Monday, March 31, 2008

From the Herd: Moonmaster and Little Bull

Fellow Buffalo Chris Migotsky (aka the Moonmaster, above) put a lot of people in pain this past Saturday as the race director of the Clinton Lake Trail ultra. The 30-mile run is the toughest race I've ever run, having tried it last year but finishing only 20 miles. The Moonmaster is also the grand bison of the herd's moon runs, where lunatic buffaloes turn out on the night of each full moon to run the Buffalo Trace trail no matter what the conditions. Nothing like running in moonlit snow or around a crowd of fireflies on a misty evening.

Grandson Little Bull bagged a big chick and a rabbit during a hunt on Easter Sunday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

For the Buffalo

Miriam Wasser and Cat Simonidis under arrest by Yellowstone police.

For my birthday yesterday, this was a nice present. Action on behalf of the Yellowstone buffalo. See the Buffalo Field Campaign website HERE for full details. I applaud the two ladies for their efforts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fear and Loathing of Butch Cavendish

Butch Cavendish, scorn of my childhood.

The Gunsmoke gang. Marshal Matt Dillon (front) was next to God in my book, and Miss Kitty was dern purdy. However, her employment of Butch Cavendish (left, who now went by the name of Sam Noonan, bartender) years after he messed with the Lone Ranger is unforgivable.

So, I'm on the phone last night with the Wolf Woman talking about the old days of TV and I chatter on about one of the most evil people I remember as a small boy: Butch Cavendish. The name still strikes terror in my heart. Butch and his gang ambushed the Texas Rangers group to which the Lone Ranger belonged before he donned his famous mask. He was wounded by the Cavendish gang and was the sole survivor of the attack. I can remember my disgust of Butch. And then what do I find after a little research today? Miss Kitty hires the guy as the bartender, name now Sam, in the series Gunsmoke. I guess the human resources people at the Long Branch Saloon didn't check the background of this hire. I now wonder if either Butch or Sam (both portrayed by actor Glenn Strange) shot buffalo in the Old West. That would really traumatize me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dead Buffalo Walking

Terror in the eye of a Yellowstone buffalo about to be trucked away from the park.

Or maybe better titled "The Sounds of Silence." Read THIS and watch and listen closely to the video. The clatter of buffalo hooves is a testament to the mismanagement and mistreatment of a treasured creature whose life will end at a slaughterhouse. As THIS New York Times article states, "This was not the Yellowstone National Park that tourists see."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trail Tradition

“Heavy, fleet of foot, capable of covering scores of miles a day, the buffalo tore his roads [traces] from one feeding ground to another . . . these wild roamers of the prairie in great masses thronged from water course to timber belt in search of water and food. That the prairies here were once the home of vast herds is well known by accounts left us by the early French explorers.”
- From J.O. Cunningham, The History of Champaign County, Illinois, 1905

I'll be running with the herd, my buffalo trail running buddies, after work tonight at the Buffalo Trace Trail. This is the ninth year of running every Thursday evening from March through October at the 5-mile long trail. The trail is near the route of a very old buffalo trace, created by herds that traversed the area to reach the waters of the nearby Sangamon River and to munch on the tallgrass prairie. It is likely that buffalo roamed on the very ground we run on today. Large sections along the trail have been replanted with the original prairie grasses native to the area. This replanting is an ongoing project and is carried out by Grand Prairie Friends, a group that restores and preserves natural areas in east-central Illinois. The trail is on an abandoned livestock farm, but it is hoped that one day the entire trail area will be much like the original prairie again. It's happening slowly but surely. The original buffaloes that roamed here were all gone by 1830, but our "human herd" (a.k.a. the Buffaloes) has embraced the area. Free-range buffalo, you might say.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Death Row

Recent photo of Yellowstone buffalo in holding pen. For roaming beyond the boundaries of the park in search of food, these bison will be put to death. Many more will be rounded up and slaughtered in the weeks to come. This doesn't have to happen. One-fourth of the Yellowstone herd has been gunned down or sent to slaughter this winter. I hope to post more enlightening information on this complex mess.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Record Number of Buffalo Killed

It's official: with 200 more buffalo sent to slaughter today, the herd at Yellowstone National Park, 4700 strong before winter, will soon be reduced by 1214, the toll of this winter's hunt and slaughter. This is a record number of Yellowstone buffalo killed in a season. And that number will rise. Many have tried to stop the slaughter, including the Humane Society of America, but to no avail.

From a letter written by a buffalo advocate:

“Dear people in charge of killing our nation’s last wild bison. (Our bison, not yours.) Please read and heed the letter below. I have written you, Dr. Zaluski [Montana Dept. of Livestock] , you, Suzanne Lewis [superintendent of Yellowstone], and also the governor of Montana about my outrage and heartache concerning this unwarranted and immoral slaughter. None of the three of you has bothered with the courtesy of a reply, in fact at times emails have not even been accepted. This is not the way government employees should conduct their duties in a democracy. Perhaps you do not know, although I cannot imagine that you don’t know, the thrill for people visiting Yellowstone to see the bison there in great numbers in their natural habitat. Should they step across park boundaries, what of it? Artificial park boundaries are the intruders, not the bison. I must tell you that it appears that all of you have completely sold out to the cattle interests. Whether or not that is true, that is the appearance, and the Montana Department of Livestock and all of you above appear to the rest of the country to be a bunch of rowdy and out of control cowboys. Is that the image you wish to project to the rest of the nation? Each of you that wears the park service emblem with the bison on it should at least have the good grace to remove those patches if you cannot ensure the safety of the bison. Otherwise you are also guilty of hypocrisy. I am sorry to be so harsh, but I have been begging for the lives of the bison for years, and you do not hear. Please hear the cries of the bison, and the people who love them. Thank you.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pssssst, Spread the Word. Today is Red Chief's Birthday

Grandson Ethan is 6 years old. Although I've got him somewhat interested in buffaloes, Spiderman wins out.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Unhappy Hour: The End of the Road

The Associated Press reports that 13 buffalo who wandered to the Happy Hour bar near West Yellowstone, Montana, just outside the Yellowstone Park limits, were rounded up yesterday and will be shipped to slaughter. Guess it doesn't pay to roam for a little brew. Many caring and determined people have tried to stop the unnecessary slaughter of buffalo at Yellowstone, but to no avail. Extremely frustrating. My God, that makes more than 800 buffalo destroyed this winter. More coming on the killing of America's herd.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Buffalo Grandkids

Red Chief and I with the newest herd member, Little Bull.