Last week while looking for birds on Antelope Island I was fortunate to watch and photograph two young Bison fighting by butting heads. This is play fighting because the breeding season isn’t until later in the year so the bulls are basically practicing. This “fight” didn’t get very aggressive, for the most part they bumped heads and pushed each other around.
The Bison were too close to shoot with my Nikon D810 with my long lens even with the teleconverter taken off so I used one of my trusty Nikon D200’s with the Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens attached. On Antelope Island where the animals are used to human traffic even a shorter lens can have enough reach.
These two young bulls didn’t spar for very long and certainly didn’t cause each other harm but it was fun to photograph them.
A note about safety: I was inside a vehicle when I photographed these young bulls fighting and would not have stepped outside to get these shots. They might look tame when they are grazing but these are wild, unpredictable animals and safety should be of utmost concern around them. Too many times I have seen tourists get far too close to bison on the island and even walking among them like they were cattle but they aren’t and could cause serious harm.
A big, dark bull walked past while I photographed the other two bison fighting and he was bigger and darker than the other two. His coat was so dark it looked black and I couldn’t resist taking a few frames of him.
Soon the bison will start to shed and they will look tattered for a bit until their sleeker summer coats come in and also before long the bison will be calving on the island, I can’t wait!
Life is good.