National Bison Range
At the peak of the North American Bison’s existence it is estimated there were over sixty million of them roaming North America from Canada to Mexico. If fact they were once so numerous the species earned the nickname “rolling thunder” because distant stampeding herds sounded like thunderstorms on the prairie. Greed, gluttony and politics however, as it often does, almost completely destroyed the entire bison population and by the late 1880s there were only an estimated 1091 left.
The National Bison Range in western Montana was established in 1908 to provide a sanctuary for the bison. At approximately 18,500 acres the sanctuary has relatively small herd of 350 to 500 bison and accordingly there was no guarantee that we would see any. We were however rewarded almost immediately on arrival when we came upon a few score of them crossing a road very near the entrance. The 2,000 pound creatures were wandering around seemingly as peaceful as dairy cows. There were signs warning about getting too close and I tried to keep a safe distance. It was only after further research that I learned a bison can easily outrun humans and will attack if provoked. I am not exactly sure how to provoke a “buffalo” but I took grunting sounds as a warning, quit taking pictures and got back in the car.