Southern Plains Bison Pointers June 2014

Just a word before I write about southern plains bison realities that are current, but less about ‘meanwhile-back-at-the-ranch’ stuff. That word is worms!  I will follow that by saying worms, worms, worms, worms, worms!  They are the enemy and the #1 production and reproduction challenge to bison of the southern plains. In much of the southern plains we are enjoying plenty of moisture, guess what! – worms will come with that moisture and with specificity to a very real enemy, the liver fluke. This is a nasty little cuss that you should research for yourself and learn to hate with vengeance properly. In Texas and the southern plains, many regions are deemed; not flukey. This accredited assumption makes the liver damage in non-flukey regions in our bison, caused by flukes – perplexing. Or not, and we learn the easy way – or the hard way, to manage for breaking the life-cycle of this nasty little nemesis.  June and July are the best months of the year to break the fluke life-cycle and there are solutions available that do not involve working the herd through a chute, which is also not cool during the southern summer heat. Personally; whether my region is flukey or not, I will de-worm with a known affective flukeacide for good measure. I guess I’m just not into Russian roulette at my bison-herds expense.

On the political front there are some exciting things happening in the bison world on a national level. One is the NABR [North American Bison Registry] Conservation-Herd Registry program. I think this is a positive and truthful validation of the bison rancher and their place in the amazing story of bison restoration. While there are many that fear the word conservation because it conjures up monsters and flying-monkeys that may be; ‘there to help us’ with [our] bison, quite the opposite is the essence and spirit of this herd-registry program. It’s a simple records and storage facilitation proving the good-work and commitment to the integrity of the species that is commonplace among modern bison ranchers.  Conservation, used in language, is grammatically correct and accredited by definition for use with focus. Our focus is bison and their continued rebound onto the American Landscape for future generations. I am excited about the roll-out and the herd-registry helping to provide validation to all those dedicated buffalo-people that feel they are part of something special. Personally; so long as it remains simple – I’m in!

Another very exciting thing is the Bison Legacy Act, S. 2464, introduced on June 11th, 2014 and sponsored by Senators Johnson (D-SD) and Hoeven (R-ND).Please take a moment and read the bill at: www.votebison.org . It speaks of shared-stewardship, sweeping cultural significance, historic symbolism, ecological integrity, tribal significance, economic impact and much more. The steering committee has done a very conscientious job of including all aspects of the human contribution to the bison story, and in my opinion, it’s very thoughtful with regard to cultural and bison-community sensitivities.  Again; some fear it in the same way that they fear the monsters and flying-monkeys with regard to Bald Eagle parallels becoming automatic, should bison be named the National Mammal of the United States. Such fears subside when they [actually] read the bill! The wording, in my opinion, gives credit and merit by way of acknowledgement to all that contribute, thereby establishing them in perpetuity as part of the American bison story. Both Frasier Bison LLC and the Buffalo Drum News are proudly listed as coalition members of this national no-brainer.

Till next time, watch’em, tend’em and if you do your part, the bison will do theirs…