Bison Quest Adventure Vacation Blog

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March of the Snow Bison December 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 7:45 pm
March of the Snow Bison

March of the Snow Bison

Like most of the rest of Montana, we just got slammed with an arctic front.  And that means that our temps have plummeted.  Our low night before last was  -27 degrees F (that’s -33 degrees C) and our high yesterday was -19 F.  When we get hit with temps like this, we spend a lot of time keeping fires going both in the woodstoves that heat the house and barn.  We have big, south facing windows that pick up the solar heat when the sun shines (and with arctic fronts, it’s not unusual to have sun) and the house stays up around 70 degrees.   And feeding the buffs is always fun.  They come snorting and tossing their heads at the sight of the truck full of hay.  While they are capable of using those huge heads to brush snow away, like most of us, they’d much rather someone just toss a little food their way.   Their thick wool insulates them so well, that the snow doesn’t melt and they end up looking like ghosts wandering through a snowy landscape.

Pam

 

IN THE RUT December 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 1:54 pm

The mule deer at Wild Echo Bison Reserve were in the rut during November.   (This type of rut is not a trench in mud caused by a vehicle, but is the term used for the breeding season of various ungulates.)  Mule deer breed in November, have a 7-month gestation period, and give birth to their fawns in early June.  The rut begins the first week of November and its onset is announced by the appearance of bucks traveling in the middle of the day, with their heads down hot on a trail of a doe.  Most of the breeding takes place during a 2-week period in mid-November, so that most of the fawn births are in early to mid-June.  Adult does generally have 2 fawns.  The clumping of fawning within a short period overwelms predators – that is predators can only eat so many fawns in a short interval, and by the time fawns are a couple weeks old they are capable of escaping coyotes and other predators.  The last week of November we were fortunate to observe mule deer bucks breed does on 2 occassions One buck was a spike yearling that spent much of the fall around our house, and the other buck was a large 4-point that had been staying with 8 does and fawns around the house (their “portraits” were taken by the remote camera on our haystack as seen below).   We saw the yearling buck breed a doe while driving down to Bison Quest camp.  Pam said “there are 2 does”.   Then she said “No, one is a buck – he’s just got the tiniest antlers.”  I looked over and there was junoir mounting the doe.  The doe had her head held low and rump held high.  She was very cooperative and the entire event was over in a few seconds.  This event was repeated the other day in our front yard with the 4-point buck.  Again the doe was very cooperative and in fact invited the breeding through her posture, and the breeding event was, again, very short. – Craig

Feeding the Wildlife

Feeding the Wildlife

 

Cliff hangers – Bighorn Sheep Style December 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 7:40 am

After our “wolf” dawn, we took a leisurely drive to Cooke City (end of the road in the winter time) and then worked our way back to Gardiner.  And we did find our bighorn sheep!  We saw a large group of a couple dozen animals grazing on a ridge a few miles away, and later found one lone 3/4 curl ram working his way up the cliffs above us.  Then, while kicking back and just “hanging out”, we were treated to a half hearted sparring contest between two young bull elk.  Now, where else can you start your day with soulful and wild wolf music, punctuate it with agile “cliff hangers”, and end it with a “pushing contest” a stone’s throw away – all set against breathtaking vistas of immense vastness!  Yellowstone is a very special place indeed.
Pam

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram

Elk version of wrestling

Elk version of wrestling

 

 
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