With very little activity along Yellowstone’s boundaries, it’s feeling like the calm before the storm. BFC is running full patrols in both Gardiner and West Yellowstone, and wild buffalo are currently staying safe. In the Gardiner Basin, on the north side of the Park, a few groups of buffalo have been appearing and disappearing, not yet ready to commit to accessing lower elevation habitat. In the Hebgen Basin, along the western boundary of Yellowstone, we have been keeping a close eye on a few bulls, but they are miles within Park boundaries and off limits to hunters. However, that hasn’t stopped a few groups of hunters from zipping up and down the Park boundary, scoping into the Park, looking for buffalo and hoping they will show themselves. Some hunters have gone so far as to enter the Park, donning hunter orange, with rifles strapped over their shoulders. As we currently have no game warden here along the western boundary, we’re keeping a close eye on things, watchful for illegal hunting.
BFC will attend a media tour of Yellowstone's Stephens Creek buffalo trap today, documenting and asking questions. The trap is currently empty except for 40 young buffalo who have been imprisioned there since late-February. These lonely, orphaned buffalo will never be wild and free again, having been doomed to either a life of domestication, being turned into livestock, or sentenced to slaughter. They are not alone. Yellowstone and other Interagency Bison Management Plan decision-makers are planning a massive slaughter this winter, stating that they “need” to kill between 900 and 1,300 buffalo. The “need” they are satisfying is that of Montana’s livestock interests, who will stop at nothing to prevent wild, migratory buffalo from reestablishing themselves throughout their native homelands. They will be met by opposition every step of the way, as Buffalo Field Campaign will stop at nothing to ensure that wild buffalo restore themselves on the lands that are their birthright.
You can help wild buffalo right now. Please take a moment to make two very important phone calls: 1) Call Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk at 307-344-2002 and demand that he stop bending over backwards to appease cattle interests at the expense of the buffalo he should be protecting; 2) Call Montana Governor Steve Bullock at 406-444-3111 and urge him to help repeal or amend MCA 81-2-120, the law that gives authority over wild buffalo in Montana to the Montana Department of Livestock, and urge him to support a new plan that respects wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana. Tell them both to stop sacrificing our treasured national mammal on the altar of the cattle industry. When you call, expect that each of them will place the blame on the other, but know that they are both directly responsible for this war against the country’s last wild buffalo.