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.

29 thoughts on “Autumn Bison”

  1. Once, while walking in Elk Island National Park near Edmonton, we came upon a large bull standing in our path, with limited avenues for escape. He stood there almost daring us to try it. We googled what to do and it suggested singing, so I burst out in full voice into a chorus of Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight? He looked up, blinked, turned his head and “binked” off like a very large bunny and we all burst out laughing. These guys can really motor when they want to. Seems my voice may not be as good as I thought. Hope you are having a good week, Lynette. Allan

    1. Singing? Wow! I would have been backing up and trying to put trees between me and him! That’s amazing – interesting voice you have there Allan! 😉 You have a good week too. 🙂

  2. I am sure I would not want to disturb these Bison in anyway and cause them to become angry. I thought you did a great job with your photos.

    1. I’m not sure but since they’re outside all the time they’re going to be more attuned to small temperature changes. Maybe colder temperatures trigger bigger appetites? Just guessing. 🙂

  3. The wildlife you see on a regular basis is amazing. We see deer here on occasion, but that’s the extent of it.
    When I was a kid, my family took a vacation to South Dakota where we went on a sort of “safari” jeep ride into a herd of buffalo. My mom was a wreck worrying they might charge, and as a result, had me scared. My dad and brother were in their glory.
    So, you had to back up for a bit before you got through that herd?
    Can’t believe you were on the move, because those are good captures.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I really didn’t think these photos would be any good because we were really chugging along.
      Yup. Backing up was definitely the better part of valour. 🙂 These animals are huge! I honestly would never drive near a herd of them out on the plains – here I have seen the results of conflict between a bison and a vehicle and neither wins.

    1. I haven’t been to Australia but I have imagined that there would be lots of animals roaming around in the less populated areas. 🙂 Here in NWT, lots of animal species do roam – there are fewer people and hunting is very regulated. Thanks for your visit. 🙂

  4. One should never cross an angry bull! Or bison!

    I truly hope it’s not a long winter ahead. We had a couple of particularly cold ones back around 14, 15 or so and I’m not looking forward to more.

    Stay warm up there! xoxox

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