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Bison

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Bison cow takes a whiff of Tatanka Tuesday

Perhaps I forgot to wear deodorant on this morning or, more likely, the males of the herd were smelling things up for the rut. This female cow was among the many being courted by the males last month.

She was actually demonstrating what is called the flehmen response. Many mammals will do this, curling their lips, raising their head and inhaling deeply allowing them to get a better sampling of a particular smell that interests them – kind of like a human taking a big whiff to smell something.

A Bison cow demonstrates the flehmen response at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison cow demonstrates the flehmen response at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

Beautiful Bison pair for Tatanka Tuesday

Now isn’t this just a picture perfect couple? This bull and cow were standing away from the rest of the herd, avoiding the pushing and shoving that was taking place during the rut. Both looked resplendent in the early morning light and the fall landscape gives them a nice place to pose.

These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands.

It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species.

Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lakota word that translated means “bull buffalo.” In May 2016 the Bison became the official mammal of the United States, a fitting and long overdue honor. Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.

You can own your own copy of this image by clicking here.

A Bison bull and cow enjoy a quiet morning on the Great Plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison bull and cow enjoy a quiet morning on the Great Plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Squared off and ready to do battle

The Bison bull on the left you might recognize from my posting this morning. With their hormones raging, these two big guys were not playing nice with each other. They pushed each other all over the place including across the road right in front of me.

It was a pretty impressive display and makes you appreciate their sheer power, something you don’t get a feel for when they are calmly grazing. Light was at a premium so I had to use a high ISO and thus the image isn’t as sharp as I would like. Nevertheless, the look on their faces is awesome!

Two massive Bison bulls prepare to do battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

Two massive Bison bulls prepare to do battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

Rough rut

This massive Bison bull bears the battle scars of mating season. A broken horn, blood from his rival. Wow!

It was a pretty wild scene two weeks ago when I came upon the main part of the herd. Multiple battles were going on, some within just feet of my truck. This guy is the big man on campus and he did not appreciate being challenged by an upstart. The pair went at it for a good while, head to head, body blows, shoving each other across the grassland.

At one point, this guy broke a piece of his horn off but that didn’t prevent what was left from doing damage to the competitor and drawing blood. Awesome! Once the action died down, he came over and seemed to want a picture taken to show his scars. I obliged.

A Bison bull bears the signs of a rough battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison bull bears the signs of a rough battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

Battling Bison bulls

Kind of a fun scene to come across at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado recently. Two American Bison bulls were having a bit of a disagreement and got into a tussle. Given that each of these guys weighs more than 1,000 pounds, it probably would not be wise to get between them and try to break it up. 😉

These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands.

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bulls battle for dominance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Oh, give me a home, where the Buffalo roam…

It is National Bison Day so I sure can’t let that go by without notice. This image was taken last weekend and is one I absolutely love. This massive Bison bull was hanging out alone on the Great Plains. In the distance, the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands.

It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lakota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

In May 2016 the Bison became the official mammal of the United States, a fitting and long overdue honor.

Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.

An American Bison bull walks across the Great Plains with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Bison bull walks across the Great Plains with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance. (© Tony’s Takes)

Spirit Bison

Kind of an odd morning of weather this past Saturday. On the first round around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado, the skies were clear and it was gorgeous. On the second round, a very thick fog had rolled in making for some interesting shots, including this out. The massive bull was only 40 feet away but the fog made it impossible to get any detail out of the pictures thus creating a cool silhouette.

These impressive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands. In May 2016 the Bison became the official mammal of the United States, a fitting and long overdue honor.

Someone suggested the title, “Spirit Bison” for this image and that seems fitting.

A Bison bull is shrouded in fog at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison bull is shrouded in fog at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bounding Bison calf for Tatanka Tuesday

This little one was a bundle of energy and joy as it bounded along the shores of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park this past spring. And, no wonder! It and three other little ones had just survived a rather harrowing and dramatic crossing of the fast-moving river. Honestly it was a break taking scene that I will never forget.

You can read the whole story and view the entire sequence of images here.

While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lakota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

A wet Bison calf bounds through the grass along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A wet Bison calf bounds through the grass along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

This one for all the folks here in Colorado

Kickoff for the Rocky Mountain Showdown is in less than a half hour. Where does your allegiance lie? With the Colorado State Rams or Colorado Buffaloes? Do you stand with Cam or Ralphie? I don’t have a preference unless it involves Navy Football.  😉

The Bighorn Sheep - Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Bighorn Sheep – Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison - Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison – Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

Well, hello there, big lady!

It isn’t too often a big Bison is going to catch you by surprise as they are kind of hard to miss. However, such was the case with this cow on my visit to Yellowstone National Park in June.

I had stopped at Soda Butte, the remnants of an extinct geyser in the Lamar Valley, to snap a few pictures. As I rounded the side of the butte opposite the road, I came face to face with this large, hairy creature. Oops! She was working her way up and directly toward me. Needless to say, I quickly backpedaled and gave her all the room she wanted. 😉

These impressive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands.

A Bison stakes out its ground at Soda Butte in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison stakes out its ground at Soda Butte in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley. (© Tony’s Takes)

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