Posted on August 07, 2017

The North American Bison once roamed freely on the Great Plains out West. They are typically characterized by a looming frame, shaggy manes, and rather poor eyesight. Historically, they had expansive space to meander and graze. In modern-day America, it is a bit harder for the Bison to find the space to graze on grass and weeds as they once did. It is estimated that twenty to thirty million Bison once populated North America from the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the Rocky Mountain Range. Because of their loss of habitat and unregulated hunting in their landscape, the population was reduced massively to a little over one thousand by the end of the 1800s.

 

Today, the population of Bison has greatly risen to a bountiful five hundred thousand. Though, a majority of these Bison are not purely wild Bison, they are cross-bred with other cattle and have been mainly domesticated and raised as livestock. Though the Bison once roamed free in the Great Plains of North America, they are now considered "ecologically extinct" since they so rarely are found in their native habitat, with few exceptions being wildlife preserves and national parks such as Yellowstone National Park.

 

Bison are known for their long, unshorn, brown coats of hair that protects them from the harsh and sometimes unforgiving weather conditions they may face. Their coats become so thick during the winter that snow may fall onto their backs and not melt. These beautiful bovine typically don't like to mingle male and female herds until mating season. The female Bison, along with their calves, graze as they walk briskly. While the male Bison are characterized by a more leisurely pace. Mating season is June through September. Male Bison typically choose which female bison interests them the most, follow her around until she notices, and then blocks her vision so she can't see any other male Bison and has no other options. It's a rather domineering practice.

 

These magnificent creatures are a treasure of the west. Beautiful and strong, the herds of Bison are a proud reminder of strength and resilience in America. In May of 2016 a paper came across President Obama's desk petitioning for Bison to become the United States National Mammal. Following the signing of this paper, this gentle giant is now a national mascot to our great southern neighbors.

-Turtle Valley Bison Family