Saving Texas Bison Herds

When you think about an animal that just belongs in Texas and across the west it is the American Bison. The bison is an icon and sadly it was nearly extinct. The bison was caught, hunted and trapped for years leading to the species becoming endangered. The bison was hunted for the meat and the hide which was used by many to feed their family and the hides were used for clothing and covers in many circumstances. Without the bison hunt being regulated as most hunting is now it got out of hand and became a problem until it was a serious problem. Although it seemed dire, the lives of the bison were saved and there is a great population roaming free in the state.

What Is A Bison? You may hear people talk about buffalo or American buffalo when they are talking about this majestic creature. Although the term is used when describing these animals, the proper term is actually bison. The African Buffalo is what most people are talking about but they are a different species and are not the same as the American bison. The bison is more closely related to cattle but resemble the big broad look of the African buffalo. They can be extremely large with the males reaching up to 11 feet in length and can weigh as much as two thousand pounds!

How Were They Saved In Texas? If you are talking about the American Bison in Texas you can’t do it without bringing up the name of the legendary rancher Charles Goodnight. He was the main reason that the bison were saved because he started the herd on his huge Texas ranch called the JA Ranch. His wife played a huge role in helping to get the other ranchers in the area to help and get on board with saving them. She along with her husband wanted to ensure that these amazing creatures were there to enjoy by other generations. In 1887 he was able to round up the last remaining herd and put them on his property. During his time helping to save the bison he would also donate and sell them to others that were interested in conserving the species as well. This part of his efforts allowed other herds to get started as well. After the death of Goodnight the herd was supposed to get sold and cared for the by Texas Wildlife Division. The herd was thought to be the last pure species left and the interest level increased. The herd was a miracle and is still existent in the great state of Texas!