Over 220 volunteers on horseback gathered at Antelope Island in Davis County, Utah, last October for their annual bison roundup. Hundreds more folks came to watch.

Robert DeRosa, who moved to Utah from New York City in 2020, brought his 12-year-old granddaughter to catch a glimpse of the bison herd.

“You can’t do Antelope Island and miss the bison round up,” said DeRosa.

“I’ve seen a few before but never like this close,” said DeRosa’s granddaughter.

Jeff Nichols has been a cowboy in the round up for at least nine years.

“Where else can you herd buffalo?” said Nichols. “We’re a group that’s been born 100 years too late. We’re much more comfortable in this than we are in front of a computer screen.”

Steve Bates, a wildlife biologist who has worked at Antelope Island for twenty years, said they had earlier used helicopters to bring in the bison, but they learned real cowboys and cowgirls are better for the buffalos’ health.

“With the horses, there’s stress involved but not near to the extent of using helicopters,” said Bates. “We can get to working with the animals a whole lot quicker, so we don’t have to hold them in the corals as long.”

Antelope Island targets a total of 500 bison, so after the round up and vet checks, they send the extra 250 or so bison to auction.

“Bison is just a fantastic animal, just an iconic species. Being able to work with them is very satisfying,” said Bates.

Despite the drought last summer and fall, the bison were not negatively affected, he added.

Bates and other biologists worked the bison for three days, which were open to the public.

(Erin Cox Oct 30, 2021; Fox13, Salt Lake City.)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This