Ranging Bison: An Ecological Win for Everyone! by Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet,

2 years of changes are now being implemented on a ranch I know. A nursery herd of bison was kept isolated for the past 2 years, growing up together, acclimating to land. They had 1st calf this past spring. This new young group will eventually turn into a large herd that will literally roam over 8000 acres.

At the same time, the 100 year sheep operation is in its final stages, and the last lambs are being born.

It’s an end of an era. And a move to create sustainable ranching.

Bison are the very opposite of sheep in every way. They need no protection from predators or dogs. They literally improve grazing if given room. The wildest of erratic weather means nothing to them. They are the future. Ironically, with sheep being removed and many fences torn down, within 2 weeks a band of pregnant elk have began utilizing some areas where they haven’t been seen for years. There’s only a few bison roaming. But already there is a profound change happening. When coyote discover a bison/elk grazed ranch of 8000 acres, no doubt this will be prime territory for a few lucky pairs.

For ranchers who want to survive erratic weather, times, etc…bison are proving themselves more and more.

And where bison roam, coyote are no longer under suspicion.

I feel privileged to see this. How many times are sheep removed….and bison, elk and coyote move in?


Hi Janet,

I forgot to mention, the area the bison have lived past 2 years looks very different from sheep grazed range. The grass is longer. Also, where especially the bulls wallow for dust/mud, depressions develop, holding water, which spring peeper frogs lay eggs in. Their actual grazing is different, and it’s hard to comprehend, but a huge bison has less impact than a sheep in the land.

Like I said, I’m really excited. 8000 acres of ranging bison will be an ecological win. And the coyote that live there will be in prime habitat. No hunting allowed, so I’m sure wildlife will converge here under the new bison banner.

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