Home, Home on the Range
Buffalo [AKA, bison] roaming the range in old western films is shear movie magic. I loved the pivotal movie moment when cowboys would ride over a mountain top and see herds of cattle or bison below with the soundtrack playing in the background…Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam….
I found those films fascinating in my childhood. Beloved cowboys Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hopalong Cassidy named their horses, carried a guitar strapped to their saddle, made grand entrances into a saloon, and rode down trails amidst rolling sage brush.
Flash forward to the Ozarks today. Thanks to brilliant conservation, you can ride or drive to a mountain top in Missouri and Arkansas and see a herd of bison below in a nature preserve like Dogwood Canyon or spot them grazing along a ridge, like Buffalo Ridge Golf Course.
Famous Sculptor Designs Most Famous Buffalo
Renowned sculptor James Earl Fraser, artist of the famous End of the Trail bronze, also designed the buffalo on the collectible Buffalo Nickle (minted between 1913 and 1938). The Fraser buffalo on the nickle is the most famous buffalo of all.
Of course, there are the beloved Buffalo wings, Buffalo Bills, and Buffalo, NY.
Bison roaming Ozark mountains and nature preserves remind us to conserve nature and to celebrate our pathfinders, cowboys and Native Americans who once slept beneath the stars.
Little known facts about the American bison
- American bison is the formal name for the American buffalo.
- The bison is the national mammal of the U.S.
- In addition to being a major food mainstay. the American Indians found a use for nearly every part of the bison: buffalo robes, tools, utensils, and implements for hunting and war; hides for canoes and various styles of portable huts and teepees.
- American bison are gregarious. It was not uncommon for herds to grow to 1,000 bison and for herds to migrate together and form a herd of two- to three-thousand.
- Known as herbivores, they snack on grass every two hours, moving between snacks to greener grass, throwing in a nap along the way.
- The American bison have distant relatives in Europe.
- Bison share international lineage with the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo.
- The average bison weighs over a 1,000 pounds.
- They are protective of their space. Stay out of it, or you may find a 1,000 pound buffalo charging at you.
- The average lifespan of the American bison is between 15 and 25 years.