2020 11 12 01 001 Update 1 BFC Stephany Seay photo

Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.

It’s hard to believe that we are entering our twenty-fourth year of standing with the buffalo. This field season is going to be much different than the others, due to Covid-19. This year we aren’t taking new volunteers, so everyone who is here, save for some long-time family members, are the folks who are going to be here for the duration. It will be a lot of extra work, but we’ll make it happen. It’s sad because meeting new volunteers — meeting the people the buffalo have called — is always a treat, and volunteers are the foundation of who we are. But, we have to keep our family safe. We have a really great crew and we are excited to get back into the field with our friends the Buffalo.

2020 11 12 01 002 Update 2 BFC Stephany Seay photo

Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.

A couple of weeks ago, before we started running patrols, we received word from friends in Yellowstone Village that a group of about forty buffalo had made it out to Horse Butte. We immediately started checking on them, but, unfortunately hunters also heard about their presence. Four buffalo were shot on Gallatin National Forest land, and the rest of the group began heading back towards the safety of the Park. Sadly, two adult females were hit and killed on the highway, near the Madison River, as they made their way back east. These moms each had yearlings, who didn’t continue toward the Park with the rest of their relatives. They stayed close to where their mothers were killed. We kept an eye on them for a number of days, and finally we found their small, fresh tracks heading east towards the Park. We are hopeful that they found the shelter of their family group. In the end, we have sadly already lost six members from the imperiled Central herd.

2020 11 12 01 003 Update 3 BFC Stephany Seay photo

A dusting of snow beautifies our special back yard.
Photo by Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign.

The field has been very quiet since those buffalo left. There is a good chance we may not see them again until Spring. We have a number of folks keeping an eye on things in Gardiner, and for now nothing much is happening there. We’ve gotten a dusting of snow, the lake is still fluid, but Winter is most definitely coming. During this quiet field time, we are still busy in other areas. One exciting thing to share with you is that our Executive Director, James Holt, is participating in the National Congress of American Indians 77th Annual Convention and Marketplace, happening this week. He will tell you more about it in his next On the Buffalo Trail newsletter but you can visit the site and check us out. Also, we have another opportunity to rally for Species of Conservation Concern status for the buffalo. The Custer-Gallatin National Forest is hosting a virtual meeting next week, and the buffalo have their own agenda topic on Thursday the 19th, which you can tune in to. If you have filed objections with the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, you may fully participate in this meeting. Details can be found on our Species of Conservation Concern web page.

Thank you for being with us for wild buffalo!