Thursday, June 4, 2015

Shared stories of Bison

Photo credit:  Larry D. Fenwick
I never know what the comments and mail will bring in response to my blog postings, and last week's post about the American Bison brought some great surprises.  My husband shared this photograph taken at the Pratt, Kansas airport of Ted Turner's airplane with the image of a bison on the tail.  According to Turner's website, he has approximately two million acres of personal and ranch land, part of which lies south of Pratt in the vicinity of land Isaac B. Werner traveled on his potato trips to Sun City.  (See "The Trip to Sun City," 2-20-2014 in the blog archives.)  Reputedly the second largest individual landholder in North America, Turner advocates for progressive environmental projects and practices, which he practices on his own lands.  With George McKerrow, Jr. (founder of Longhorn Steakhouse), Turner established Ted's Montana Grill in 2002, with 46 restaurants in 16 states today.  On the menu, described as "American Classics," are a variety of bison entrees.

When our niece and her husband visited after having read last week's blog, they mentioned their own use of bison, preferring it over beef.  A quick check on the internet showed me that bison compares favorably in fat, calories, cholesterol and protein ratings, but cattlemen and steak lovers in Isaac's old community and elsewhere are unlikely to switch!  My husband and I were curious, however, and enjoyed a delicious bison burger, using meat purchased at our local grocery store.

I was very excited to hear from a follower in Idaho who shared the story of a buffalo removal project in which her son-in-law, Clint Sampson, participated.  A group of Biologists and Wildlife Officers flying in a fixed-wing aircraft located a group of buffalo in the Henry Mountains of southern Utah and called in a 4-person helicopter.  The helicopter herded the buffalo enough to tire them and then dropped a net to cover one of the bison.  Two men, so-called "muggers," then tipped the netted buffalo and hobbled its front and back legs together, putting the buffalo in a canvas 'bag' securely to allow it to be lifted by the helicopter for transport to a corral.  From the corral the bison was put into a horse trailer, where it was ear tagged and a veterinarian drew blood to check for brucellosis.  

Photo credit:  Clint Sampson
Photo credit:  Clint Sampson
 We have Clint to thank for this first-hand account of the project involving 35 bison the first year and 40 the second year he participated in the removal project.  The bison were transported to Antelope Island, and the two photographs Clint shared were taken recently at Book Cliffs.  His mother-in-law, Celinda Winters, was particularly interested because of the place to which the buffalo were relocated, for her great-great grandfathers, Lot Smith and Judson Lyman Stoddard worked with cattle there decades ago.  Once the buffalo reach Antelope Island they are held for about 30 days for further testing.  Clint has continued to check on the buffalo and reports that they are doing well.

You may have read the comment left by another follower at the end of last week's blog, which included the suggestion that I visit the face book page of his Canadian friend, Gord Vaadeland.  Gord works on Sturgeon River Ranch at Big River, Saskatchewan.  You may want to visit to get a taste of Gord's skills and the beautiful region in which he lives and works.  The photograph at the close of this blog was 'borrowed' from Gord's face book page.

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