As the 5:45 AM alarm pulls me out of my warm tipi bed this morning, two inches of fresh snow extinguish my hopes for a delayed winter. After a quick cup of black tea I am out the door and on patrol. Locating the lone bull buffalo in the frosty dawn, the morning's peace is quickly shattered by the arrival of three agents from the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). The agents quickly wake the old bull with their noisy engines and he is not amused. He jumps up and snorts, hops his heavy body around, and swings his back end from side to side, catching air in the process.
As the agents' horse and 4x4 trucks close in the buffalo darts off toward the woods. The bull rakes his head through small trees eyeing the DOL agents all the while. At one point he takes off running and then suddenly turns in a new direction, on a dime, with the grace of a butterfly. But this butterfly weighs more than a ton.
As the DOL agents chase the bull down a private road two Buffalo Field Campaign video cameras document their every move. Landowners come out of their houses, tell the DOL agents that they are trespassing, then return to their homes to call the police. In and around West Yellowstone the buffalo have many friends, the DOL few. Still the authorities do the dirty work of the DOL. When BFC volunteers trespass we are immediately sent to the Bozeman jail. But the law won't come down on the trespassing agents, as the livestock industry still controls Montana. This type of selective law enforcement is the standard in these parts.
We are very thankful that the old bull is still alive. The DOL left him alone after hazing him to Yellowstone. But he will be back. This morning's snowfall was just a taste of what's to come. In the coming months Yellowstone will fall under a deepening blanket of snow and the buffalo, seeking survival, will leave the park for the surrounding lowlands, where they can access the grass from which their bodies are built. When they do they will find themselves in the cross-hairs of Montana's rifles, and many will likely be slaughtered. We will be here with the buffalo to protect them, to the best of our ability, and to share their stories with you. Together we will make a difference.
A special thanks to all of the people helping us get our kitchen set up and to those who have contacted us to donate VCRs. If you have ever thought about coming out to volunteer, please come this year. It's going to be a difficult one and we need all the help we can get. Thank you all for continuing to spread the word of the buffalo and for your never-ending support.
Many thanks to all the folks who have responded so quickly to our requests for kitchen equipment!! We have received many of the items we are in need of but our wish list is still considerable. With hazing operations already in full swing we need to be able to have the kitchen ready immediately so that people can be well fed to put their energy into patrols. If you can donate any of the items on this list please let us know with a phone call or an e-mail as soon as possible!
Thanks for the love and kindness,
10 and 20 quart stainless steel stockpots with lids
Stainless steel hotel pans with lids (deep and regular size)
20-24" professional sautee pans
Large stainless steel pressure cooker
Industrial strength food processor (robocoup)
Kitchen Aid mixer
Champion juicer Large peanut grinder to (make our own peanut butter)
I will be posting articles on the Yellowstone region on the discussion forum, especially AP stories reported in the Casper Star-Tribune. This paper has a lot of useful stories, especially from the Grand Teton region, but they roll their stories off every few days. I want them up much longer. This discussion forum only rolls off as it gets too large.