The first eight wild migratory bull buffalo that followed their migration path out of the high country of Yellowstone are all dead now... all at the direction of a government plan that only serves the state of Montana and the livestock industry.

bfc 2017 buffalo portrait

After killing and removing almost one-third of the entire herd last year (see excerpts from Yellowstone National Park’s bison status report in this Update) and not counting the buffalo that died from a severe winter, there is no change in sight. This is not a HUNT, it is a state run extermination program.

The state hunters I have talked with all want wild buffalo back on the land and to be respected as a wildlife species in Montana. The treaty tribes are the only ones at the government's meetings calling for 20,000 to 50,000 buffalo on the land. There are more than eight million acres of public land adjoining the park – land elk freely roam that the buffalo are denied.

Our Tribal Buffalo Summit showed us the strong sacred relationships Indigenous peoples have with the buffalo. Songs, stories, prayers and healing are some of the gifts the buffalo give to the people.

For far too often I have witnessed the killing fields and the horrors of a government plan that is setting buffalo up for disaster; our divisions only let the state of Montana off the hook. None of this is logical. It is a dysfunctional ploy to exterminate what the Montana's cattle industry views as direct competition with their cows.

When BFC was formed, the villain, the Montana Department of Livestock, was shooting wild buffalo on sight as soon as they migrated beyond Yellowstone. Through direct action, video documentation, education and outreach we informed the world what was happening to the buffalo, we brought about change in how the government operated; the Park began to trap and ship buffalo to slaughter, then the state hunt opened, then came the tribal hunt, the quarantine (domestication) program and the spoils from the Park’s trap.

I know it is hard for many people to understand people that hunt and harvest the buffalo still love them and have a relationship with the circle of life. The buffalo should be free to live and thrive as a wildlife species but the government's plan will never let that happen with a population target of 3,000. History shows the federal and state government have killed one-fifth, one-fourth, one-third and more of the herds remaining in Yellowstone. The government now lets the natives and hunters step in and take the black eye for its’ plan.

We all care for the buffalo in our own way and have relationships that not all of us will ever understand. As long as we keep fighting and blaming everyone but the true culprit, the state of Montana, this insanity continues. No one but the livestock industry is happy with this plan and it is time to unite to shut it down. BFC will work with all groups that want to free the buffalo from their reservation known as Yellowstone National Park and bring them back to their homeland, the continent of North America.

With the Buffalo,
Mike Mease

Yellowstone National Park’s Bison Population Status Report


Most recent population estimate of 3,819 buffalo (decreased from 4,453) in the Northern herd, and 1,156 buffalo decreased from 1,363) in the Central herd.

1,551 taken last winter: 1,175 hunt related mortality including 75 state harvests, 1,010 tribal harvests, 37 agency-related dispatched/wounding loss, and 53 unattributed harvests.

1,213 bison captured through winter by NPS with 837 released back into the park, 282 entered in the Bison Conservation Transfer Program, 88 consigned to slaughter, and 6 dying while held.

116 bison completing brucellosis quarantine transferred to the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes for assurance testing

Download the report (PDF)