"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

American Bison, Iconic Symbol of Yellowstone

When thinking about Yellowstone National Park the first animal that comes to many people's mind is probably the bison, often also referred to as buffalo. 

These large beasts can range from 800 to over 2,000 pounds.  They can be seen in most areas of Yellowstone, grazing in herds made up of cows and calves or, sometimes, in small groups of bulls or individuals...
 
 

 
 
 
One morning in the Hayden Valley, we watched as two young bulls swam across the Yellowstone River almost directly towards us...
 
 
 
 
Bison, it seems, do not like to remain wet when leaving the river...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Bison bulls also do not like to be clean for very long.  Especially when the rut, or mating season, is approaching. This one is pawing at the ground to loosen the soil...
 
 
Then he uses his horns to loosen it even more...
 
 
He also urinates on the spot where he has made his scrape...

 
 
 
When everything is to his liking he rolls, or wallows, in the mixture of dirt and urine...
 




 
 
 
All of this is done to make him more attractive to the cows that are approaching estrus...
 

Bulls often rub their heads against trees at this time of year.  Since they do not have velvet on their horns, as antlered animals do, I am not sure if they are leaving a scent marker on the tree, or strengthening their muscles for the combat with other bulls that will come as the rut advances...


Bison are usually not bothered by the presence of humans, but a mother with a calf or a bull during the rut, can be a very dangerous animal.  Always remember that bison are wild animals and, as such, are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.


Thanks for visiting and stop back soon for more from our Yellowstone trip.

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