Well… we got hit early and the assault continues as old man winter takes toll on, and tasks survival of the southern plains. We’ve only got another 20-30 days of having to put up with his polar rant. Food plots will re-emerge and bolster the nutritional regime for southern plains bison by mid march, after which it will turn into a stocking rate problem by not having enough grazers to manage the bounty. For now: we are simply charged with watching body score, feeding when necessary and letting them do [their thing] and make it through, which they will. It’s during this time of year that I comically think of my bison herd’s extended family, fenced-in up north where cinematic perception has them belonging: noses pressed up against the southern perimeter fence wondering how the heck they are supposed to get down here.
Something else happens in January for Southern Plains bison and their stewards. Every year during this season, bison and their anthro-counterparts migrate to Denver Colorado to meet and mix in celebratory and thoughtful function to better themselves and the increasingly diverse mission of bison restoration. This year, the conference curriculum included panel discussions and presentations that ranged from basic, to complex and contentious. I am very proud to be a member of the National Bison Association which braves controversy, but champions collaborative community and shared stewardship. While the latter rolls off the tongue easily, the work begins with productive and respectful behaviors among and between diverse consortiums. My take away from the conference, was that all involved felt they were doing their best on behalf of the buffs as intrepid navigators into the future.
Back in the southern plains, its business as usual, but with a fresh respect for the holisms that define the bison industry as uniquely as the animal we raise.