Bison on the Ridge: A bison stands on a ridge in the National Bison Range silhouetted against a higher mountain in the distance. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Grasslands and Rolling Hills: A bison grazes while another rests in the grasses at the bison range in Montana. The scenic National Bison Range consists of rolling hills and grasslands at lower elevations and firs and pines in the higher elevations. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
North America was once home to millions of bison but the numbers dwindled to only a few hundred by the 1890s and the animals were on the verge of extinction.
The National Bison Range was established in 1908. One of the oldest wildlife refuges in the country, the bison range was created to help preserve the bison in a natural setting. The refuge is almost 19,000 acres in size and is located in Moiese, Mont., about an hour north of Missoula.
The initial bison herd at the National Bison Range was 40 bison. This herd is maintained at 350-500 head today. The range also is home to elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and other wild animals. The Range also is home to extensive bison research.
You may ask “Bison or Buffalo?” True buffalo are native to Africa and Asia. The animals seen in North America are bison but also are referred to as American Buffalo.
The National Bison Range is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Mid-May through mid-October is the best time to visit the range. Visits begin at the visitor center where there are informative displays and staff to answer questions.There are two roads for viewing wildlife including a 19 mile loop road that leads visitors throughout the range.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Bison Herd: A herd of bison grazes and rests on open grasslands in the National Bison Range. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Wallows: Wallows are depressions in the ground where bison roll around or wallow, to get rid of insects. Bison also display dominance over lower ranked animals by running them out of the wallows. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Chillin’: A bison chills on a grassy hillside in the National Bison Range in Moiese, Mont. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com