Saturday 3 December 2011

Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam ♪♫♩

Photo courtesy Battle River Bison Co.
My late father used to sing this song for me at bedtime. It's one of my favourites! His lovely tenor voice echoes in my memory.

They are bison, just to be truthful, but you get the idea. They are mistakenly called buffalo, but truly are called American Bison, found on the Great Plains.

On a drive into Carleton Place to take photos of the NCR Habitat build, I spotted them having a bit of a dance in the field.

Well, perhaps more of a '–tag, you're it!'

This local farm appeals to the locavore in me. For my vegetarian friends, do not read any further!

I simply say that I support our local farmers. It is important to make good choices.

The video was a bit dull, with traffic zipping by, but they were having so much fun. I brightened up the video. You can see the critters barreling around.

Bison from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Battle River Bison Co.
They offer several recipes on their webpage. Soups and stews, ribs, ground bison r

Bison in Canada, census years 1991 to 2006

Figure 1 Bison in Canada, census years 1991 to 2006.ecipes, roasts, Recipes from the Canadian Bison Association Bison on the Battle River Bison farm between Perth and Carleton Place.

They are mammals and herbivores, more information is at National Geographic. They grow to have a head and body length of 2 - 3.5 m, and are as tall as a tall man (5 - 6.5'). They weigh between 422 - 998 kg (930 to 2200 lbs.).
Camera Critters #191
They run up to 65 k/hr (40 mph), and weigh a ton or so.
Like cows and my deer friends, they regurgitate their food and chew it up.
There were Wood Bison and Plains Bison, the former living farther north, with the Plains Bison living on...yes, the plains of North America.

For more info about the extirpation of the bison–Gutenberg e-Books
The Extermination of the American Bison (1888) 
by William Temple Hornaday

They were hunted to near extinction, by both First Nations and white hunters. Before the guns, there were plenty of these beasts.
"With these figures before us, it is not difficult to make a calculation that will be somewhere near the truth of the number of buffaloes actually seen in one day by Colonel Dodge on the Arkansas River during that memorable drive, and also of the number of head in the entire herd: 480,000."

The sheer numbers of these beasts convinced them that they would never have an impact on the herds.

The gun increased the numbers that were taken, and many began to take only the tongue. Heads fetched from $10 -  50 depending upon the gender and size of the animal, mountable skins sold for $50 - 150. The railway increased the numbers of heads and hides that could be shipped.

As early as 1701 the Huguenot settlers at Manikintown, on the James River, a few miles above Richmond, began to domesticate buffaloes. Fortunately, there are many that have begun to do this quite successfully in Lanark County.

The big problem is the lack of genetic diversity, due to the extirpation of the species by 1998.
As livestock, they tell us, they do quite well. However, many of them have been bred with beef cattle, and the genetics may prove to be another human experiment with animals gone wrong.


eileeninmd said...

They are amazing animals. The video was great, were they just playing around or fighting? Cool photos of the bison. Have a great weekend!

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm not really sure, Eileen! They seemed to like to frolic in the snow. There was much posturing, typical of herd animals. I'm going to visit the farm at a later date. I am fascinated with them!

DeniseinVA said...

Great post, found the video very interesting and loved the photos.

Anonymous said...

Looks like that one is running for his life, I would be, too, from that huge dude! =)

Great shots & video! Happy Weekend =)

Andrea said...

They are beautiful, and scary as well! I don't eat all ruminants, and the includes the bison, lol.

Anonymous said...

Such majestic beasts! It saddens me to see the old West photos of the mass slaughters of the bison. Your video is wonderful.

Dianne said...

they appear to be having a grand old time

Kay said...

This is so much fun! I didn't know you could brighten up videos. I learn something new all the time from bloggers. Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

They are magnificent animals!

Powell River Books said...

On our first date, Wayne and I went to Catalina Island off the California coast. There are free roaming buffalo (bison?) and wild boars. It was a bit stressful hiking through the bush to the coast not knowing what might be around the next corner. Both species can be aggressive I understand. But they do look like they are having fun in the field. - Margy

Snap said...

Wonderful, informative post. They are such magnificent critters (and tasty, too). Happy Critter Day!

Chubskulit Rose said...


Fun shots with the Cardinal at the park. Have a lovely weekend!

Lorac said...

Good to see they are being raised now in many provinces. I remember about 20 years ago coming across it on a menu in a Toronto hotel restaurant. I tried it there for the first time and pleasantly surprised. Bison is a great meat. Lean and very tasty. You can see why they were so much in demand.

Anonymous said...

What delightful pictures. When I first met my husband we visited the Great Salt Lake, and followed the buffalo who roam there freely. I am a westerner by birth and most of my life, and these buffalo are a welcome sight. Thank you for this posting.
Getting a Foothold

George said...

I enjoyed the video very much The bison seemed to be having a good time -- I wonder if they are still young? I knew that the bison were hunted to near extinction, but I didn't realize how low the numbers actually got to be. Thanks for an interesting and informative post.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hi Jenn: They are an amazing animal, someday I would like to see them up close. I've had a buffalo burger and it was good.

Christine said...

Never had bison, imagine they would taste like beef, maybe not as tender. Nice to see their population improving in Canada.

Christine said...

They seem very energetic for their size from you video, compared to the lazy cows I usually see.

SandyCarlson said...

A book I read recently about Quanah Parker drew a graphic picture of what white expansion did to this animal. Sick and sad. They are beauties.

Cloudia said...

what a smashing and informative post!
We try to be locavores also - specially thousands of miles out in the Pacific...Buddha ate meat and so does the Dali Lama. I respect ethical vegans and never eat meat without thinking ,but I do loves me some STEAK!

Cheers, sis

Aloha from Waikiki

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