Where Are They Now? Where To See American Bison
It’s incredible to think that more than sixty million bison once roamed American soil. There is a journal entry from Lewis & Clark recounting how it took them two entire days to pass an enormous migrating bison herd. Once an integral part of the American ecosystem, we can only speculate at how different this country would be if their population hadn’t been decimated.
Hunted to the brink of extinction, the American buffalo made enough of a comeback that they are no longer in danger of disappearing completely. However, there are still far fewer of these majestic creatures than there were before colonialism intervened. To support increasing the population of American bison, explore our offerings of grass fed buffalo meat.
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Bison once roamed freely from the gently rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains to the western peaks of the Rockies. They lived as far south as northern Mexico, and up through Canada and even Alaska. Since their massive population decline, there are now only specific locations in America where bison can be seen. The bulk of the population exists by far in privately owned herds.
There are approximately 325 truly wild bison left. The largest and best known publicly owned population of bison is located in Yellowstone National Park. This herd numbers about 5,000 and is a federal conservation effort. This is the only location in the country where bison have existed since prehistoric times. There are about 11,000 other bison currently in Montana. Our local New Mexican buffalo meat helps sustain one of the largest herds here in the Land of Enchantment.
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South Dakota has more bison than any other state, about 33,600. There is a publicly owned herd of bison at South Dakota’s Custer State Park. This conservation area was originally meant to serve as a safe place to protect wildlife that had been wiped out during westward expansion and the goldrush.
Today it’s home to a herd of approximately 1,300 bison. South Dakota also has some of the largest privately owned herds. These herds are largely kept for the purpose of producing bison meat - South Dakota is the number one source of it in the nation. Herds that are a source of meat increase the population and can help diversify the genetics of bison nationwide.
Colorado has the 4th largest bison population of any state, about 10,700. Oklahoma comes in at number 5 with about 9,700 bison. There are a couple different herds of bison located in Utah. One exists in the Henry Mountains, and the herd originated from 18 bison that were transplanted from Yellowstone in 1941. There’s also a herd at Antelope Island State Park. Both herds are managed by the State of Utah. When looking for where to buy ethically sourced buffalo meat, look no further than Beck & Bulow.
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The largest privately owned herd of bison consists of around 51,000 spread across 15 ranches. It’s not only the largest herd of bison in the country, but in the world. The ranches are owned by Ted Turner and are scattered throughout Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Argentina. Largely because of this herd, Nebraska comes in as the number two state for bison population with about 23,200. Bison meat is extremely nutritious and helps us continue to grow the population of this keystone species.
In 1876, a herd of bison was captured by Charles Goodnight to save the species from extinction. Nowadays, the descendents of these bison number around 78 and live in Caprock Canyons State Park in Texas. There is a small herd of about 24 bison located at the Fort Worth Nature Center in Texas as well. Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota is home to about 350 bison. The New York Zoological Society started this herd in 1913 with just 14 bison. Six more bison were introduced a couple years later from Yellowstone, strengthening the genetics of the herd.
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There are numerous herds of bison in Canada, including a group of 5,000 Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae). This species is just slightly different from the Plains Bison (Bison bison bison). The most easily distinguishable difference is the larger and squarer hump of the Wood Bison. As the name suggests, the Wood Bison evolved to live in the forest while the Plains Bison evolved to live on the plains.
At Beck & Bulow, we’re passionate about bison. We believe that seeing their numbers grow over time to what they once were could bring about amazing changes for the earth. When you buy buffalo meat online from us, you can feel great about where it comes from. We honor where our meat comes from and recognize the gift from nature that it is. Check out our selections of bison, grass-fed beef, elk, wild boar, lamb and chicken today.
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