Autumn Bison

The bison have been massing and eating as much as they can. Not that this is unusual; that’s more or less what bison do, but there seems to be an urgency about them that I didn’t note last year.

An elder told me that they are getting ready for a particularly long winter, and that’s why they seem so much more desperate this year.

I took these images from a moving vehicle and so the quality isn’t great, but we didn’t want to stop in the middle of a herd like that. Bison have been known to charge a car or truck, and despite their size, they can move quickly. Many of them (these are wood bison) are 1000 kg (about 2200 pounds), so I really wouldn’t want one headed my way.

Right now, some of them will just stand in the road to take a break from eating, so vehicles will have to stop and wait for them to amble away. On a recent trip, we waited a number of times at a safe distance, one that would allow us a chance to evade a charge. One of the bulls we saw, a massive animal, kept putting his head down and staring at us. We reversed slowly. Sometimes, backing up is the better part of valour, including in our dealings with other humans. 🙂

We eventually got to our destination, but it took longer than usual!

Greetings from the wood bison of Northwest Territories.