Bison bull grazing on winter grasses

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Utah/Bison bull grazing on winter grasses

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.

Bison bull grazing in winter grasses Bison bull grazing in winter grasses –  Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 640, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

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.


¹ Wikipedia


  1. Bob Zeller February 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    A great photo of another animal that is hard (for me) to get the right exposure. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson February 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Bob, I stuggle too with getting the exposure right on Bison, especially in the pale, winter grasses. Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. ingrid February 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Can you imagine if we’d lost this incredible combination of genes? I still wish we could see a Passenger Pigeon or Carolina Parakeet.

    • Mia McPherson February 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Ingrid, I can’t imagine what it would be like without Bison roaming the world. I’m very grateful for those early conservationists. I also wish we could see Passenger Pigeons, Carolina Parakeets, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and so many more that have become extinct. I hope we don’t kill off all the Wolves either, they are majestic.

  3. Kathiesbirds February 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I like how its dark wool contrasts with the soft feathery grasses.

    • Mia McPherson February 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

      Kathie, I like that too, lace versus wool, delicate versus strong and power versus resiliency. Nature is awesome!

  4. Susan February 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Wonderful photo! The Bison is such an amazing creature

    • Mia McPherson February 21, 2012 at 6:28 am

      Thanks Susan, I think they are amazing too.

  5. Tammy Karr February 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Beautiful photo! Bison are such amazing creatures.

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