Monday, January 31, 2011

Even More Bison Bills!

Here's this week's round up.

SB 174 SENATE Fish and Game Committee Tuesday, February 1, Room 422, 3 PM
Primary sponsor is Senator Gene Vuckovich is a Democrat from Anaconda: Prohibit spending Montana tax dollars "to relocate or transplant wild buffalo or bison" on Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area, near Avon, west of Helena. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks: "The primary goal of Montana's Wildlife Management Areas is to maintain vital wildlife habitat for the protection of species and the enjoyment of the public." All too often cattle are grazed on these habitats purchased by all Montanans for their wildlife habitat values.

SB 184 SENATE Fish and Game Committee Tuesday, February 1, Room 422, 3 PM
Primary sponsor is Senator Kendall Van Dyk a Democrat from Billings: Changes current law to permit "the use of bows and arrows" to hunt wild buffalo in Montana.

HB 214 HOUSE Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee Tuesday, February 1, Room 152, 3 PM
Primary sponsor is Rep. Bill Harris is a Republican from Mosby: Legally reclassifies all wild buffalo or bison in the state not in captivity, and not owned by a person as livestock. "Shall" meaning requires the Dept. of Livestock inspectors to capture, quarantine, test, slaughter, take by special hunt, or transfer to Tribes said "estrayed" buffalo "in a manner that does not jeopardize compliance with a state-administered or federally administered livestock disease control program." Based on previous statements by Montana's state veterinarian, this latter statement means that Tribes would only be eligible to take neutered or spayed buffalo. Two provisions of honorable mention in HB 214 would repeal 81-2-120 (Management of wild buffalo for disease control giving Montana Dept. of Livestock authority for all migratory populations) and 87-1-216 (Montana's hunt of wild buffalo or bison for disease control). HB 214 also repeals 81-2-121 the taking of public buffalo on private property, and the prohibition on intentional feeding "game animals in a manner that results in artificial concentration of game animals that may potentially contribute to the transmission of disease." The Dept. of Livestock is exempt from this prohibition on feeding wildlife.

If you can't attend these critical hearings, please call and contact Montana legislators via this number: (406) 444-4800

All committee member emails are located at the bottom of this page:

Friday, January 28, 2011

SB 148 DPHHS Bison Management

I attended the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee meeting on SB 148 earlier this week. It was 1hr of bison and landowner bashing. I sat to the left and behind the comment podium. The sponsor of the bill, Art Wittich, says there are too many buffalo and that if DOL was doing it's job of managing wild buffalo before the animal comes onto private land, there wouldn't be issues with landowners.

One interesting thing about SB 148 is the following quote from the bill Sec.1 Subsection (2)(c)
The department is not required to notify or obtain the landowner's permission to enter the property prior to conducting bison control activities if the department, the department of public health and human services, and the department of fish, wildlife, and parks all find that entry onto the landowner's property without notice or permission is necessary to protect the public health and safety.
In regards to seeking permission from both FWP and DPHHS, Christian MacKay had the following arrogant statement against the state of Montana, "We don't need the state or federal, especially federal offices looking over our shoulder [making] sure we are doing a good job."
I began laughing at this hole he dug.

Brucellosis-the B word- came up alot from a representative from Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) and Christian MacKay executive officer of the MDOL. MSGA made a statement that goes beyond the superficial. "[we] need to keep bison and cattle separate in time and space." When he said this a thought flowed into my head that he is not referring to fences, but literally 'time' and 'space.' Cattle and bison cannot be in this country at the same time. The bison need to go.

A friend of mine gave a excellent presentation on the different strains of brucellosis, livestock who carry it and the threat to humans. Here it is:
Sec. 1 81-2-120 Management of wild buffalo or bison for disease control. Whenever a publicly owned wild buffalo or bison from a herd that is infected with a dangerous disease, etc... action (d) states that disease is brucellosis.
Brucellosis is passed through birthing material, therefore there should be an amendement to not kill the bulls or females before or after breeding age. Brucellosis causes a cow to abort it's first fetus, so areas without cattle should be exempt. A human contracts the disease by either allowing the bacteria to enter a cut, breathing in the bacteria or drinking unpasteurized milk. If a landowner or anyone on their land comes that close to the buffalo, that person becomes the Public Health Issue.
B Suis is most often found in hogs and is more deadly to humans that that found in cattle.
B. melitenses is found in goats and sheep and causes the most severe illness in humans.
Brucellosis abortus, which is found in cattle and which the buffalo have a strain of has never transferred from buffalo to cattle, is not usually fatal in humans and the intermittent fevers can be exhausting and last a few days. This disease is CURABLE. No need to clear bison from the landscape, as Christian Mackay suggested.
Given all this information, Brucellosis abortus cannot realistically be considered a dangerous disease. Therefore, the entirety of Section 1 should be revoked.
I do support DOL having to receive landowner permission!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upcoming Buffalo Hearings

Dear Friends of the Buffalo,
Please attend and testify at these hearings in support of keeping the legal status and treatment of wild buffalo as wildlife (SB 207 and SB 212), for restoring wild free ranging buffalo in Montana (HB 318, SB 212 and SB 207), and keeping livestock inspectors from trespassing on private property where wild buffalo are valued and welcomed in our neighborhoods and communities (SB 148).  All of these bills need to be opposed and defeated.


SB 148 Hearing scheduled SENATE Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee Tuesday, January 25, Room 335, 3 PM

SB 207 Hearing scheduled SENATE Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 335, 3 PM

SB 212 Hearing scheduled SENATE Fish and Game Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 422, 3 PM

HB 318 Hearing scheduled HOUSE Agriculture Committee Thursday, January 27, Room 472, 3 PM

If you can't attend these hearings, please call and contact Montana legislators via this number: (406) 444-4800.

Please get involved and spread the word to save America's last wild buffalo herd!  Make contact with your Montana legislators through this link (click on the area where you reside):

To submit written testimony, contact the secretary of the respective committee.  Address your testimony to the Chair and members of the committee, and ask that your testimony be entered into the hearing record.

House committee members (and secretaries) can be found and contacted through this link:

Senate committee members (and secretaries) can be found and contacted through this link:

The primary sponsor Sen. Art Wittich is a Republican from Bozeman: SB 148's exemptions for entry essentially guts the provision of notifying and obtaining approval from landowners PRIOR to Dept. of Livestock inspectors coming onto private property to force buffalo to flee said property.  Current law 81-2-120 does not permit livestock inspectors to trespass on private lands to harass and harm wild buffalo where they are welcomed and valued. There is no "public health and safety" threat where buffalo are permitted by landowners to be on their property. The logic of SB 148 begs the question:  will elk become a "public health and safety" threat too?

The primary sponsor Sen. Frederick "Eric" Moore  is a Republican from Miles City: SB 207 reclassifies ALL buffalo as livestock in Montana. The Dept. of Livestock is required to impose a permit and inspection system for buffalo coming into/out of any county, or into/out of state. "A person who purposely or knowingly transports wild or domestic buffalo or bison in violation of rules adopted pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or both." Prohibits buffalo to "run at large" and makes owners of said buffalo liable with penalties for trespass onto private property. SB 207 classifies any wild buffalo, including those from Yellowstone as "estrayed," permitting the Dept. of Livestock to take them.

The primary sponsor Sen. Rick Ripley is a Republican from Wolf Creek. SB 212 requires Fish, Wildlife & Parks to adopt a plan BEFORE any wild buffalo can be released onto private or public lands in Montana. The plan MUST include: animal identification, tracking and containment measures (fencing and removal methods) in "designated areas" and makes Fish, Wildlife & Parks liable for any costs incurred for damages to private property. Fish, Wildlife & Parks "may not release or transplant wild buffalo or bison on state or federal land in Montana if the relocation or transplantation would negatively affect any existing multiple use of the land, including livestock grazing."

The primary sponsor Rep. Wendy Warburton is a Republican from Havre: HB 318 requires the approval of County Commissioners BEFORE the Dept. of Livestock or Fish, Wildlife & Parks may permit wild buffalo or buffalo certified brucellosis free to be relocated in Montana in the counties affected.

Thank you for taking action to protect America's last wild buffalo and their descendants as a valued wildlife species freely roaming Montana.
For the Buffalo,

Daniel Brister, Executive Director
Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field
and in the policy arena to protect America's last wild buffalo.

Letter to MDOL on SB 207

My name is Julia Vincent.  I live in Helena, Montana.  My grandparents were Montana homesteaders.  My mother's family homesteaded in Daniels County.  My father's parents homesteaded along the north fork of the Flathead river.  My grandfather, Ray Vincent, was acting superintendent of Glacier National Park.  My father, John D. Vincent, was a foreman and a ranger in The Park.

In the 1800's, the Department of the Interior was complaining that Indians and Buffalo are taking grassland away from cattle.  This mentality remains in control to this day.  The attacks on genetically pure bison are fueled by fear, not by reality.  Taxpayers' money continues to be misused to fund an archaic, racist war.  Giving Yellowstone Bison to Ted Turner while refusing to give them to local indigenous nations was borne out of the livestock industry's fear that Indians are going to bring back the Buffalo. Now you are attempting to eradicate them by re-labeling the last remnant of genetically pure bison as livestock. Livestock are animals your ancestors brought to the western hemisphere when they emigrated to this foreign land. Genetically pure bison are indigenous wildlife, sacred to the First Nations.

And, as you already know, there is not even one documented case of bison giving brucellosis back to the cattle who brought it here to begin with.  More taxpayers' money being spent on a lie.

Tatanka is not livestock!  Let the genetically pure buffalo roam.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reply From Colin Campbell

Here is Colin Campbell's reply to my mother's letter word for word. He really side-steps the issue.

Yellowstone National Park and the National Park Service appreciate your recent email. You can find information on bison and bison management in the greater Yellowstone area by using the links listed below. At the Yellowstone National Park website you can find information on topics like bison ecology, adaptive management and an historic bison study. The link is: will take you to the Greater Yellowstone Science Learning Center, where you can find more facts, references and research on bison. http:/ will take you to the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) information repository. The IBMP guides bison management and disease management of brucellosis in bison, in and around Yellowstone National Park. The cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe. More information on the IBMP can be found at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From a Montana "Native"

This is a letter my mother wrote to the Acting Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, Colin Campbell.
My name is Julia Vincent. I live in Helena, Montana. My grandparents were Montana homesteaders. My mother's family settled on Indian Lands in Daniels County. My father's parents homesteaded along the north fork of the Flathead river. My grandfather, Ray Vincent, was acting superintendent of Glacier National Park. My father, John D. Vincent, was a foreman and a ranger in The Park.

More genetically pure bison are being sent to slaughter. Continued reduction of the size of the herd is weakening them through inbreeding. In the 1800's, the D.O.I. was complaining that Indians and Buffalo are taking grassland away from cattle. This mentality remains in control to this day. The attacks on genetically pure bison are fueled by fear, not by reality. Taxpayers' money continues to be misused to fund an archaic, racist war. Giving Yellowstone Bison to Ted Turner while refusing to give them to local indigenous nations was borne out of the live$tock indu$try's fear that Indians are going to bring back the Buffalo.

And, as you already know, there is not even one documented case of bison giving brucellosis back to the cattle who brought it here to begin with. More taxpayers' money being spent on a lie.

Get out of the 1800's. Let the genetically pure buffalo roam.

Here's BFC's update on the current situation with the Yellowstone Buffalo.

There are at least 64 buffalo in the Stephens Creek trap currently, and with all the snow accumulation there will likely be more captured. There's a large mixed group of at least 50 that were hazed to Powerline Flats yesterday.... YNP & DOL agents have also been hazing other groups of buffalo into the Hunt Zone, and buffalo have quickly been shot after being hazed there. At least 80 buffalo have been killed by hunters so far.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION! Contact Yellowstone's Acting Superintendent Colin Campbell and tell him not to allow any buffalo slaughter and to set the buffalo free!
PHONE: 307-344-2003

Our supporters that have already called have told us Yellowstone is saying they never "promised" not to slaughter, but that's a game of semantics. They said they would not. They are also telling people to contact APHIS, but they are simply trying to pass the buck. This is Yellowstone's decision to make. Put the pressure on.

Also, you should know that the some of the 25 buffalo that were hazed through RTR lands have already left! They have crossed the Yellowstone river, and have already been hazed a few times. Right across the street (Hwy 89) from Cutler Meadows is one of the Corwin Springs quarantine pastures with buffalo in it - surely the RTR buffalo went to visit some quarantined relatives. This RTR scheme was doomed to fail, and the buffalo are letting these agencies and NGO's know that you cannot box them in. Who knows what will become of them... we are watching and will let you know.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cowboy's Commission Meeting

The meeting yesterday was the typical lack of respect and responsibility by Fish Wildlife & Parks and ranchers and the strong supportiveness of individuals and environmental groups.

There were about 40 people there with only 6 or 7 who were against relocating buffalo onto wildlife management areas (WMA's). A few of the supporting groups were Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council, and Helena Hunters and Anglers. One Native from Fort Peck and one from Fort Belknap were there inaddition to the InterTribal Bison Cooperative's lawyer. The opposing groups were obviously, Stockgrowers and Cattlemen's Association plus at least one rancher and 2 individuals who live near Spotted Dog Wilderness Area (the proposed relocation site).

At present there is a lawsuit filed by Western Watersheds Project, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Buffalo Field Campaign, and Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation
against FWP over FWP giving Ted Turner Yellowstone bison which is nothing more than the privatization of the Yellowstone bison. This lawsuit has become an excuse for FWP to deny the tribes buffalo. FWP Director Joe Maurier said, "If we give them [buffalo] to another nation, it could be seen as the ultimate in privatization. So, until we can resolve that issue, I will not be able to do much. But it's still under consideration." Maurier has also said, "If the suit continues, we will fight it all the way. If the suit goes away we will continue to talk with our tribal friends. It's my understanding that we did make some promises and some tribes did what they said they would do with fencing. We need to get this little issue resolved and we are ready to go."

Mike Fox, Fort Belknap tribal council member has said, "If they go to the tribes it's not privatization because we have a government-to-government relationship. We are ready and willing to help with this project."

At the end of the meeting yesterday Maurier again restated to the tribes that buffalo cannot go on their land until the plaintiffs drop the lawsuit. He said when this happens they can move forward.

Mike Mease, co-founder of Buffalo Field Campaign, filmed this entire meeting. When the video is available I will post it.

The one thing that was lacking in the meeting was knowledge. FWP has alot of facts about the relative, but lacks knowledge--Vedic Science, the knowledge of Natural Law--how the universe works and organizes itself in perfect harmony. The tribes have this knowledge, making them more than capable of taking care of buffalo. When the knowledge of how nature works becomes the basis of all FWP's and the Department Of Interior's and Bureau of Land Management's decisions, then balance will be restored to Montana's environment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bison Relocation

So far 60 buffalo have been killed in Montana's "hunt"Inaddition, 31 bison have been captured INSIDE Yellowstone National Park and put into the Stephens Creek Trap Facility for an undetermined length of time (photo below).

NPS File Photo

Tomorrow Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is having a public meeting on relocating the bison who've been in quarantine at the Corwin Springs facility and moving them to the Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area or Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. The buffalo would be fenced in and "hunted."

I'm going to go to this cowboy meeting with a couple other people. There need to be people there who support buffalo.

Friday, January 7, 2011

31 Bison Captured Inside Yellowstone, Hunting Tragedy

Buffalo Field Campaign

Yellowstone Bison

Update from the Field

January 6, 2011

* Update from the Field: 31 Bison Captured Inside Yellowstone, Hunting Tragedy

Shame on Yellowstone! Wild bufalo confined in pens at Stephens Creek trap, inside Yellowstone National Park. NPS file photo. Click here for larger image.

Hazing operations have been taking place nearly every day along migration routes north of Yellowstone. Early Tuesday afternoon, Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Department of Livestock began capturing wild buffalo at the Stephens Creek buffalo trap, inside Yellowstone National Park, for the ill-conceived Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) land scheme, which BFC refers to as the Corridor to Nowhere. The RTR land scheme is a $3.3 million agreement between the Church Universal & Triumphant (CUT), Yellowstone National Park, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and the National Parks Conservation Association. CUT has been given private and taxpayer money in exchange for removing their cattle for only 30 years and allowing just twenty-five bison temporary access to small portions of public lands on Gallatin National Forest and CUT lands.

BFC patrols in Gardiner report that a total of thirty-one buffalo have so far been captured. Yellowstone intends to capture between 60 and 80 buffalo for their experiment.

The $3.3 million RTR land scheme - paid for with public and private money - is falsely described as a step towards "increased tolerance" for wild buffalo in Montana. It is utterly incongruous to say that this experiment holds any benefit for wild buffalo, it is simply one more way that Yellowstone, Montana and certain conservation groups compromise the wild integrity of America's last wild bison by managing them as livestock.

The buffalo hazed into the trap will be held in confinement for an unknown period of time, placing them under a great deal of stress and, based upon similar operations in the past, causing serious injury and even death to some of the captured animals. Family groups will be separated, mothers from calves, brothers from sisters. They will then suffer squeeze chutes, blood tests, and highly invasive pregnancy tests. Yellowstone and Montana will randomly choose twenty-five buffalo from this test group that have blood-tested negative for exposure to brucellosis, and then further torment them by forcing them to wear ear tags, radio collars, and - for pregnant females - vaginal telemetry devices. These twenty-five buffalo will then be pushed through a small Corridor to Nowhere, encompassing less than 2,800 acres, surrounded by electric fencing and cattle guards, where they will be expected to stay until spring before they are eventually hazed back into Yellowstone.

Don't believe the spin you hear from proponents of this RTR experiment! Please read BFC's press release to learn more details about this ill-conceived Corridor to Nowhere.

For nearly six weeks, this family group had found safe refuge in the no-hunting area of Yellowstone Vilalge, a buffalo-friendly neighborhood, until they were chased out by hunters, who killed three. BFC file photo by Stephany.

More buffalo have been killed by hunters just outside of Yellowstone National Park, raising this winter's death toll to forty-six. A family group buffalo that had been living safely inside the buffalo-friendly private lands of Yellowstone Village, where no hunting is allowed, were pushed off of private property by a Confederated Salish-Kootenai hunting party. They were chased by the hunters with snowmobiles and on foot onto Gallatin National Forest land, and three of them - two adult cows and a young bull - were shot. Consequently, two calves were orphaned, and after the incident, one of the calves, lost and confused, was later struck by a vehicle and killed. These buffalo had found a safe haven in Yellowstone Village, and had been there for more than six weeks, but the refuge they had during the hunt was violated. Local residents and BFC have been deeply heartbroken and disturbed by this tragic event. We contacted Tribal officials, who were likewise very upset to hear this news and have opened an investigation. We are working together with the Tribe to make sure that such incidents do not happen again.

BFC co-founder Mike Mease was interviewed on CNN's Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell
Watch it here: