Bison Quest Adventure Vacation Blog

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Why Bison Quest? January 11, 2013

Come face to face with nature and wildlife in an eco friendly vacation. Live among bison and study wildlife alongside our biologists-then use what you learn to save our wild world.

 

Because everything dies. December 10, 2012

Filed under: bison,ecology,Musings,wildlife — bisonquest @ 5:46 pm
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It’s the time of year when we field harvest some of our buffalo and I invariably get the question, “I know you love them, so how can you live with them and still kill them?” Those are honest questions and here’s my best answer.

“Because everything dies. Every thing.”

As a biologist, as well as for me philosophically, it’s not the fact that things die that we should focus on – after all, every one of us will do that – it’s the quality of life and the quality of death that matters. Because we do love our buffalo. And we do care about them. And we do eat them. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. In fact, they are the basis of life around us. We all eat living things.

buff and tipi

To us, that means that our bison are treated with gentleness and respect and honor. They are never penned and fattened, but are allowed to roam wherever they want on the almost one square mile they call home. It means that calves are never separated from their mothers, that there is no pain of castration, dehorning, branding, squeeze chutes, or electric prods – often a part of “traditional” livestock raising. It means that we can live on a ranch that is home to other wildlife including predators, where we can encourage native vegetation rather than introduced plants, and basically run the ranch in an environmentally friendly manner, all while living with that most amazing of creatures – the buffalo.

Yes, there is a cost to that, in both time and money. It means that we have to spend hours trying to coax a buff onto a trailer instead of forcing it, that there is never a semi-truck crowded full of our bison and trucked long distances to a central feedlot and slaughterhouse with it’s horrors, and it means marketing the meat ourselves, wholesale, one animal at a time, instead of in large commercial quantities.  But it also means that when death does come to our buffs, it is done instantaneously, painlessly, and without bringing fear. And most of all, it means that each bison is treated as an individual with emotions and feelings that deserve respect. I wish we all had it so good.

 

Feeding buffalo one-personed! April 28, 2012

Filed under: About Us,bison,Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 3:54 pm

Craig has been gone for a month working on tortoises in the desert and I’ve been minding the ranch on my own.  In a phone conversation with a friend the other day, she commented, “I get how you feed bison when you have one person drive the truck while the other one throws hay out the back, but how do you do it when you’re by yourself?”  Well, it goes something like this:

 

Woolly Bully and his new toy May 14, 2011

Filed under: bison — bisonquest @ 10:35 am

This is a video clip that I actually took a month ago (we don’t have that much snow left anymore, thank goodness) but I’m just now getting around to sharing it.  It’s just so fun!  Woolly Bully makes toys out of things that he can throw around.  And trust me, there are quite a few things that he can throw!   Check out his new game of toss the bale.

 

..and then there are days like today…. February 21, 2011

Filed under: About Us,bison — bisonquest @ 8:11 am

Some days start with a bang and we just get soooo much done.  Then there are the days that start like this and you know it’s going to be a long one.

Yup, they're stuck. Again.

 

Sweetpea – the rest of the story. February 13, 2011

Filed under: About Us,bison — bisonquest @ 2:06 pm

Sweet feed for the Sweetpea

Well, I’ve never gotten quite so many emails over a post so I figured I’d put an end to the suspense.  The easiest way to bring you up to speed on the Sweetpea saga, is to show you this little clip :). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5EIWogWkDE

 

Upside down baby buff in a snowdrift February 9, 2011

Filed under: bison — bisonquest @ 8:26 am

Last summer, Imiko – one of our older cows – stopped making milk the middle of the summer and her baby didn’t grow as quickly as she should.  Because she was so little, when she started eating hay, she was often getting crowded out and our harsh winter wasn’t helping her any.  Christmas day was the the turning point of all that.  We went out to feed and realized that Sweetpea was missing.  We went looking for her, and found her upside down in a snowdrift where she had been all night long.  Poor thing.  We could see where the herd had surrounded her and tried to get her on her feet, but all they have are horns and they were pushing her uphill – they just couldn’t do it.  So between us, Craig and I were finally able to get her on her feet, but we did it with heavy hearts.  She was very weak and we were afraid that she’d never make it.  Unfortunately, a 6 month old baby buffalo, even a little one, is way beyond our ability to pick up or put in the truck, so we surrounded her with hay (which she ignored) and watched with worried faces as she stumbled her way back to the herd.   I’ll tell you what happened in a few days :)!

Sweetpea after her ordeal in a snowbank all night

 

Snowstorm – springtime in the Rockies. March 26, 2010

Filed under: bison,ecology — bisonquest @ 8:02 am
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I should have known that I was tempting the gods yesterday by crowing about our blooming buttercups and brilliant bluebirds.  This is what we woke up to this morning.  Poor buttercups.  Poor bluebirds.  Poor me.  Buffs don’t mind it, though.

Woolly Bully prancing in the snow.

Spring snowstorm slams into the ranch.

 

Of mice and men. February 8, 2010

Filed under: About Us,bison — bisonquest @ 4:10 pm

After 20 years of faithful service and surviving 2 teenage drivers, our S-10 pickup succumbed to a mouse. A chewed wire shorted out and caused a little engine fire while feeding the buffs one morning a mile from the house.  Here Craig inspects the damage after putting out the fire with snow, while an excited calf merrily bounces around them.  Sigh.  At least someone finds it entertaining.

Bouncing baby and not so bouncing truck.

 

Blizzard Bison January 26, 2010

Filed under: bison,ecology — bisonquest @ 9:15 am

When snowstorms hit Montana, one often hears reports of cattle and sheep smothered in snow drifts.  These domestic animals react to fierce winds by turning their back and walking with the wind, where they are driven into low lying areas and covered with the drifting snow.  But the response of our bison is dramatically different and, at first, doesn’t make sense. When the north winds are howling and snow sweeps over the land in dense clouds, the buffs turn straight into that icy north wind and climb up almost a thousand feet to the top of our ridges, where the full fury of the wind drives the snow into their faces.  But more importantly, it blows the snow over their shaggy forms and on down the slopes into the valleys and fills the drainages with fluffy, deadly drifts.  And the bison are left standing on wind-blown ridges of shallower snow, just as they must have done when they weathered the Ice Age two million years ago.  Those shaggy bonnets on their heads and dense wool over their shoulders and front legs are there for a reason!

Nothing like a "buffalo bonnet" to keep snow out of my eyes.

With insulation this good, the snow doesn't even melt on me.

 

 
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