It had been a deceptively quiet week here at BFC Headquarters on Hebgen Lake, with a few dozen bison on Horse Butte enjoying their sanctuary lands, keeping the few hunters who remained patient at bay. Then word came over the weekend that bison were beginning to migrate through Gardiner again, at the northern entrance to the Park. We sent over Jackson Doyel, an experienced wildlife biologist, and Cameron, a newly arrived intern from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, By the time they arrived, there were hundreds of buffalo stretching the limits placed on their migrations by Montana's livestock industry, along with some state and many tribal hunters eager to feed their families traditional meat.
Prior to this week, there had been two buffalo shot near Gardiner, fourteen killed by hunters on or near Horse Butte, and four killed on the roads by drivers. Then on the 13th, 13 unlucky wild bison fell to hunters in the snowy fields around Gardiner, raising the seasons death toll to 33. With a population of around 6000 now in Yellowstone, and with the Park refraining from "passive trapping" at Stevens Creek Trap to accommodate the Tribe's need to feed their families, it's likely that there will be hundreds more taken in the coming months. We here at BFC honor the Tribes desire to resume traditional life ways in relation with buffalo, while at the same time we join them in grieving their fallen relatives.
As long as wild buffalo are constrained to narrow hunting grounds just outside Park boundaries, rather than being allowed to inhabit the vast wildlife hunting grounds maintained on 12,000+ square miles of National Forest lands surrounding YNP, the hunt will remain controversial. And BFC will be there, bearing witness. You can read BFC's Guest Opinion in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle clearly stating our position on treaty hunts by scrolling down to "Buffalo in the News" below.
With the developing situation in Gardiner, we're stretched thin here at Headquarters, with just enough volunteers and staff to carry out our daily patrols, and some of us are planning to travel over the holidays. So, if you're ready to make your Buffalo New Year’s Resolutions, why not resolve to stand with the buffalo for the Solstice and into 2023? Once here, you'll have the option to serve buffalo on Horse Butte or in Gardiner, and you'll have the chance to ski across some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. We have everything you will need right here for a meaning-filled holiday season.
If you're game, or know someone who might be, follow this link: