Flat Creek Inn

The Bison: from 30 million to 325 (1884) to 500,000 (today)

Photo by Greg Farley, winner of the Flat Creek photo contest. 

Last year, the bison was chosen as America's first national mammal, joining the bald eagle as a symbol of America. I started writing this post with only a mild interest in bison. But the more I learned, the more I want to learn, and this blog post took on a life of it's own. The bison have a fascinating history, unique appearance, and they present complex challenges in the present day. They are a symbol of the untamed West. Their near-extinction is a testament to the self-centeredness of "civilized" men and their resurgence shows that we can learn from and try to correct our mistakes.

Why did people nearly push the bison to extinction?

To settle the West, early settlers needed to conquer the Native Americans, and the bison were everything to the Natives. The bison provided meat for food and hides for tepees. So the US Army launched a campaign to kill the bison so they could control the Native Americans. Without this sad and complicated part of our history, many of us would not live in the homes we live in today. We live here at the expense of the people and the animals that used to call this home.

Photo from the 1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer. Wikipedia

A Timeline of the American Bison

1500sAn estimated 30-60 million bison roam North America, mostly on the great plains.
1830Mass destruction of the bison begins.
1860Construction of the railroad accelerates human settlement and killing of bison.
1870An estimated 2 million are killed on southern plains in one year.
1872-1874An average of 5000 bison were killed every day of these three years. That's 5.4 million bison killed in 3 years.
1884The bison population reaches it's lowest point. Around 325 wild bison are left in the United States - including 24 in Yellowstone.
1910 Due to conservation efforts, bison increase to 1,000 in the US.
2017Today there are 500,000 bison in the US, including 5,000 in Yellowstone.
This map shows the decline of land occupied by bison.

Now that the bison are no longer endangered, why are the Yellowstone bison special?

Yellowstone is the only place in the continental US where wild, free ranging bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. It is also the largest bison population in the country. And it's one of the only purebread (no cattle genes) herds left. The other two other locations with purebred buffalo are in Utah and in South Dakota.

Are all of Yellowstone’s bison descended from the 24 in 1884?

No. In 1902 the U.S. Army brought 21 bison from two private herds to Yellowstone. These animals were bred with those already in Yellowstone.

What challenges do the Yellostone bison still have?

Limited space, and disease. When not facing mass destruction by man, bison are actually pretty good at reproducing; most adult females get pregnant every year. But the Park land is finite and inevitably the bison population wants to spread outside the Park. They do leave, since there is no fence around the exterior of the Park, and cattle ranchers in Montana do not want the bison roaming around and spreading disease to the cattle. The current solution to this problem is for Yellowstone to regularly capture about 1,000 bison per year and ship them to Native American tribes where they are slaughtered.

What disease are the cattle ranchers concerned about?

Up to 60% of Yellowstone bison test positive for brucellosis, which ironically, the bison got from cattle in the early 1900s. Brucellosis has been mostly eliminated from cattle across the US, but persists in the Yellowstone ecosystem's bison and elk.

Do bison breed with cattle?

Yes (heard of beefalo? Cattalo?) but human intervention is required. Even though bison and cattle are different genus (usually animals need to be same genus to have offspring), they are able to breed and produce offspring that, surprisingly, are fertile (unlike some other hybrids like the mule).  The study of hybrids is a whole different subject.

What is the hump of a bison made out of?

Mostly muscle and bone. The spinous processes and associated muscles of the buffalo are much longer than those of similar mammals. The hump is one reason they are able to survive tough winters. It enables them to use their heads as snowplows in the winter so they can find grass.

Picture from http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=deltabison.tipsshooting

The bison is a great symbol for America for many reasons. For better or for worse, it's a history of our determination to settle the West. The resurgence of the bison shows that every once in a while, man does something that is not just for himself.

To the many people who know more about bison than I do: I wrote this post based on information found on the national park website, and the fish and game website. If there are untruths or errors let me know!

Jessica Heath

106 thoughts on “The Bison: from 30 million to 325 (1884) to 500,000 (today)

  1. Hope to visit you all someday. It looks so beautiful there. Thank you for the information on Bison. It’s so sad that there are so few left compared to the numbers of the 1500’s. Humans always seem to find ways to destroy nature.

  2. I am as much of a nature conservationist as the other people who care enough for it like I do. But I’m not sure if those numbers of bison is correct.. in the 1850’s the population in the United States was 23,191,878. And the bison population was 90,000,000 even if every person in the states killed 3.8 million per person that’s just very unrealistic. If if it took 100 years that wouldn’t be accurate. And the 1000 a day times 365 would be 365,000 a year which is doable with population at that time. But 90,000,000 divided by 365,000 that would take 246 years give or take.

    1. Are you on drugs? Do the math again. 90 Mil divided by 23 Mil is 3.88 not 3.88 Mil. That’s 4 bisons per person. If only 1% of the population was killing bisons, i.e. 230,000 people, and killed about 100 a year, in less than four years all bison will be gone.

      1. What about the offspring? If there was 90 million at least a third of them would be having calves each year.

      2. I just started reading this feed and am glad to see that somebody here has a brain. I only started to read the post to which you replied and started to scratch my head, clear my contacts and think this guy must be on DRUGS. LOL Thanks for being a voice of reason.

    2. First off, I do not see where a bison population of 90,000,000 is referenced in the article. There is an estimate of 30-60 million bison. The main part of the article seems to point to a population of 30,000,000 bison, that could have been as high as 60,000,000. The mass destruction of the bison started in the 1830s. In 1860, the killing rate increases (or it is implied that it increased) as a result of the westward expansion of the railroads. By 1860, it was estimated that 2,000,000 bison were killed annually. By 1884, there are an estimated 325 remaining. By 1884, approximately 54 years of bison killing had transpired. Being a little conservative using 1,500,000 bison are killed annually, between 1870 and 1882, 18,000,000 bison were killed. If 500,000 were killed annually during the first 20 years (1830-1850), that would reduce the heard by 10,000,000. If 1,000,000 were killed annually during the second 20 years (1851-1870), that would reduce the heard by 20,000,000. That is a ton of reduction … potentially 48,000,000 bison killed.

      A single bison hunter could easily kill a 100 (or more) bison a day. While bison are majestic creatures, they are not the brightest animal. Unlike many animals, they do not run when one of their herd is shot; they will stay and graze next to the fallen bison. I have seen video of this in modern times, where the bison are killed as they step outside the boundaries of Yellowstone Park and they are legally shot by waiting ranchers and hunters. The ones next to the fallen bison continue to graze, seemingly unconcerned about their “napping” partner. There are also stories of bison hunters driving large herds over cliffs to their death, where hundreds or thousands could be killed at a time. Sadly, many American bison hunters killed the bison for their hides, and left the carcass to rot.

      I have not looked into the Native American population. I am guessing there were large numbers of Native Americans during the 1830s to 1870s, and the bison was a staple for them. The Native Americans also hunted bison, which also reduced the numbers.

      As to the reproduction, according to information on the NPS site, about 20-40% of the new bison do not survive the winter in Yellowstone. There weren’t any stats on the rate of birth annually. If the herds were evenly composed of male and female bison, I could see where 1/3 might get pregnant; of those 1/3 that did get pregnant, it is less clear how many live births there were (less, than 100% for sure). Anyway, during the killing spree of bison, I would imagine the rate of survival of young bison was not very high.

      The bottom-line is a lot of bison were killed in the 1800s across the plains of the US. It is reasonable to account for the death of millions of bison over the 50+ years of prime killing of bison (or slaughter). Even if there were only 5 to 10 million bison, it would still have been a lot of killing, and much of it senseless killing.

  3. Hello
    We are visiting from Australia and toured Yellowstone. I discovered a guy too late a guy who carved his love for is girlfriend in a tree. I discovered a line protest explaining about the Bison slaughter. I am thinking the brucellosis claim is a cowboy scam. I read in a newspaper about your beautiful Bald Eagle collapsing with lead in their system. Back home a New Zealander in Australia poisoned over 200 of our Wedgetail eagles

    1. I’m as much of a nature lover as anyone and probably more so than most. I was a proponent of conservation before it was “woke”. I have been to Yellowstone and it’s beautiful. When I was young, I wanted more than anything to pursue a career in the Forest Service in Montana, but life dictated I follow another career. I am also a realist.

      What information do you have for “thinking the brucellosis claim is a cowboy scam”, or do you think that because it’s what you want to believe? Try to at least be fair with cattle ranchers and do some research before making such a statement.

      1. There is no evidence or reported cases that bison can transfer brucellosis to cattle. At the same time, elk carry brucellosis and can wander in and out of the park. Do some research before you refute such a statement.

        1. John Sanford, you need to do your research before making unfounded claims. Brucellosis will transfer from Bison or Elk to Cattle. This fact (not assumption) is the basis for USDA having a zone of affected counties around the park in 3 states where all sexually in tact cows must be vaccinated and bled before leaving the county and going into the neighboring counties and the rest of the country.

          Furthermore, I was on a prominent ranch in Montana next to Yellowstone and told by their staff veterinarian that one of the main causes of brucellosis within their significant bison herd is the presence of the reintroduced wolves. When the wolves were gone, Elk that were infected with brucellosis would calve away from main herds. Their infected placenta would rot and effectively be disinfected away from other animals. As the wolves became prominent again, these Elk would calve in amongst the bison (and cattle) herds in the area as the herd affect would help protect from the vicious predators. Since the affected carrier placenta was in among the herds, the cattle would mingle and the disease would transfer to the bison (or cattle). Furthermore, affected bison that migrate in out out of the park can and do transfer the disease to cattle, increasing the risk to humans.

          Brucellosis is a serious problem as it can spread to humans. I know one old country vet from Montana that was infected while preg testing some 40 years ago and has been treated ever since for the disease. It almost killed him. The threat of the disease is very real to the 1000’s of rancher around the park and their livelihoods as they attempt to produce safe protein for our people.

          There are 10 ‘s of 1000’s of cattle tested annually for brucellosis, and relatively few elk and and wild bison are tested. The park is a virtual petri dish for brucellosis that is ignored in the equation and that the USDA and Park service do very little to prevent. Because of this, the number of live bison calves is severely depressed and it affects the livelihoods of surrounding ranchers in very real ways as the have to foot the extra cost of testing for a disease that cannot help but being affected by.

          You sir need to “do some research before you refute such a statement.” There are several vectors that are established to transfer including Elk to Bison, Bison to Bison, Bison to Cattle and all the above to humans. You sir could become better informed on all sides of the issue before accusing somebody else of not doing their issue. However, my guess is that this type of gaslighting is your typical way of winning an argument…just tell the other side they don’t know what they are talking about. That does it every time.

          1. Both are correct. There is evidence that brucellosis is transferred to cattle by wildlife, AND it is transferred to wildlife by cattle. Brucellosis became a problem when cattle became more present. Wolves and other predators control populations of wild hoofstock and thus control the spread of brucellosis. Cattle ranching, as much as it is a way of life for relatively few people, has been one of the major forces to eradicate the wildlife and Indigenous people that were here first for the last 25,000+ years. Now suddenly, the wildlife are disease-spreading the problem?? Rethink your history lessons.

            TH, you may want to do some research on your opinion that wolves are “vicious” predators. It is anthropocentrically hypocritical to accuse another species of being “vicious” when they are simply doing what they naturally do.

          2. This sounds like what the Democrats do. When they do something wrong, they blame it on the Republicans. Get ready for an America that will not be Great again until a true Constitutionalist becomes President and Republicans win both the House and the Senate. Maybe I am dreaming, but at 69 years young, I may never see it. Yes, mail in ballots gave the Democrats the way to victory in 2021 by cheating, stealing and lying. Their day of Atonement will come and they will not have a proper answer.
            As for the issue with brucellosis, it is real and all animals, cattle, elk and bison should be tested for the invasive disease within Yellowstone Park and say 100 miles around it to protect ranchers, visitors and animals alike. Pay once, cry once!!!!! How much is a life or a herd worth???
            Parks and Wildlife throughout the country are currently making a push to kill “Many” whitetail deer to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease. The majority of 144 whitetail infections over 13 years occurred on or near deer production farms and only 36 wild deer throughout the US were found infected. Is there a real problem or are they making a mountain out of a mole hill. Disease does not spread to humans and to me suggests that feeding the animals leads to deer also ingesting some deer poop and prion disease development could be very similar to Mad Cow Disease, where cattle were fed up to 30% cow manure mixed in to their food. Please will Biologists look into this before Parks and Wildlife make deer and other animals extinct!!!

      2. Really? Using the English word “fair”.
        As far as “the disease” from cattle, that is true. Cattle are not indigenous to this land. And just as the settles brought disease’s that killed many who are “ indigenous“, their cattle brought disease with them that kills native animals, not to mention cattle ranchers.
        They need to go back to their native land and take their diseases with them. Then thee rightful owners can get back to living in peace and respecting “Mother Earth”

  4. I heard that there are ‘no more bison’ as they were prior to Native Americans up to the slaughter of them, thus we have they offspring of the bison the buffalo. have fun with this. i like your blog. God bless you.

    1. Just want to say I am happy to hear that the American Bison is making a healthy comeback and that since in 1800’s you could not run to the grocery store and grab your dinner that this was a families only way to eat! As there is nowhere on this planet that man has not overpopulated that it is impossible not to have animals endangered unless we started hunting humans! So pretty much everyone of us is guilty!

  5. White man is an idiot. I did a rough calculation on the pile of skulls. 20 feet high 40 feet wide ( average 30 feet ) pretended it was half a sphere and figured each skull took up one cubic foot. I came up with 424,000 skulls. I am not a mathematician, just an average joe, If someone can do a better estimate I would be thrilled to find out.

    1. It’s easy to sit at your computer and pass judgment. If you lived there at that time you probably would be doing the same thing.

      While there were professional bison hunters that killed thousands, most people settling the west probably only killed enough to eat and protect their cattle. The American aborigines used to drive whole herds over cliffs when hunting them.

      I wouldn’t be too quick to call them idiots or evil. It shows your own ignorance.

      1. “The American aborigines used to drive whole herds over cliffs when hunting them.”

        Yeah at ~500-1000 a pop for the year… nowhere near the levels that are seen in the 1860’s & 70’s by white hunters. Buffalo extinction hunts were pushed by the US GOV in order to promote white settlers.

        1. You must’ve been educated in the public school system. “White Men” learned to hunt buffalo from American Indians.

          From Cave men forward to American Indians, the preferred method was always running them off a cliff, or corralling.

          The “White Man” merely brought the American Indians out of the dark ages. They no longer raid nearby villages killing all the men and enslaving the women & children.

          Of course, when you judge the history of the world from your couch, you show your naive ignorance.

          We don’t have “Aborigines” in the USA. You must be thinking of Australia.

          1. Every continent has aborigines, which are defined as ‘a person, animal or plant that has been in a country or region from it’s earliest times’, or ‘peoples that inhabited a given region before colonisation by a foreign power’. What you refer to are aboriginal Australians, but those peoples displaced by Spanish conquistadors in Central and South America, and by Europeans in North America are also aboriginal.

          2. Seriously,out of the dark age if anything white mans occupation to any land means possible extinction of existing tribes and animals and destroying the natural geology of the earth with mines and oil wells and lots of cement. sounds like dark times to me.

        2. Native americans and we didn’t want you to take us from the dark ages as you call us your cows and pigs are full of cholesterol ourwild game is not we don’t believe you can own the land given to us all take your cows and pigs home let us eat good food again and you citys and roads cultter our beautiful lands with buildings you stoled our land killed shot the men and bashed in the heads of women and childern with thier boot and gun butts and started scalping our but when we did it back we were savage’s what a bunch of bull your cows brought the shit now you kill our animals for having it you gave us blankets full of smallpox but were the savages come on

    2. I enjoy these kinds of estimations. Thanks for getting me thinking.
      I think it’s more like a cone than a sphere, though. Using your estimates of height and radius, I get:
      V=pi x r^2 x h/3

      = 3.14 x 400 x 20/3 = c. 8,400 cubic feet.
      I might estimate a bison skull to be a bit larger than 1 cubic foot, but I also think the pile is about 25 feet high.

      If we use 25 feet as the radius and your posit that it’s a 1/2 sphere, I still get a much smaller number
      V = (4/3 x pi x r^3) divided by 2 (for the 1/2 sphere)
      = (4/3 x 3.14 x 8000) / 2 = c. 33,000 cubic feet

      So your estimation seems high by more than an order of magnitude.

      1. Because it would be easier for men to pile them on a flat piece of ground. why would they put them on a hill on a flat terrain??????

    3. You don’t have to accuse any race of anything. People are idiots, get it right. All races had conquest to conquer other people since the dawn of time, Unfortunately, it’s part of who we are like a cancer. We are never happy with what we have, we want to kill and take some one else’s good fortune for our own. The only thing that prevents more of it nowadays is the threat of total anilation on all sides. Two or three opposing super powers keeping everything in check if you will. Withoit this, world conquest would still remain and forever more. The white settlers were not idiots, the were genius strategists, kill the bison and kill the Indian, their enemy, a genius move on their part in terms of military strategy. I make no judgement in stating that. There’s no right or wrong, The strong usually defeat the less strong, It’s been happening like that for thousands of years, there’s no judgement in that. Again, it’s who we are as a human race. A mightier group will seek to engage and destroy a less fortified group. As long as we are human, that fact will never change.

      1. Pretty convenient justification to maintain certain power structures. It’s also quite dismissive and absolves you of dealing with the brutal past of white European settlement.
        It also doesn’t explain the hundreds of millions of people who disagree with you and who do not engage in the destruction of a less fortified group.

  6. Just learn from history people and our generation try to do better which slowly seems to be happening. America was the first country to create a national park. That’s what’s needed more area’s to let nature flourish

  7. I believe more like 200 million bison roamed.
    1)Because the state of Kansas documented that in 13 years 31 million bison carcass bones passed thru their states processing plant. They were from Nevada to Buffalo NY. Now add in all the other states…
    2)The main reason I believe in the 200 million is the fertile soil in the Midwest. It had to be Forrest’s at one time. Destroyed by something continuously for 10,000 years to where only grasses could recoup.
    Bison are proof cattle flatulence hurting us is BS:
    1)If you believe for the last 100 years, 90 million cattle’s flatulence is a problem. But for the prior 10,000 years(if you believe) 60 million bison(1/3 bigger) roamed U.S. and crushed the Midwest forests/brush making it grasslands while flatulating didn’t hurt us contradicts that completely. Bison itch almost constantly for 8-10 months depending on where they are (Shedding and flies).
    I think running them off cliffs and brucellosis killed more than anything else. Check out one of our trained bison chasing us on Facebook. Ridge Route Ranch. Love the site!

    1. You make some interesting points, however you seem to have completely ignored the impact of the world’s apex creature in your reasoning. While your 200 million bison were busy munching grasses and flatulating across the plains, ( and the plains are grasslands because there is not enough annual rainfall to support great numbers of trees, not over-grazing), the human population of North America was measured in the tens of thousands. And they were hunter-gatherers. The methane production from 200 million bison wouldn’t even equate to the carbon dioxide produced by any one of the 10 largest cities in the U.S today.
      The point is that the planet could cope with ‘natural’ pollution as changes to these pollution levels were gradual – until mankind started burning fossil fuels at a rate that the planet cannot cope with.

  8. “The “White Man” merely brought the American Indians out of the dark ages. They no longer raid nearby villages killing all the men and enslaving the women & children.”
    That is, without a doubt, the stupidest remark I’ve read or heard today. Congratulations, you ignorant fool. I invite you to come and talk that racist rhetoric face-to-face to some of those living in the dark ages.

    1. Why is it that a few people seen unable to have a civil discourse about an issue without resorting to insults. I suspect that because they can hide behind the internet they’re willing to say things that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

    2. The white man brought the Native Americans out of the dark ages by attempting to completely destroy and eliminate a way of life that was unfamiliar to them over a greedy desire and ambition for the land which the Native Americans had inhabited for thousands of years before us? So we saved them by killing 90% of their population, as well as the vast majority of the multitude of different tribes, forcibly removing them from their native homes and completely uprooting their way of life, sending them to reservations thousands of miles away where they have been forced to stay with very below average qualities of life — TO THIS DAY — and forcing and oppressing them into a second-hand rate of life, out of our every day sight because we are still so uncomfortable as to even be unable to deal with and accept the fact of how horribly we treat people who look different than us? And believe in things different than what we do? That’s how we saved them? If that isn’t the most backwards logic I’ve ever heard… and then you have the absolute gall to state that that factual claim is racist, not even paying any attention to the utter hatred and racism you spread in your statement of equating a way of life that respected the earth which gave them life, the animals which provided them what they needed, and the family and communal ties which held them all together as being savages and having to be saved from the “dark ages.” We did not save them from the dark ages, we sent them into the dark ages. And you are living in the dark age yourself, a darkness that blinds you from seeing anything outside of yourself that challenges your inner ideology which you have to tell yourself to feel comfortable about the hatred and destruction you spread. I’m not even angry at you, I just feel sorry for you, and I hope you’ve changed your stance from your original posting and began to dissipate this darkness in your life which only holds you down. But I sincerely doubt it. To everyone who agrees with this user, have you no shame?

  9. Ignorance is an easy ploy. Lets just face it people this is a big part history swept under the rug.
    If whites are still afraid to teach the truth of what really happened from continent to continent.
    Then why is it so easy to drag down another person of any race or creed?
    Statistics are shit. The facts are the facts.
    Whites traveled to many continents and devistated and plundered many tribes of many races.
    Including their native animals and plants.
    Buffalo& the bald eagles are a mere
    nick on the surface.

    1. All races had their own conquest in their own time,all groups of people warred on other groups including Indian tribes against each other while killing the makes and stealing their women.Is that honorable? Didn’t think so. it is what humens do, not just white people. You’re prejudiced, expand your mind a little to include all offenders which would include all culture from all walks of life, rhat would be a more fair statement in the broader context of humanity.

  10. I guy writes a story about the Bison and their massive population loss. The exact details don’t seem to matter, the fact that the herd was decimated to starve natives into submission is well known. How is de-volved into a name calling, political rant is beyond me, this isn’t FB or twitter!

    1. It’s all connected that’s why. The command to mass murder the bison comes from the government which is politics, the near extinction of bison and many native animals to America was a result of European expansion or from a European directive to a slave/”lesser human”. Simple as that. When you look past the simple article and really ponder who did what and why it was done you lead into this debate. However stop pointing the fingers to the past and let’s work together to save the damn planet or it’s going to be the next generation arguing about how we independent of race or culture destroyed the planet together.

    2. Agreed. People who don’t have an intelligent response to a proposition will simply resort to attacks and insults against the person.

  11. Sometimes in life one can be informed, shocked, and amazed in the different views and thoughts of the apex parasite of this living planet. The only thing that this fellow parasite is sure of we will all go the same way as whatever the number of buffalo into ancestry. I pray that each reap what they sow. I don’t need the satisfaction of seeing you when you come to the realization of your right or wrong. The creator is the ultimate judge we will face. I guess you’re either a positive force in nature or a negative force. Whatever your stance, at worst you can only make the planet inhabitable for yourself and your offspring. At best well… your guess is as good as any.

  12. lots of events are sad throughout history and the entire west coast of the united states would not exist if settlers did not expand westward after the end of the civil war. there would literally even be no website or internet serves to post this blog because all that technology came out of california in the west. to everybody blaming the whites unless you want to live in a tent with no running water and no internet(which you obviously dont because you are in a house with internet posting on a web blog right now) i would say the progress made has been worth it. Your ancestors sacrificed alot to get you to where you are today and i think you all should quit complaining and be a little more grateful.

    Also, we cant change the past. but we can use what the past has given us to become more aware in the future and the future is whatever we choose to make it

    1. Your comment makes no sense, obviously whites are not the only intelligent ones and obviously others could learn of this technology. If I went back in time and sniped Isaac Newton before he published his mathematicas paper YOU would argue calculus and gravitational physics would never be established. Well turns out leibneiz had an exact copy of calculus. If I sniped leibneiz turns out the arabics already were working in derivatives and basic integration hundreds of years before either of these Europeans during the Islamic golden age (which is considered the golden age of science). The point is somebody else would have created or thought of it. There are many lost genius that we never will know of. So many African and Asian out there right now who have an IQ beyond any of our known scientist but the problem is they are lost to poverty, hunger, or violence. A prime example is ramanujan from India. To this day we are still deciphering his notebook and the math that transcends the limits of thinking, just recently it was found that on one of his pages in his third or fourth book is the equation that explained blackholes and their singularity, what Stephan Hawking would discover decades later with the use of advanced technology. Ramanujan discovered the same with a single pencil, one page if paper and dying of hunger and disease because supposedly God told him what to write.

    2. Just to make sure I get your point…..The pointless slaughter of millions of animals and the displacement and annihilation of numerous indigenous people so that we could have running water and watch endless reruns of Seinfeld and be blessed with the thing called California is…good?

  13. It’s called history. His- story,
    Not my story or your story .
    And stories change over time,the only thing that makes sense is the fella who corrected the others math. No one knows the truth because it’s not your story but history (his story) .
    Thanks for the bs session!

    1. I wonder if we the people could get the government to protect the bison. That you can be jailed or fined for hunting a bison outside national parks. And make the bison a federal protected animal no matter where the bison roams to.
      The swallow or chimney sweep is a federal protected bird. You can be fined or jailed for removing or killing the bird. Just like owls. You get caught with a pet or mounted owl that’s 20,000$ fine or jail. Most mounted owls I have seen where in a federal building or museum.i live in southern Eastern states. I would be ashamed to know that I lived in the western Plains and my home was once home to 30 million bison. Kill a animal just so I could build a house there.

  14. Unfortunately, the future is not malleable under pressure from Liberal and Conservatives alike. Nor, is there any pertinent correlation between Co2 emissions current day or in the days of free roaming Bison herds. One thing we can agree on is the strain colonialism has placed upon our ecosystems. Maybe something else we may agree on is that we have far surpassed what could be repairable in terms of adverse environmental effects and also regarding the natural rebound of North American Bison populations. So, in reality most of the comments shown here still actively show mankind’s selfish nature with the monotony of unintelligible comments. Take care and may the bison rest in peace and hope to avoid the bullet of the poachers rifle scope.

  15. Jessica, I see you conveniently left out how natives caused the greatest devastation to the wild buffalo when the horse was introduced. Over hunting had a huge affect on their near extinction, with millions being driven off of cliffs only to be wasted. The natives would go on to kill so many, that there would be pits of rotting carcasses since they couldnt consume them all. But I guess that doesn’t fit into your evil white man narrative, such a shame with reality, huh.

  16. I read as of late 2019 that there are around one million buffalo in the US and Canada combined, included buffalo farms.

  17. Look what early man did to the Mammoth I’m pretty sure they didn’t eat all they killed it’s in our nature . If we were there in the 1800’s we’d probably do the same .

  18. I can’t believe even the true native Americans and conservationists here are calling the American bison a buffalo. All of you get off your high horse and stop trying to out smart each other with google and Wikipedia. Want to help the bison? Your not doing it here complaining about each other’s idiot comments.

  19. Whites traveled to many continents and devastated and plundered many tribes of many races.
    Including their native animals and plants. Buffalo & the bald eagles are a mere
    nick on the surface.
    Not just “whites”. Slavery was and still is widespread in the world; it was found in almost every other ancient civilization such as the Roman Empire and still is in much of the world.
    Although slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world (with the exception of penal labor), human trafficking remains an international problem and an estimated 25-40 million people were enslaved as of 2013, the majority in Asia.
    Slavery in the 21st century continues and generates $150bn in annual profits, with the top ten countries with the highest prevalence according to the Global Slavery Index being North Korea, Eritrea, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Iran. Modern transportation has made human trafficking easier. Although Mauritania criminalized slavery in August 2007,[12] up to an estimated 600,000 men, women and children, 20% of the population of Mauritania, are currently enslaved, many used as bonded labor.[ Islamist quasi-states such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Boko Haram have abducted and enslaved women and children (often to serve as sex slaves). In 2019 there were an estimated 40 million people worldwide subject to some form of slavery, 25% of them children. 61% are used for forced labor, mostly in the private sector. 38% live in forced marriages. Other examples of modern slavery are child soldiers, sex trafficking, sexual slavery.

  20. Wow…I like John Mahoney’s remarks. Here’s the thing. Man starts out (to the “best” of our knowledge) in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, Africa a very long time ago. From that point of origin, mankind (oops let me be politically correct) and womankind and any bogus gender the ‘woke ‘ would like to throw in, spreads across the planet in search of food, water, habitat and shelter that will provide for the survival of the species. All to often man forgets that he/she is an animal himself/herself. Being omnivores meat and fat really go a long way in our diet and always have. When humans migrated from Asia (to become “native” Americans) they found among many other food sources the bison. How very fortunate for humans and not so fortunate for the bison. But such is life, one species moves in and another moves out and so it goes. As time moves forward humankind being very adept at adapting takes over most environments and uses them to their advantage/survival. Most animals have a tough time with that except for rats,cockroaches and micro organisms. So… that said, most of the hooey above is just that, As we can glean from Wikipedia that only 3 of the 6/7 species of bison still exist and due to evolution and the efforts of humankind to save what remains(which is a good thing). That said, I would love to partake in the primitive tradition of hunting (legally) a north american plains bison and eating it.

  21. Actually, no one here has mentioned a major factor in the near extinction of the bison. Once the majority of North American natives were killed by European diseases, which perhaps took numbers from the tens of millions to a million or fewer, bison were able to expand their numbers and range rather rapidly as natives used to keep the population in check. When settlers arrived some 100+ years later bison were easy prey and the population readily collapsed as they were hunted. Same thing with the passenger pigeon, which used to darken the sky as their flocks passed overhead. Populations that grow too large for their habitat are prone to collapse and extinction when preyed upon.

  22. I was able to visit my first Bison “farm” in Indiana. Absolutely beautiful animals. The owners provide an extremely interesting video of the Bison. After the video, one of the owners tells you about his families involvement for many generations with the Bison and what all the parts and pieces where used for I.e. horns, skin etc. After that you get to take a hay ride out to see them in. their environment up close and personal. I would recommend this to anyone if any age. I’m sure I’ll be doing this again.

  23. It was mass murder of a native mammal and culture. All the comments sugarcoating this simple fact shame America. They killed the Bison to starve the native Americans. Thank God both the Bison and the Native Americans still survive today.

  24. Wow, so many comments. I was a bit surprised at the angry responses, this was before the Covid-19. Regardless of the numbers of the Bison, Buffalo, or what ever you want to call them were slaughtered. It was done by people with little or no education that we enjoy today. So you have to stop and realize at the time, albeit a tragic episode of our history no one had airplanes at the time, they were not crossing the country except by train.? Not sure why people get so upset, I really doubt we will see the original numbers return…we would have no where to put them. Like covid virus threatens to make us extinct or a strain not yet developed, I can relate to the concept that the motivation was to kill off as many native Americans as well. Like today, even with the internet miss information and those that would cause chaos in our country, stoked the fires or our basic emotions. Good example if you were raised in the South at one time you were told that Black People were inferior, dangerous, lazy and sub human. Much of the same people told about the Native Americans. If you believe in God or not, we can all agree their is a powerful source of evil in the World and this is how it pits us against each other. The reason I came here as I was thinking were the original Bison much larger per animal than those of today?

  25. Aloha–just curious, you mentioned that the pop at one time was reduced to a low of 325–any guess as to what is the minimum number required to sustain a genetically strong heard for reproduction ? mahalo

    1. I’m curious too, I would imagine there would be some genetic defects from such a small breeding pool, especially given the spread of diseases from cattle to bison. I do know that most bison in the U.S. are actually hybrids with cows, so that is probably how particularly small populations were sustained.

  26. Its real simple, you cannot sell european cattle if you have a animal of equal size free for the taking all over America.

  27. hello freinds. wow so many responses. it is nice. three are so many comments on this page is nice thank you. my friend stuart lives in utah he stuart has a son with rickets who loves the bison so we go out there and go to the plains and look at the bison with his son he always tries to feed them. his son always wants to feed the bison but canot because he (son ) always eats the feed we take with us on the roed as a litle snakc. i always says to him ” hey!Jimmy (son named jimmy) jimmy dont eat the feed we wont hav any left for the bufalo! but jimmy dont listen to me ha! My nephew passed earlier this year he had a bad case of pnamonia he would go with us sometimes. he worked at the post office he liked his work he did good work at his job. im am an seventy thre year old vetran and i hate antifa. hope youre doing well god bless.


  28. Tener a un perro implica una gran responsabilidad. Aunque los consejos para cuidar a tu mascota son sencillos, se debe saber que serán para el resto de su vida, por lo tanto, cuidar a tu perro, o a ese perro que pretendes adoptar, no es tarea fácil.

  29. You don’t show the herds in Alaska. Several herds exist in Alaska. Estimates of up to 3000 animals can be found. Although wood bison can still be found in Canada, they disappeared from Alaska about 100 years ago, likely because of hunters and changing environmental conditions. Plains bison were introduced to Alaska in 1928. The animals in the Delta Bison Herd are all descendents of 23 plains bison from Montana. The herd increased steadily throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s, and in 1950 a hunting season was established to stabilize the size of the Delta herd.

    Emigration and transplants created additional herds at Copper River, Chitina River and near Farewell, and a few dozen permits are issued each year to hunt animals in these herds as well.

  30. Is it 500 000 or 31 000? The wildlife federation has the number today at only 31 000.
    So who has the actual figure, some motel, or the leading authority on wildlife in the USA?
    When I see people in the comments with 60IQ formulas, coming up with figures of 3.8 million bison shot per person not being enough to wipe them out… I wonder about the whole of the site.
    Unless they’re including farmed bison, in which case they would technically be cattle. As with every other bovine that was domesticated and called something else.

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