete her schooling than behave like this young man.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                The decisions we make have benefits and consequences for ourselves and our children, if you want to raise kids like that then you get what you get.

                I would add the decisions we make have consequences for more than just ourselves and our children , but for society and the world as well. In today’s world, we’re raising kids to go for themselves only, and it shows.

                Some very highly educated and otherwise model citizens are criminals. Some are even running our country. What a model citizen stands for today is a little scary.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                It’s times like these that I am glad I never had and am not encumbered by children. Not saddling them with a parents’ baggage, etc.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          I think that ‘undeveloped brain’ theory is more bs. If that’s the truth, then don’t let them buy alcohol, get married, enlist in the army, get a driver’s license?

          We have to remember that our children are not extensions of us, their activities are not ours, nor are they reflections of us. They are their own individual beings. Time was when 20 was an adult, not a perpetual adolescent who isn’t responsible for his own actions and can’t make his own decisions.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            And the biggest one – be able to buy and own a gun or weapon. Most of us here believe that a 10- or 12 year-old isn’t mentally developed enough to understand the gravity of killing, especially if being taught by their parents that animal life is insignificant to them, and responsible gun ownership. By 20, I should think it wouldn’t be an issue?

          • topher says:

            I agree with the undeveloped brain stuff being b.s. but remember it being thrown around in relation to hunting and firearms here recently so thought I would bring it up so it might sound as ridiculous to others as it sounded to me at the time. As far as gun ownership goes, I believe you are required to be 21 to purchase a handgun.

            • WM says:

              Not to beat a dead horse, so to speak, but a very good discussion on “brain development,” and it doesn’t sound like bs. NPR interview with a neuroscientist:


              ++…critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25 or so…. a 20 year old male is only about half way there….men are about two years behind women in brain maturity…upbringing environment can affect brain maturity.”

              LM, I never was much of a rock climber because of lack of talent and eventually my mind caught up with my body before I did something real stupid. I did most of the 14’ers in CO (which are largely just grunts, being mindful of weather which can always present problems at elevation there), and a fair amount of glacier stuff in WA and OR (which requires skill and roped climbing partners with no worse judgment than your own). After years of this and running (probably more poor judgment on my part) my knees don’t like it so much anymore.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Choosing to take a stand on moral grounds isn’t the same thing as an ‘uninhibited impulse’. But, if we as a society want to raise the age of majority to 25 (or so!), and not as a defense for criminal behavior, then at least it’s being consistent. Talk about forever young and perpetual adolescence!

                It used to be that ‘entering uncertain situations to seek out and try to find whether there might be a possibility of gaining something from those situations’ was called learning.

                As a young woman I wasn’t much of a risk taker. I’ve become braver with age and confidence, and experience.

          • WM says:

            Brain development – bs? Maybe not. Here is what the folks at MIT have to say about in their 2005-08 work:



            I know I did a lot of high risk stuff when I was 20 – for example free climbing down the outside of an eight story apartment building (floor to balcony from top to bottom) after three beers, without getting caught. I thought I was invincible. That is the same inability to perceive risk that makes young men good infantry fodder, and has for centuries, while the old guys stay back and count the bodies on both sides, while telling them they are doing a great job winning the war.

            • LM says:

              WM, are you still a climber ?
              My first experience with “mindless” environmental activism started on the first “earth day” (1970); walking to school with a bunch of backpacking friends and lying down in the street and stopping cars trying to turn off the main boulevard to go to work at the CIA ! Of course, they honked but most smiled and waved as we DID FINALLY let them drive by. Meanwhile, my sister, the Class Secretary, was campaigning for Nixon/Agnew – our poor parents. And, we weren’t born and raised in a bus.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              Well then perhaps we ought to raise the drinking age to 25, don’t let kids drive until they are 25, let the old guys fight the battles first(experience counts for a lot more than youth), and prohibit gun ownership for anyone under 25 (that’s when they say brain maturity finally kicks in – let’s hope so because it’s halfway to 30), or get married and have kids. More pseudoscience, and a clever lawyer’s defense. Everyone matures at different rates. Some brains are immature at 50 and 60.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                We both know that none of that stuff is ever gonna fly, except for peaceful protest being thought of as ‘misguided’. lol

              • LM says:

                Didn’t the Cherokee believe 50 was the magic year ? Course, in those days, without environmental toxins, and barring death from accident & injury, people could live to be twice that age.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                I don’t know – I don’t think people lived very long in those days – so perhaps people who did make it to 50 were considered special people.

                Maybe humanity is de-evolving, as a Stanford study has said. It claims people reached the height of their intellectual powers in the days of Ancient Greece, and now that things are made continually easy and less intellectually taxing, it’s been all downhill from there. So someday the human brain may not be at peak maturity until 40!


              • wolf moderate says:

                Ida Lupine,

                You sound more and more conservative. Good on you!

  27. Elk375 says:

    In the early 2000’s, I was involved with several NGO environmental organizations. An employee of one organization had a minor arrest during an environmental protest. No big deal.

    In between jobs he and several friends decided to hike from Sun Valley to Kamloops, BC. The hike went well until they check in with Canadian Customs. All passports were checked and he was denied entry into Canada. It took 3 days for the customs officials to allowed entry into Canada and finish there trip. All because of that arrest.

    Then there is Justin Bibler. ??????

    • Yvette says:

      Would love to see Justin Bieber confined to Canada…….and where does he get those goofy pants?


March 2014


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey