* Update from the Field
Two bull buffalo walk the land. Bulls can be found in bachelor groups ranging in number from two to upwards of twenty, or alone. Photo by Tim Springer. Click photo for larger image.
With summer nearing its end, BFC would like to extend a huge thank you to all the hard-workers who came out to help us for Wood Cut Week! Folks traveled from near and far to help us cut and stack the wood that will keep BFC's wood stoves burning throughout the long, frigid winter. We could not have done it without you - thank you!
As we prepare for the upcoming field season and the seasonal migration of the buffalo, we continue to work on outreach and our various legal and political initiatives. Buffalo advocates everywhere are making differences in many ways, and in the long run, all of these efforts combined are going to break down the failing status quo and open up the land for wild buffalo to roam!
Please read on to learn about some of the exciting things being done to help America's last wild buffalo and how you can take part!
* West Coast Road Show Underway!
BFC co-founder Mike Mease joins with Good Shield and Phoenix for a few short weeks on the West Coast sharing stories, music and video! This guitar will likely be there. BFC file photo by Stephany. Click photo for larger image.
BFC's Campaign Coordinator Mike Mease is on his way to Oregon and California to share music, stories, video, and activism inspired by the Yellowstone bison. He'll be joined by musicians Good Shield and Phoenix for what promise to be a handful of very special events. Please join BFC if you live in or near the following towns.
The Road Show kicks off on September 16 at Tatanka Fest in Ashland, Oregon! Check our complete 2011 West Coast Road Show schedule for more information. Please get in touch with the contacts for each venue for more details about that particular event. If you would like BFC to come to your west coast community next year, please contact Mike to discuss the possibilities!
* Bison Advocates Intervene in Lawsuit to Defend Bison's Right to Roam Beyond Yellowstone
Man made signs and boundaries hold no meaning for buffalo or other wildlife, yet wild bison are repeatedly punished or killed for stepping over meaningless borders. Bison advocates are working to ensure that they can one day cross these imaginary lines without dire consequence. BFC file photo by Jesse Crocker. Click photo for larger image.
Montana District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips granted Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project the right to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Park County and the Park County Stockgrowers Association to stop a plan by the state of Montana to permit buffalo some room to migrate within Gardiner Basin outside Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary. Judge Phillips wrote,"under the Principle of Pluralistic Democracy, different viewpoints create different pressure points that result in unique organizational structures" and foresaw additional litigation if our perspective was not represented before the court.
Thank you to Park County residents Fred Baker and Scott Hoeninghouse who submitted affidavits supporting our intervention and advocating for buffalo to freely roam Gardiner Basin and beyond.
Gardiner Basin is part of the buffalo's original winter range which extended 40 miles beyond Yankee Jim Canyon into Paradise Valley along the Yellowstone River. The long delayed change adapted by the Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies - that the Stockgrowers seek to stop - would only allow buffalo to occupy part of the basin part of the year.
In their court filings, the Stockgrowers and Park County are perpetuating fear of buffalo as a "public nuisance" and "public health and safety" threat - the latest in a long series of fabrications to poison public perception about these migratory gentle giants.
Montana's Supreme Court has set precedent on similar claims of damage or harm by wildlife, ruling in State v. Rathbone (1940): "One who acquires property in Montana does so with notice and knowledge of the presence of wild game and presumably is cognizant of its natural habits. Wild game does not possess the power to distinguish between fructus naturales and fructus industriales, and cannot like domestic animals be controlled through an owner. Accordingly a property owner in this state must recognize the fact that there may be some injury to property or inconvenience from wild game for which there is no recourse."
Local residents, and our field patrols, have learned by observing buffalo in their habitat and adapted those lessons buffalo provide in how to co-exist. Montana is buffalo country. As citizens who live in the buffalo's habitat we owe it to them to learn about their species and help their population survive and thrive.
In another important development the state of Montana filed a motion to disqualify attorney John Bloomquist and his law firm Doney, Crowley, Bloomquist, Payne, and Uda, P.C. from representing the Stockgrowers in this suit. The state makes a well documented case that Bloomquist and his law firm is in breach of Montana Rules of Professional Conduct that prohibit conflicts of interest.
Bloomquist is one of the architects of the Interagency Bison Management Plan and state law that makes migratory buffalo outlaws in Montana under the jurisdiction of the livestock department, that is, the Stockgrowers. From 1996-2004 Bloomquist was paid hundreds of thousands of Montana taxpayer dollars under contract as legal counsel and "technical expert" for the Montana Dept. of Livestock, Dept. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and previous Governors in several buffalo-related lawsuits. As lawyer for the state, Bloomquist was privy to all of the attorney-client privileged documents he kept with his former clients as Montana crafted legal strategy to stop migratory buffalo from recovering their population and original range. Now, on behalf of the Stockgrowers, Bloomquist seeks to sue his former clients for an "adaptive management" plan he helped create.
Judge Phillips has scheduled a trial hearing October 26-27 in Lewiston, Montana to hear witnesses and arguments. Thank you attorney Summer Nelson and Western Watersheds Project for getting us represented and involved in a case that will have far reaching implications for wild buffalo in Montana. Stay tuned!
* BFC Needs Kitchen Coordinator for 2011-2012 Season
One of the most important jobs for our campaign is the Kitchen Coordinator, who ensures that volunteers are fed wholesome, delicious meals, and maintains our kitchen and food stores. We are in need of a person to fill this critical roll for our 2011-2012 field season. Interested people should have experience cooking for large groups and a variety of dietary preferences, doing inventory and ordering on a budget. Good organizational skills are essential, as well as the ability to assess, hire and direct Camp Cooks. A driver's license and clean driving record is also required. If this sounds like the job for you, or if you know someone who would be perfect for it, please contact Elizabeth for more information and an application.
* What Do Calendars, Bikes and License Plates Have in Common?
In these particular instances, they all play a part in helping America's last wild buffalo!
Connect with the buffalo through Buffalo Field Campaign's 2012 Wild Bison calendar, a beautiful tribute to this amazing species. Wild Bison 2012 is a positive celebration of the last continuously wild herds of bison in America, featuring photographs submitted by BFC supporters and volunteers. We have a limited supply so please order now!
BFC volunteer Kriquet and her partner Nicholas are currently engaged on a bike tour from New Mexico to Los Angeles in an effort to have fun and raise support for two non-profits that are dear to their hearts: Buffalo Field Campaign and Save our Shores. Follow their journey!
Our popular Montana license plates are available as legal license plates to Montana residents, and as souvenir plates to folks around the globe! We have put together a web page with details so please learn more and order your "Montana - Let Buffalo Roam" license plate today!
* TAKE ACTION!
1. Contact Your Members of Congress and urge them to force an end to the Interagency Bison Management Plan, support Tribal co-management of wild buffalo, and re-direct federal funding towards habitat based solutions for wild buffalo. TAKE ACTION!
2. Write Letters to the Editor in support of protecting America's last wild buffalo.
3. Donate Now! Buffalo Field Campaign is dependent upon contributions from our supporters for our survival. Please make a donation of whatever amount you can afford and ensure that we remain the buffalo's most powerful voice in the field and in the policy arena.
Thank You! Spread the word to save these herds! Please share these action links on FaceBook, blogs, etc.
* BFC Wish List: BFC Office Coordinator Needs A Computer!
Elizabeth, Buffalo Field Campaign's office coordinator, is in need of a computer upgrade. BFC recently purchased essential software upgrades she needs to do her job, but unfortunately the software does not run on the old Power PC processors. BFC has the software but we need a computer to match the talents of Elizabeth - Can you help?
Our wish list for Elizabeth
* By the Numbers
AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range.
2010-2011 Total Buffalo Killed: 227
2010-2011 Government Capture: 770
2010-2011 Government Slaughter: 0
2010-2011 Held for Government Experiment: 30
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 3
2010-2011 Miscarriage in Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 211
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 4
2010-2011: Killed by Angry Residents: 2
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 11
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
* Total Since 2000: 3,972*
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words ~ Captain Hector Barbosa
"That's the problem with being the last of anything...bye and bye there wont be none left."
~Captain Hector Barbosa, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Worlds End
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to Stephany. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes, and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!