As I mentioned in my last two posts, I was up at the Niobrara Valley Preserve last week, helping with a bison roundup. As I mentioned in my last post, I helped with the roundup, but I also took photos – both of people and bison (and leaves, and crickets, and…). I shared one of the bison photos last week. Here are a few more shots of these beautiful animals.
The sky was overcast all day, but now and then the sky brightened enough to make “portrait” photography work. As long as I kept still while standing outside the pens, the bison didn’t seem overly bothered by my presence.
Getting up close to these animals is a great reminder of their athletic abilities. For the most part, the animals are relatively calm as they move through the pens and alleyways, but now and then there is a flurry of activity. A bison will spin on a dime and head in the other direction much faster than you’d expect. One animal will shove another out of its path, showing off the incredible strength in its neck and upper body. It’s never a good idea to underestimate these animals.
Design of bison corrals is continually improving. Construction of a new corral for our east herd (these photos are from the west herd) is just wrapping up. It incorporates the most up-to-date design components available, including lessons learned from other bison herds around the country and from experts like Temple Grandin. Each improvement is aimed at decreasing stress on the animals and increasing the speed and efficiency of the whole operation. I’m excited to see the new corral in operation when we test it out early next year.