Photo by Stephany Seay.  Gardiner Basin.

A buffalo enjoying the sun in Gardiner, MT

Spring is coming full force here in the Madison Valley on Yellowstone’s western boundary, and we are welcoming a warmth from the spring sun that hasn’t been felt since winter took hold many months ago. As we go on our daily patrols we are slowly witnessing a great melting of the landscape, recharging Yellowstone with the water it needs to thrive through summer. Insects are buzzing, grizzly bears are stirring, and the first hints of green grass are emerging on sunny slopes, waiting to nourish the hungry buffalo calves that will join us soon.

2021 04 02 01 002 Buffalo Yearling

A young buffalo waits for spring

In the field, things have been quiet and peaceful as we anticipate the ancestral spring migration of Yellowstone’s central herd. The herd travels along the Madison river this time of year, taking advantage of the newly exposed grass along the river banks. After a long winter of moving snow to get to the grass below, this easily accessible food is a blessing for the buffalo. Any day now, our patrols expect to see the distinctive brown figures of our friends on the horizon, an assurance that the migration is upon us. With that migration comes new life, a new generation of the last wild buffalo. Their final destination is Horse Butte, a peninsula on Hebgen Lake that is prime spring habitat for newborn buffalo calves. We can’t wait to share with all of you the joys of calving season, stay tuned!

As we wait for migration, we can celebrate a huge victory for the buffalo. Due to reduced migration on the northern park boundary and the dedicated work of our staff and members, Yellowstone National Park will not capture any buffalo for slaughter or quarantine at the Stephen’s Creek capture facility! This annual capture program sanctioned by the outdated, unscientific bison management plan is the biggest threat to the survival of the Yellowstone Herds. Its closure will allow the populations of the herds to grow and recover from the

persecution they’ve experienced for decades. It is our hope that going forward, your continued support will help ensure that the closure of the Stephen’s Creek capture facility is permanent.

Stephany Seay photo.  Gardiner, MT.  Cutler meadows buffalo party.

Wallowing and sparring with friends

To end this update, we encourage all of our members to keep an eye out on social media and our website for a new documentary featuring BFC: Last Wild Bison. Produced by our friends at Locks Media, Last Wild Bison reveals one of the world’s least known but most heartbreaking wildlife stories: the ongoing slaughter of America’s last free-roaming bison. With important archival footage from frontline activists, testimony from preeminent wildlife biologists, and profound insights from Native elders, the film raises questions about what we’ve learned since colonization and how, looking ahead, we value and protect wildness on our public lands. The film is supported and sponsored by the The Redford Center. Learn more at