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Quite a Sight a Week Ago

About a week ago, my daughter came here to get my help. On the way back home, I took these pictures. At first glance, the first couple of pictures might not look like anything special. They are simply pictures of snow-covered land and the southern boundary of the National Bison Range, if you don’t know what is there. I took the pictures as quickly as I could since we were traveling about 65 mph at the time, so I didn’t have the time to zoom in.

I was able to do some zoom-in on the computer, using a photo editor, though. I don’t know how well the pictures will turn out on here, but what we saw was astounding. I feel very privileged to have been able to see it.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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    • The bison would most likely just be in another area of the NBR. The Bison Range is a lot bigger than a person might think. There are several areas where the bison tend to congregate during colder weather and the one place where we’ve almost always seen them is near the north boundary of the NBR; basically the opposite side of where these images were taken and on the other side of the hills that can be seen in the pictures.

      Then, too, the bison cows will also be close to calving and give birth around the time that the elks do. They tend to do so in secluded areas. Like cattle, bison calves are more helpless after birth than elk fawns are, so herds of bison cows will often cluster in a secluded area to give birth and they tend to stay in those places from a month or so before birthing until a short time afterward. It causes an unexpected and deceiving set of events. To an observer, there are bison that can be seen here and there, but it seems like almost overnight, the bison population triples and bison calves are suddenly all over the place, along with their mothers.

      Elks, on the other hand, don’t seek seclusion. The newborn fawns can run well only a couple of hours after birth and the bull elk is quite capable of facing off predators that might threaten the calves. For that matter, although elk cows don’t have antlers, they have sharp hooves and know how to use them to protect their young. A grizzly probably wouldn’t hesitate to go after a bison calf, but unless the elk were in deep snow (2 1/2 feet of snow is not deep to an elk), there is a good chance that a grizzly would be injured if it went after an elk fawn. It sometimes does happen that they will kill a fawn, but usually, that is when the cow and fawn get separated from the herd.

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    • Indeed! I’m a reluctant traveler, which is strange in and of itself when living in a state that is so far between towns, but one of the things that makes it much more bearable is the animals I see almost every time I go anywhere. Deer are extremely common, but there are plenty of other large creatures, like elk.

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