This Bison bull still has his thick winter coat but it won’t be long before he will shed it and his haunches will appear much sleeker.
It tickles me to be able to photograph wild Bison. Bison were hunted heavily in the 19th and 20th centuries and by 1884 they were in danger of becoming extinct after the population plummeted to a few hundred head.
In 1899 James “Scotty” Phillip purchased five head (including one female) in an effort to preserve these majestic animals from extinction. At the time of Phillip’s death in 1911 the herd number was estimated at between 1000 to 2000 animals.
Around the same time period two Montana ranchers, Michel Pablo and Charles Allard, spent 20 years finding and raising purebred Bison. That herd numbered 300 when Allard died in 1896. ¹
Had it not been for men and early conservationist like Pablo, Allard and Phillip and their efforts in preventing Bison from becoming extinct we might not see them freely roaming in State and National Parks throughout the western United States.