Late Friday afternoon, after a brutal week of hazing, we received some great news: Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive to the Montana Board of Livestock, instructing that the Department of Livestock may no longer enter private property to haze buffalo without permission from the landowners. We were thrilled because there were still at least two-hundred wild buffalo with many newborn calves on Horse Butte's buffalo-friendly private properties. We informed many of the property owners and they were ecstatic, yet cautious, as many don't trust the Department of Livestock. There was no public response from the Board or Department of Livestock (DOL), so we were very curious to see how they would handle this news.
On Wednesday we found out it would be business as usual with the DOL and a cohort from USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Nearly 100 buffalo with around forty newborn calves were bedded down, grazing, nursing, and enjoying the day on buffalo-friendly private property. The hazers asked for permission and were denied.
Just like they do with their helicopter, hazers caused enough of a disturbance surrounding buffalo on buffalo-friendly private property, that they scared these buffalo off of buffalo-friendly land and hazed them for nearly 17 miles into Yellowstone National Park. Following their usual tactic, the hazers had other DOL riders and some from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks waiting along Gallatin National Forest Service land to assist with the abusive chase.
At first it seemed that the buffalo weren't going to budge, but even a patient buffalo can't put up with the nonsensical cowboy vocalizations coupled with horses running back and forth. At least one buffalo cow showed her frustrations.
As the buffalo hit the road running, the herd split, with agents hot on their heels. Some were run down the hard asphalt of Rainbow Point Road, while others were chased down Gallatin National Forest's hot and dusty 6697 road.
This post was modified from its original form on 31 May, 13:32
When the haze reached Yellowstone National Park's boundary, panting buffalo were forbidden to head down the bluffs to the cool water for a drink. Hazers galloped their horses along the edge of the bluffs, not allowing the hot and tired buffalo to quench their thirsts. Already having been chased for at least six miles, the hazers pressed the buffalo on another seven miles, to Yellowstone National Park's Cougar Knoll.
Not a single square inch of habitat that these hazers chased wild buffalo off of will ever host any cattle. There is zero conflict and no brucellosis threat, yet this livestock disease is still the purported reason that millions of federal tax dollars are wasted on the harsh treatment of America's last wild buffalo. The brucellosis "threat" is so "grave" that, even though there were still wild buffalo in Montana, the hazers just took a four-day weekend. Today's actions show incredible arrogance and immaturity. Hazers showed spite against the Governor's directive, private property rights, buffalo advocates, and wild buffalo on lands that are their birthright, where cattle will never graze. These actions have no defense and are losing their strength in the public's eye and in the policy arena, and it will not be long before wild buffalo will again enjoy these lands year-round without threat from abusive hazers.
How come the hazers, DOL, etc. getting away with disobeying the governor's orders and the private landowner's wishes????? This is total B.S. If anyone wants to write, call or fax the governor's office, here is the contact info:
Governor Steve Bullock
Office of the Governor
PO Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
Please sign the petition in the text..change. org
Oh wow, TAS. I just posted the story about Reflections of the Co-founder of the BFC. Thanks on the link. I am just now seeing it.
Here is the link to the petition that needs to be signed.