Ramping up for Red-Dots
While it’s true that bison are a wildlife species native to the southern plains, it’s also true that they are roaming the southern plains of the 21st Century. 300 years ago, they would have been grazing highly mineralized native forage and benefiting from a diverse plant community. Today’s average habitat tends to be relatively monoculture, laden with invasive exotic plants and captive. Therefore; we manage. We manage mineral supplementation for reproductive function, juvenile development and immune system response. We manage parasites and forage, and we manage how and when we interact with the herd safely to mitigate costly losses.
Ramping-up for red-dots is all about managing toward a zero interaction with the herd in late pregnancy and during calving. Maybe I should call it “ramping down”. It’s also all about causing the correct herd health for the final stage of reproduction, which impacts the next cycle, and (!) the ole bottom line. Personally, I like managing bison like bison. They have advantages over available invasive exotics of the bovidae family, but at the end of the day they are animals with physical needs for health, and behavioral needs provided for by the due diligence of stewards.