Bison – Yearlings, Sparring & Hey, Don’t Get Too Close

Bison – Yearlings, Sparring & Hey, Don’t Get Too Close


Steve and I went out last night for our second Woodcock Singing Ground Survey of the  year. We ran the Danforth survey and when in Danforth, I want to see the red stag and bison. Seeing the bison is a rare thing, it’s happened only twice. We’ve been out past the farm that raises these animals dozens of times and until last night, the bison were near the road only once. “The smaller red stag are over here,” I said. And Steve said, “Look at the buffalo.” “Where,” I asked, because, you know, a bunch of 1,400 pound animals in an open field are hard to see. I hadn’t looked far enough beyond the deer to get to the bison yet. Bison…buffalo…call the what  you wish. I say both.

I forgot the camera when we were out scouting for turkeys on Saturday. This time, it was in my lap with the 70-300 mm lens attached and ready to go. I got out of the truck and started snapping. Two yearling calves stuck their noses in the air. “Who is she,” I thought one asked the other. “I don’t know. Maybe she has food. Let’s go get too close and find out.” “Oh little ones,” I said out loud, “let’s not get too close.” I backed up as they approached the fence. I’m sure the fence is [probably] strong but you know, there were tons of bison on the other side and I didn’t want to tempt fate. I backed up. “Hurry up,” I’m sure one said, “she’s getting away.” And get away I did, but still taking pictures.

Two mature bulls were mildly interested in me for two-thirds of a second, and then they turned to each other and started sparring. The calves could have picked my pockets if they’d been able to escape the fence. I wouldn’t have noticed. Two mature bison bulls were sparring in the pasture. By the time they were done these fenced but wild animals were 30 feet away. I had to back off to get them to fit in the shots.

I made up imaginary conversations with baby bison this weekend. What did you do?



4 thoughts on “Bison – Yearlings, Sparring & Hey, Don’t Get Too Close

  1. We have a bison farm in our county in Virginia and they always amaze me. A few years back some escaped the farm and went into the mountains. The owners could not round them up due to finding enough people brave enough to go near them so the herd had to be disposed of. It broke my heart but not being native to Virginia I understand there are laws and safety of the unknown that take precedence. They are wondrous creatures!

  2. They sure are a big critter. A rancher near my brother has some. They have very tall and sturdy fencing. Fun to see though, especially when they calve.

  3. They are amazing creatures. My teacher raised them. Through him I learned a lot about them and they have my respect.

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