Photo of the Week – January 4, 2019

I’ve taken a lot of bison photos over the years. My frequent trips to the Niobrara Valley Preserve have given me extraordinary access to bison in an expansive and gorgeous landscape – something I’m very grateful for. I’ve had one big gap in my bison coverage, though, which is that I have almost no photos of bison in snow. Until now.

While Kim and I were on our holiday break adventure at the Niobrara Valley Preserve in late December, I finally got the chance to hang out with some bison in the snow. As the multi-day snow storm was winding down, I ventured out with the pickup one morning and came upon a small group of bison. The weather was frigid and gusty, but the overcast skies were starting to break up a little and the snow fall had lightened up considerably.

When I first approached them, the bison trotted off over the hill, but not like they really meant it. I let them settle back down and then edged closer with the truck until we reached a tacit agreement that I’d keep a certain distance if they’d resume their grazing. We kept that up for about an hour before I finally backed slowly away and left them quietly munching away in the hills. It was a serene and gratifying experience. I hope you enjoy this selection of photos from that morning.

This entry was posted in Prairie Animals by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

13 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – January 4, 2019

  1. And I’m used to seeing them all raggedy with part of that winter coat gone, but here they still have the whole coat and what beauty! Thanks!

  2. Love the close-up individual facial expressions. Each bison seems to be responding to your presence in a different way, and letting you know what it is.

  3. Chris, you have done it again. The wisp of frosty breath, the stare down gaze and the uniqueness of each is captured as if we were there witnessing these massive creatures.
    What an experience to see them in the snow covered prairie landscape!
    Thank you so much 😊

  4. Chris, thanks so much for this, and every post! We are not getting the snow in Missouri the way you do or the way we used to, so it’s a treat to see these giants in the cold. Gratefully

  5. Beautiful photos but the middle group photo is smashing! the way the grass hummocks and the bison humps mimic one another is texture and color is brilliant!


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