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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.


Snowstorm – springtime in the Rockies. March 26, 2010

Filed under: bison,ecology — bisonquest @ 8:02 am

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.


Baby bison are tough little critters! May 8, 2009

Filed under: bison — bisonquest @ 2:10 pm
Tough Buff!

Tough Buff!

I drove down to camp yesterday – it was the first time in several weeks that the meadow was dry enough that I could actually drive the truck all the way to camp instead of having to hike over the water soaked meadow.  I left the gate open because I could see the bison herd a quarter mile away, far up on the mountain side, and figured I didn’t need to be concerned about my shaggy friends paying a surprise visit (there’s a reason we keep them fenced out of Bison Quest camp)!  I wandered around filling up bird feeders with sunflower and thistle seeds when I heard a gentle grunt – and then another.  I know that sound!  I raced for the gate without even looking to see where the sound was coming from – first item is to get that gate closed!  As I reached the gate, I could see the bison cow who was making the “mama grunts” (the kind of grunts mama bison make to their babies – someday I’ll tell you all about that).  It was Gracie and GG (Gracie’s Girl – her daughter) walking past the camp fence.  Gracie was still swollen with her unborn calf but, at her daughter GG’s side, toddled an unsteady, not-quite-dry newborn calf.  Grandma Gracie and her daughter stopped to look at me as I reached the gate, and the little baby peeked out from behind his mom’s legs.  I congratulated GG on her newborn, but both cows were singularly unimpressed with my salutations and, after assuring themselves that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to offer (that would translate into, “she doesn’t have any treats for us”), they both continued on their way past camp with the little one, wobbly but determined, at their heels.  I watched them go and then let my eyes wander up the mountain.  And up, and up – up to where I knew the herd was grazing.  All I could do was shake my head in amazement at this brand new little mite taking such a trek in the first hour or two of life.  Those baby bison are tough little critters!


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