Blog Summary

Part II. American Serengeti—Let’s take Another Look

In our BLOG of June 23, 2020, we published “American Serengeti—What is going on in Montana?,” which discusses the enormous wildlife project that is shaking the foundations of community development and progress in Phillips County, Montana, and Malta, its county seat, and nearby communities.
The American Prairie Reserve—APR, or simply the Prairie Reserve–on the upper Missouri River is a plan to develop a huge grazing unit—the largest nature reserve in the continental United States.

Part III. Viewing Sites 9 and 10—Fort Yates and Jamestown

If you’re a traveler coming into the Hettinger-Lemmon area from the east or west, you will likely plan to complete your tour by visiting Sites 9 and 10 either before or after the main section of your tour.

Otherwise, separate trips might take you through Fort Yates and Jamestown—which are somewhat to the northeast.

Tribal herds can be viewed at Ft. Yates, and other reservations. The “largest buffalo,” and a National Buffalo Museum that includes a full-body mount of the famed White Cloud reside in Jamestown.

Tour 10 Buffalo Sites in the Northern Plains, Part I–The Last Great Hunts

At the center of the Northern Plains is a rugged section of Badlands, buttes and fertile grasslands, where buffalo, cattle and sheep graze, and deer and antelope still roam.

We’d love to have you join us on the 10-site tour we’ve put together of the last great hunts and other historic and contemporary buffalo events, each clearly marked by a yellow sign.

These sites include three of the last great buffalo hunts, including the valley of the last stand—the final harvest of the last 1,200 wild buffalo by Sitting Bull and his band on October 12 and 13, 1883.

At the center of these events are previously untold stories and authentic, unspoiled places to envision where they took place.

This region, bordered by the North Dakota towns of Hettinger, Reeder and Scranton, and the South Dakota towns of Lemmon, Bison and Buffalo, is where Native people conducted the last traditional hunts of the majestic wild buffalo that once roamed here in huge herds on what was then the Great Sioux Reservation.

Legacy of White Buffalo—Big Medicine

The most famous white buffalo that ever lived was probably Big Medicine, born in 1933 on the National Bison Range in Western Montana.

Soon after birth he was dubbed “Big Medicine” by the local Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai people of the Flathead Valley. He lived there all of his 26 years.

White buffalo are sacred to many Native American tribes and they believed he brought good news and supernatural powers. The Blackfeet tribe farther east also considered him the property of the sun as well as “good medicine.”

The Sad Demise of Sir Donald

In 1907 Canada purchased the Pablo Buffalo Herd from the western plains of Montana. Banff received 77 of these animals, and a new paddock of 300 acres was built north of the railroad to hold the increasing herd.

Sir Donald was a handsome bull. It was said he represented well the ideal that Native hunters preferred—a bull with well-built forequarters and large head.

Pablo’s Great Buffalo Shipments to Canada

In 1907 the Michel Pablo herd from western Montana began arriving in Canada. At their end of the railroad, Canadians cheered the buffalo’s arrival.

They knew they had scored a coup in getting “the finest buffalo herd in America,” as William Hornaday, president of the new American Bison Society, called Michal Pablo’s half-wild herd from Montana.

Pablo’s Great Buffalo Roundup and Grand Shipment – Part 1. Pablo’s Grand Buffalo Roundup

When Michel Pablo sold all of his buffalo to the Canadian government, it took 6 years to get them rounded up and loaded. He expected the job to take one summer.

They were wild, and did not take kindly to being chased to the railway station in Ravalli, Montana—or getting loaded into railway cars. Especially the renegade bulls.

Pablo’s buffalo—he thought there were somewhere between 300 and 700 head—were grazing in the Bitterroot Mountain Range and the Lolo National Forest along the Flathead River.

The Buffalo Hunt: The History and Culture of the Spirit Lake Dakota

For the Plains Indian nothing is more exciting and exhilarating than hunting buffalo or more enjoyable than feasting on their flesh.1

To the Plains Indian the buffalo was the source of life; this bovine scientifically called a Bison (Bison bison) provided everything required to exist in a plains environment. Every part of the buffalo was utilized including their excrement which was used for fuel.

The Dakota term for a buffalo hunt is Wanasapi which appears to be contraction of a descriptive name. During the period named Dog Days, before the coming of the horse, when dogs were used as burden carriers, the hunt was more individualized.

Part 2. Return of Wild Buffalo to Banff National Park

By January 2019, the buffalo at Banff had been free-roaming for 5 months, after being released from their small enclosed pasture in the remote Panther Valley. They are being tracked and monitored by the Banff bison scientists with the help of GPS collar data, remote cameras and field observations.

Part 1: Returning Wild Buffalo to Banff National Park

For over a century, Parks Canada has been leading the charge to restore wild bison in Canada.

One of its first ventures was the display buffalo herd placed in a small 300-acre paddock near Banff in 1885.

Canada’s oldest national park—Banff National Park—is near the mountain resort of Banff and Lake Louise.

The scenery is spectacular, with rugged mountains rising on every side. The tree line is at about 2,134 m (7,000 ft), and above this is mostly rocks and ice.

Unlike other western mountain towns that focused on mining or agriculture, Banff was built as a tourist destination from the beginning. Planners for the Canadian Pacific Railroad built across Canada in 1885, discovered hot springs there and pronounced it tourist-worthy. The original Chalet Lake Louise was built on the lake shore in 1890.

Part II: Saving the Buffalo from Extinction

Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones started out as a commercial hide hunter on southern buffalo ranges.

His life adventures took him from his home in Kansas to the frozen Canadian North and the steaming jungles of Africa.

He prospered and suffered as a farmer, buffalo hunter, town developer and rancher. An expert roper, he captured calves in Texas and New Mexico. And, as a friend of President Teddy Roosevelt through the new American Bison Association, he was appointed as the first Superintendent of Yellowstone Park, in charge of restoring that depleted buffalo herd.

His greatest contribution was—not only capturing and raising a profitable buffalo herd—but finding ways to buy and sell buffalo and ship them across North America to help start new herds.

As a child, Jones caught and tamed small animals. He made his first money by capturing and selling a squirrel. That “transaction” Jones said “fixed upon me the ruling passion that has adhered so closely through my life.”

Jones said that he conceived his buffalo rescue plan in 1872.

He said he had killed “thousands of buffalo” in his hunting days and he regretted it.

“I am positive it was the wickedness committed in killing so many that impelled me to take measures for perpetuating the race which I had helped almost destroy.”

Filled with remorse, he set aside his big buffalo rifle, gathered some of the last wild buffalo calves and committed himself to helping the buffalo survive and thrive throughout North America.

He bought buffalo from as far north as Winnipeg in Canada and sold buffalo across the North American continent to help get parks and private owners started.

According to Ken Zontek, in Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison, during the last days of the wild buffalo, Buffalo Jones and his assistants went four times out to the buffalo ranges from his ranch near Garden City, Kansas, down into the Texas Panhandle, and captured 60 buffalo of all ages. Not all, however survived, or made the trip home.

Part I – Saving the Buffalo from Extinction

Clearly, the buffalo were headed for extinction. No one seemed to care.

The “bottleneck”—as it’s been called—drew even closer each year after the last great buffalo hunt on the Great Sioux Reservation in 1883.

The low point came in the 1890’s, or perhaps later, around the turn of the century. That was when the “safe and protected” Yellowstone Park herd, estimated at 200, was suddenly decimated by poachers seeking trophy heads.

Fewer than 25 buffalo, well hidden in remote and rugged canyons, survived that slaughter in Yellowstone Park.

The species was nearly choked off completely at that time. Even the few hundred remaining seemed destined to dwindle.

William Hornaday voiced his despair over the buffalos’ nearly-inevitable extinction in his 1889 book, “The Extermination of the American Bison.” He wrote:

“The wild buffalo is practically gone forever, and in a few more years, when the whitened bones of the last bleaching skeleton shall have been picked up and shipped East for commercial uses, nothing will remain of him save his old, well-worn trails along the water-courses, a few museum specimens, and regret for his fate.”

Hormaday despaired that ‘when the whitened bones of the last bleaching skeleton were picked up and shipped East’ the only memory of buffalo would be trails to water, regret for his fate, and a few specimens in museums. Photo National Park Service.

Social Behavior: A Tale Too Marvelous to Go Untold

Buffalo are social creatures. They like living together in herds.

But not just any herd. Their own herd. The one in which they know everyone else intimately. Usually they are relatives. Cows with young calves, still red-gold hair. Buffalo like living in herds of animals that they know. Photo by F.Berg

And not too large a herd—30 to 60 seems a good size.

Except sometimes it’s the “bigger the better.” That happens in late July and August when historically the great herds came together for breeding season.

Professor Dale F. Lott writes that the relationships between bulls and cows become especially intense at that time. But that, however, the intensity is shifting and short-lived.

In his book American Bison: A Natural History, he describes the buffalo’s social behavior as “too marvelous a tale to go untold. The most complex relationships play out.”

It’s true. Who knew those sometimes sleepy-looking animals have such complexity and intensity in their relationships?
Maternal Herds—an older Grandmother Leads

For most of the year, the buffalo sort themselves into “cow groups” or maternal herds and “bull groups.” The Vasquez de Coronado expedition exploring Texas in 1543 reported their surprise in seeing “innumerable herds of bulls without a single cow, and other herds of cows without bulls.” Kansas Historical Society.

The Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado travelled across the southwest as far north as Kansas following buffalo and Indian trails searching for gold. His great expedition of 300 soldiers and some 1,000 Indians often shot buffalo for food, but found no riches.

Buffalo vs Bison– What Shall We Call Them?

What shall we call this magnificent monarch of the Plains—buffalo or bison?

Some people are adamant: the term buffalo correctly refers only to water buffalo in South Asia and Cape buffalo in Africa. We are simply wrong, misinformed, or ignorant to even think of calling the American bison—Buffalo.

Amy Tikkanen, writing in the Encyclopedia Britannica lays it all out. In her world it comes down to “Home, Hump and Horns.” Bison have one set, and buffalo the other.

But not so fast.

Many people who know the science simply prefer the term buffalo. I think most of us in the west—where the buffalo still roam in rather large numbers—do prefer it.

It rolls off the tongue in a friendlier way.

Yes, in scientific usage we agree, it is bison—as is bovine, equine and canine.

My husband Bert, a veterinarian, often used those terms when explaining treatments.

But do we call the cow, horse or dog those scientific names—bovine, equine and canine—in everyday talk?

One happy dog—or is he a friendly canine? Photo by Eric Ward.

Of course not. We don’t even think of them, our beloved friends, that way, do we?

Historic use of Buffalo in America

The word Buffalo actually came from early French fur traders and trappers who called the animals les boeufs, a Greek word for “the beeves” meaning oxen or bullocks.

In that context both names, bison and buffalo, have a similar meaning.

Welcome to Buffalo Tales and Trails!

Welcome to our first issue of Buffalo Tales & Trails! Everything you ever wanted to know about buffalo!

Thanks for your interest in buffalo! We are bringing you a combination blog and website.

My assistant Ronda Fink and I have produced books and websites, but never before a blog. So this is more than a first issue—it’s a new venture for us!

But not a new topic. Buffalo are old as the hills in the northern plains. We know them. Yet they are still surprising us with their wild nature and amazing capers.

Our mission is first of all—to help young people get to know and love the magnificent buffalo/ bison—America’s new National Mammal! This means teachers need to be involved.

So this is first of all for teachers and their students! Especially Native American students who have a special awe and pride in their buffalo.

And of course, we invite everyone who has a soft spot in your heart for buffalo. Come along on this incredible journey. We won’t let you down!

You can be an expert of sorts on this very specific subject. It’s a fun topic.

The American Bison became the official National Mammal of the United States on May 9, 2016, when the President signed the National Bison Legacy Act.

The American Bison became the official National Mammal of the United States on May 9, 2016, when President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act. Photo courtesy of SD Game, Fish and Parks, Chris Hull, photographer.

It’s a great milestone for an animal that played a central role in America’s history and culture, helped to shape the lifestyle of Native Americans on the open Plains, and then declined within a hair breadth of becoming extinct.

Today, buffalo live in all 50 states and across Canada, and serve as a symbol of American unity, resilience and healthy lifestyles and communities.

My name is Francie M. Berg. I didn’t know much about buffalo when my husband, a veterinarian, and I moved our family to Hettinger, North Dakota.

Sure I’d seen them in herds here and there, grazing up a green coulee or standing sleepily in a corral.

Much like cattle, I thought. As I said, little did I know.

Where the Buffalo stories Come Together

Then I discovered we’d come to the place where all the buffalo stories come together, now and in the distant past. It happened right here on the western border between North and South Dakota.

This area of the Northern Plains was home to buffalo from ancient times.

Stories Summary

Hornaday’s taxidermy project of six buffalo

Returning to Washington, after their great success in buffalo hunting, William Hornaday and his assistants set to work.

Hornaday’s vision developed before he even left Montana. This would be a grouping of bulls, cows and calves. He took time to collect some native soil, a few plants and sagebrush.

He selected six prime specimens—his masterpiece stub-horn bull, cows, calves, a young bull.

After a full year they unveiled their masterpiece. There, in a huge glass case, visitors to the Smithsonian Museum viewed an enchanting scene–six buffalo in an authentic Montana setting.

The Washington Star described the exhibit on March 10, 1888:

Hornaday’s Buffalo Hunt for the Smithsonian

By 1883 the vast herds of buffalo had entirely vanished. Only a small pocket survived here and there in remote areas—and even these, as soon as any hunter learned of them, did not last long.

Clearly the buffalo would soon be extinct as a species.

Alarmed, William Hornaday, as the Chief Taxidermist at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC—America’s greatest museum—took stock of his museum’s buffalo inventory.

Wild European bison will roam free in England

Wild bison will return to the United Kingdom for the first time in thousands of years, with the release of a small herd near Canterbury in East Kent planned for spring 2022, according to the Guardian, July 10, 2020.

The Steppe Bison went extinct about 10,000 years ago. Now the UK is bringing back their nearest relative—the European Bison or Wisent (Bison bonasus), also known as the zubr—in the hope of restoring the area’s ancient woodlands.

The $1.4 million Wilder Blean project, to reintroduce the animals, will help secure the future of an endangered species. They will also naturally regenerate a former pine wood plantation by killing off trees. This is expected to create a healthy mix of woodland, scrub and glades, boost insect, bird and plant life.

Populations of the UK’s most important wildlife have dropped an average of 69% since 1970. Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, despite the best efforts of conservationists.

Photographer nearly trampled to death

One of the men attracted to Michel Pablo’s grand roundup of his near-wild buffalo was Norman A. Forsyth, a young photographer who began selling stereo cards and viewers door-to-door while attending college at Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.
After college he moved west, still selling for Underwood and Underwood, an early producer and distributor of stereographic views. Attracted by the scenic beauty of Yellowstone Park, Forsyth worked as a tour guide and stage driver in Yellowstone five summers, taking scenic stereographic views along the way, and then set up a photography studio in Butte where he sold them.
Fascinated by what he read of Michel Pablo’s great roundup of near-wild bison he took his cameras to Ronan, MT. There he made friends with Charlie Russell, a cowboy painter also attracted to the dramatic buffalo action they saw every day.
Forsyth shot stereographic views and Russell painted and sketched numerous scenes over the first three summers during which the Pablo buffalo roundup shipped most of the animals to Canada.
One day Forsyth scrambled down into some trees to get the perfect shot as the cowboy wranglers brought in a herd of buffalo across the river toward the corrals.

Bud Cotton and his Buffalo Roundup Gang

E.J. (‘Bud’) Cotton was the Buffalo Park Warden at Wainwright, Alberta from 1912 through 1940. An old-fashioned buffalo handler who rode hard and worked his crew hard, he preferred to change their lathered-up horses at noon if at all possible.

Cotton hired a hard-riding Buffalo Roundup Gang—as he called them for “fall” roundup, which they tackled in stride during the coldest days of winter.

Long before the advent of low-stress handling practices were being advocated for buffalo, the buffalo herds were literally wild animals, and they came stampeding between the drift fences toward the open gate at a dead run.

Cotton said his corral fences looked strong enough to hold an elephant “but just stick around until we run a bunch of buffalo into them, then watch the splinters fly!”

When worked, the thousands of buffalo they corralled and manhandled bore some scars—but so did the riders, he wrote. Even years later the men “still bear scars and sore bones as mementos of those same good old days.”

Buffalo Heifer attacked by Grizzly

In another unusual rescue, a Blackfoot Indian reported seeing a buffalo bull charge a grizzly bear that had attacked a heifer.

The grizzly was lying in wait, hidden by a trail near a creek when a small bunch of buffalo trailed down to drink. Led by a young buffalo heifer, they came down the bank in single file.

As the heifer passed under the clay shelf where the grizzly hid, he reached down with both paws and caught her around the neck, then leaped on her back. She struggled to escape.

Noble Fathers we saw in Actiond

Buffalo bulls are born with a strong sense of responsibility.

The “noble fathers,” as they’ve been called in earlier times, for protecting mothers and calves from the ravages of wolves. In blizzards and fierce storms, it was said, they form a triangle facing into the wind and shield cows and calves from wintery blasts.

I saw those “noble fathers” in action once myself.

We were riding horseback in the North Unit of Teddy Roosevelt Park with some friends.

Great Indian Buffalo Horses

According to all accounts, the Indian horses were better trained for the job than those of white hunters, reported William Hornaday. He credited this to the fact that shooting with bow and arrows required free use of both hands.

This was only possible when the horse took the right course of its own free will and as guided by knee pressure alone, held close to the buffalo during a charge.

“Indeed,” he wrote, “in running buffalo with only the bow and arrow, nothing but the willing cooperation of the horse could have possibly made this mode of hunting successful.

Enormous Buffalo Herds of the 1800s

During the fall rut—or breeding season—huge wild herds of buffalo came together on the plains.
Descriptions often had it that the hills were “black with buffalo as far as the eye could see.”

Explorers and travelers often tried to describe and estimate how many buffalo they could see from a single vantage point.

On viewing a large herd of cattle one day, a Canadian named John McDougall was amazed to learn there were 23,000 head in the herd before him. He said that cattle herd in one small valley was far smaller than the immense buffalo herds he’d seen spread out over a dozen hills and flats in the plains.

Buffalo Mothers help Care for Newborn

Buffalo take care of each other, says Mike Faith, who was Standing Rock’s Buffalo Manager for some 20 years. He’s now Tribal Chairman.

Faith says buffalo watch each other for warning signs of danger or stress.

When it comes time for a cow to give birth she finds a secluded place such as a ravine with trees. There she has time for herself, to be alone when the calf is born.

When alone, she is able to bond with her newborn, nourish it, and defend that calf until its strong enough to join the herd.


Amazing Buffalo Hunting Feats

Stories of amazing exploits by Native hunters were told and retold around evening campfires.

Living among the Northern Cheyenne for a time, George Grinnell recorded more than one time when a hunter shot one arrow entirely through the bodies of two buffalo.

And if an arrow did not sink deep enough, the hunter often jerked it out of the running buffalo and fired it again.


Buffalo Chips keep Fires Burning

The last wild buffalo had disappeared, along with their meat and hides. Their whitened bones had been picked up, hauled to the nearest railroad and sold for fertilizer.

But after all that, there was still one last gift of the buffalo sprinkled across the western plains—dried buffalo chips.

Native Americans had always burned buffalo chips where trees were scarce. These large, chips or “buffalo pies,” when dried burned quickly to start a fire. They produced hot fires to warm the tepee or to roast a meal.


The Brave Hunter and his Buffalo Family

Traditionally Native grandparents taught children that, “The buffalo are our brothers.”

In turn, children learned to respect the buffalo, and remember to thank them for their many gifts.

Stories were often told to strengthen the bond between buffalo and humans.


Buffalo Stampede

Many buffalo stampedes were described by hunters, soldiers and early settlers on the plains and prairies. They regarded stampedes as spectacular and grand, but “awful in its results,” according to David A. Dary in The Buffalo Book.

It took little provocation at times to get a stampede started—the yipping of a prairie dog, the cry of a wolf or coyote, a flash of lightening, or a clap of thunder could set it off.



Buffalo Hunting Accident

Bears Arm, a second chief of the Hidatsa, told how he got caught on foot in the middle of a stampeding buffalo herd.

It was during the glorious days of “running buffalo.” Those days arrived with horses on the northern plains, sometime after 1700 and ended with the last of the wild buffalo in 1883.

The first horses arrived in Puerto Rico, North America, with Columbus and the Conquistadors on his second voyage in 1493.


Noble Fathers

I’ll leave you with a remarkable buffalo story—one of my favorites—told by a soldier on the Plains way back in buffalo hunting days.

One day an army surgeon was out buffalo hunting. As he headed back to camp he saw what he described as “the curious action of a little knot of 6 or 8 buffalo.”

Riding closer, he saw they were all bulls, standing in a tight circle with their massive heads facing out, snorting and pawing dirt.

A dozen large gray wolves danced around them in impatient expectancy, licking their chops.


News Article Summary

Thousands on Hand for Annual Buffalo Roundup Sep 24-26

CUSTER, S.D. – Over 20,512 visitors attended the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on Friday morning, Sept. 25, 2020, watching as 60 horseback riders wrangled the herd of 1,400 bison into the corrals for their annual health check.

“It was another perfect Buffalo Roundup weekend in Custer State Park,” said park superintendent Matt Snyder.

New Center of Excellence to Advance Bison Research, Knowledge

RAPID CITY, SD (Sept. 8, 2020) – The future of America’s national mammal continued to brighten this week as officials from South Dakota State University (SDSU), the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation formally launched the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, to be headquartered at SDSU’s West River Research and Extension facility in Rapid City.

Bison Events in October and November 2020

Brownotter Buffalo Ranch Annual Production Sale—Selling 400+. Bison Ranch located near Bullhead SD – SE of McIntosh SD. Selling by online method of bidding—bidding closes Monday, November 16, 2020. Selling entire 2020 calf crop. These quality calves will be weighed and sold in lots to suit buyers. Contact Ron & Carol Brownotter for inspection prior to the auction at 605-848-2623. This top performing herd runs on an abundance of native grass, truly in the heart of Buffalo country!

Bison Show and Sale Jan 20-23, 2021

Save the Dates
– 1/20 – 1/23/2021 – National Bison Winter Conference—Denver, CO
– 3/2021 – NBA Gold Trophy Show and Sale—Denver.
The National Bison Association announces that the National Bison Winter Conference
will take place in Denver, Colorado, Jan. 20 to 23, 2021, and at the same time, NBA’s
Gold Trophy Show and Sale (GTSS) will be held.
The conference is hosted at the Denver Renaissance Hotel, Stapleton, which is now
taking reservations. Please save the date and “plan to join us for this exciting, fun and
informative conference.”
The Gold Trophy (GTSS) is considered the premier bison auction in the US. For nearly
40 years, bison producers have brought their best bison stock to Denver’s National
Western Stock Show to show and sell their animals.
“The mission of the Gold Trophy Show and Sale is to create an environment where
producers can compete to establish the value of their bison in the current marketplace,”
according to the NBA news release.

Buffalo from Grand Canyon travel to Quapaw Tribe

Grand Canyon, AZ, Sept. 18, 2019 – National Park Service staff closed the doors on livestock trailers yesterday, securing 31 bison inside to transfer them to the InterTribal Buffalo Council who will take them on the journey to their new herd with the Quapaw tribe in Oklahoma.

The transfer of the bison concluded the Grand Canyon National Park’s pilot program for corralling and relocating bison from the North Rim.

“It’s an historic moment. These are the first bison ever captured and permanently removed from Grand Canyon,” said Grand Canyon National Park Bison Project Manager Miranda Terwilliger.

Yellowstone bison promote plant growth through summer

Biologists from the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Universities of Wyoming and Montana published their findings of a 10-year study about bison migration and grazing in Yellowstone National Park in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings show that wild bison shape vegetation cycles and stimulate growth throughout the summer. Scientists discovered, with the help of NASA satellites, that areas grazed intensely by larger groups of bison greened-up earlier, more intensely, and for longer durations each year.
The study also suggests that bison migrate differently than other species because of how they graze. Frequently they returned to the same areas of the park, which kept plants in a growth cycle, providing the most nutritious food for migrating animals. Evidence over the last decade supports that.

Interior Commits to 10-Year Buffalo Plan

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced the Bison Conservation Initiative (BCI), a new cooperative program that will coordinate conservation strategies and approaches for the wild American Bison over the next 10 years.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) and its partners have been successful in restoring the populations of the American Bison and supporting healthy herds, such as assisting with establishing tribal herds on Indian Reservations.

With unprecedented interest and cooperation among partners—including states, tribes, nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—bison conservation is well equipped to move beyond analytical assessments and toward coordinated conservation action.
Two projects to take place this year are introducing new genetics of wild bison from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and establishing a new tribal herd on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The first includes an on-going genetics study by the National Parks Service to measure the extent of their integration into a long-existing herd.

Satellites track Bison at Wind Cave

Collars placed on ten bison at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota are making it easier for researchers, and eventually even the public, to follow them as they roam throughout the park.

The bison recently were fitted with tracking collars as part of Wind Cave National Park’s recent bison capture and processing operation.

“Bison research using these types of collars has never been done here before, and we’re excited about the information we’ll learn,” said Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We’d like to thank the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association for funding the collars through their Adopt a Bison program.”

Visitor Hurt by Bison at Yellowstone

On the afternoon of May 20, 2020, a female visitor was knocked to the ground and injured by a bison in the Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin after approaching the animal too closely (inside 25 yards).
It was the first bison injury this year, and happened just two days after Yellowstone National Park reopened in a phased way after the Coronavirus pandemic began.

Park emergency medical providers responded to the incident immediately. The woman was assessed and refused transport to a medical facility. The incident remains under investigation, park officials said in a news release.
The National Park Service personnel remind Park visitors that wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, they advise giving it space.

White Buffalo—Breeding Rights and pre-booking for White Buffalo Calves

Midwest Buffalo Company and New Beginnings Ranch are pre-selling breeding rights to our White Buffalo Bull “OUTLAW.” We are also taking deposits, in order received and in advance, of Outlaw’s white buffalo calves. If you want a great chance at a white buffalo baby, a spiritual awakening for many and financial booster for your operation for sure, make your reservation now.
To book your buffalo cow for our breeding option with Outlaw—contact us for details.

Water Buffalo in “Bison Clothing”: a Risk You Don’t Need

North American bison producers and marketers have worked diligently during the past two decades to build a strong relationship with their customers based upon the great taste and nutritional benefits of the meat, along with sustainable practices utilized in raising the animals. During the past few years, water buffalo products have entered the U.S. marketplace and been marketed simply as “buffalo.” See our fact sheet on Water Buffalo’s very misleading labeling.

ND Ag Commissioner Conveys Bison Industy CARES Act Request to USDA

National and North Dakota bison leaders today hailed the work of North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring for weighing in with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue with specific policy recommendations to assist commercial and tribal bison producers impacted by the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The bison industry will likely experience the lingering effects of the current market situation for another two years. The drop in the carcass price for bison has declined rapidly since the pandemic and producers and plants are struggling,” the Commissioner wrote in a letter sent to Secretary Perdue earlier today

Bison market crashes down on producers

Only a couple of months ago, the price of a bison carcass was close to $5 a pound in Western Canada.
Now, prices on the rail have dropped to $3.50 per lb.
But that number isn’t precise because the packing plants are processing very few animals.
“There’s no liquidity right now,” said Dean Andres, who raises bison near Windthorst, in eastern Saskatchewan. “Any Canadian (bison) producers that are reliant on a Canadian plant or somebody to buy their calves, that market has, I don’t want to say ‘collapsed,’ but that’s probably the most accurate word.”

Range Manager for Cattle to Bison Conversion

The Wolakota Buffalo Range — located in south central South Dakota and established by the economic development arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe — is seeking a Range Manager for immediate hire. Candidates with bison handling experience should send a resume, along with a brief explanation of why this opportunity interests them to This project is an opportunity to get in at the ground level of an ambitious and innovative initiative to convert 28,000 acres from cattle land to a buffalo range in order to benefit the land and people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. This position will require relocation, with residence at on-site, provided housing strongly preferred.


Hettinger ND BuffaloFest cancelled

The BuffaloFest scheduled for May 30, 2020 in Hettinger, ND, has been cancelled due to the Corona Virus pandemic. The BuffaloFest aimed at celebrating the buffalo-rich history of the Hettinger, ND, and Lemmon, Bison and Buffalo, SD, area as the location of the last great buffalo hunts and helping save the buffalo from extinction.

Buffalo-related activities, similar to last year’s event, were planned throughout the day. This was slated to begin with a Fishing Tournament and tour of a live buffalo herd or historic hunt sites, and end with a fund-raising dinner sponsored by the Adams County Fair Board, featuring five meats, including roast bison, a pie auction and entertainment.

NBA Summer Conference postponed

The National Bison Association has announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak the Annual 2020 Summer Conference planned for June 21-23 in Little America, Wyoming, is postponed. The Rocky Mountain Bison Association, slated to be regional hosts, has agreed to host the 2021 Summer conference instead.


Dave Carter inducted into National Buffalo Hall of Fame

DENVER, CO (January 31, 2020) – The National Buffalo Foundation has inducted Dave Carter, executive director of the Westminster, CO-based National Bison Association (NBA), as the 31st member of the National Buffalo Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is housed in the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, ND.


Summer NBA Conference meets in Wyoming, June 21-23

Join the National Bison Association for its annual summer conference at Little America in beautiful Cheyenne, Wyoming! Hosted by the Rocky Mountain Bison Association, the 2020 Summer Conference will feature great bison feasts, top-notch networking opportunities, education on topics pertinent to the bison business, and at least two working bison ranch tours



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Francie Berg

Ronda Fink


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