To all of our supporters who share our distress over the continuing mismanagement of wild bison at the direction of Montana’s livestock interests - especially those of you who email us asking "when and how does this all end?" - we have some good news:

Montana’s Livestock Emperor has no clothes!

And BFC has a plan for getting Montana out of the game, mercifully ending this charade of sacrificing what everyone wants, wild bison on public lands, to the economic interests of the few, Montana's livestock industry.

If that sounds too good to be true to you, as it initially did to me after 20+ years of pondering that very question, allow me to beg your indulgence and patience. Indulge me by reading a 3000 word essay in my blog, Facing the Storm, which explains the end game for all those who have stuck with us over the decades, through thick and thin.

2023 01 26 bison rut

I promise you it will be worth your time. Here is just a snippet, to whet your appetite:

In light of recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing the primacy of off-reservation tribal treaty hunting rights, the state of Montana’s continuing insistence on severely restricting the natural migrations of Yellowstone’s buffalo throughout their historical range raises troubling questions of law and continuing ethnic genocide, as their obstruction largely deprives Indigenous Americans of access to their aboriginal food source, a right almost uniformly secured by various treaties.

Most recently the high court... reinforced an earlier decision finding that a tribal member’s exercise of off-reservation hunting and fishing rights, which are considered to be the supreme law of the land under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution, is largely “immune” from State regulation.

That is worth repeating: off-reservation tribal hunting of wild bison, elk, and other traditional game on open federal lands, such as the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, is immune from State interference.

So what gives, right? You'll need to read the blog for answers.

And then, have patience, because we are going to move on this as fast as our organizational resources and expertise will permit. We’re not able to disclose all the elements of our comprehensive plan at this time, but we will be unveiling them right here over the course of the next several months, in a stepwise manner that we’re confident will allow us to accomplish our 25-year mission, and begin to realize our shared vision: “a world in which buffalo and all other native wildlife are allowed to exist for their own sake, are given priority on public lands, and herds are allowed to maintain self-regulating, sustainable populations.”

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that we are actively pursuing BFC Executive Director James Holt’s holistic solution to the Yellowstone bison conundrum. James formally signed the Buffalo Treaty last fall, which embodies that shared vision. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Habitat Coordinator and the persistence of our attorneys with Friends of the Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is actively studying threats to the viability of Yellowstone bison, especially the central herd, with a listing decision under the Endangered Species Act slated for this summer.

Our petition for a bison wildlife bridge to secure migration corridors for the endangered central herd has already garnered over 4000 signatures, and we have now formally requested the support and assistance of our federal wildlife stewards on all of your behalf. Thanks!

And just in the past week, thanks to our Director James once again, BFC broke a national story that is shining light on the scandalous conditions imposed by the state of Montana on the tribes’ inherent right to honorably harvest wild bison.

And yes, of course, we are still out in the field every day with the buffalo, thanks to all of your support and encouragement. It’s not easy for staff and volunteers to bear witness to the travesty around the north entrance to the Park right now, or to see the rising death toll of the central herd on Hwy 191 on the west end. But we persevere, console one another, and take action, because we know that we are the eyes of the world on Yellowstone's bison this time of the year, and we know it’s important to be vigilant on behalf of bison here, in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth.

For the Buffalo,
Tom Woodbury, Director of Communications

Read more on the "Facing the Storm Blog".

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