by Stephany Seay / Buffalo Field Campaign
It’s been a pretty mellow week here with the buffalo. We’ve had very few instances of buffalo along the highway, but there is one big bull who is starting to stretch his legs into some of the newly gained year-round habitat. He has headed north of Fir Ridge, along Highway 191, moving out of the Hebgen Basin further north than we’ve seen a buffalo go in many years. He’s making us a bit nervous, though, as he’s in a tight, forested section and staying close to the road. If he continues north, the land will open up a bit, and if he continues even further north, he could potentially be the first buffalo to make it to the Taylor Fork in over two decades. There are some organizations and agencies who have wanted to capture and transport buffalo to the Taylor Fork, but we keep saying that if they want to be there, they will go. We’re keeping a close eye on this amazing boy who is showing other humans who want to “make” them do things that, if given time and space, they will be the ones to show us the way.
Around the Hebgen Basin, Central herd members continue to bring forth new life. Calving season got off to a bit of a late start, but, now, every day we are seeing more and more calves. Except for a few, short hazing operations and the challenges of the highway, the buffalo are at peace here. Moms can give birth without disturbance, and the calves are able to run, play, and grow strong without the threat of being hazed. While the Central Herd’s numbers are drastically down — our highest count here has been fewer than 250 in this Basin, and less than 100 counted on recons into Yellowstone’s interior — every single calf who is born is a symbol of resistance, an effort to make a comeback from Yellowstone’s senseless slaughter. Each calf is a celebration for the buffalos’ future. And, we want you to celebrate with us. So, instead of a lot of words, here is a little photo journey into wild buffalo calving season!