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November 30, 2017

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Home For The Holidays

A few weeks ago, we moved the buffalo into the pasture that boarders the Cheyenne River in preparation for moving them onto their winter pasture on the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Each time we do this, I am reminded of the first epic event that took place 14 years ago. 

In order to allow our buffalo to cross the Cheyenne River to graze on the national grasslands (the buffalo’s former home for thousands of years), we first had to petition the Forest Service to include the American Bison as an allowed grazing species. Until then, they were not on the list.

We then had a grand celebration in honor of the buffalo returning to the home they hadn't been on for over 150 years. Friends, customers and Native American neighbors dressed in regalia showed up for the event. There were horses with riders, drums and songs, and a whole lot of emotion. In short, it was awesome!

Over time, the buffalo have intuitively come to know when it's time to cross the river and moving them has become relatively easy. And over time, the crowd has thinned.

This year our crew consisted of daughter Jilian and husband Colton with new baby Barret (his first buffalo moving experience) in the lead truck, loaded with an alfalfa/mineral cake to encourage the bison to follow. In charge of the backend of the herd in a side-by-side ATV, was Dan and now savvy buffalo mover, 3-year-old grandson Lincoln.

The buffalo were about a mile from the river as the crow flies, with pockets of them tucked into the higher hillside. We were loosing light and I was hoping to capture a short video when we got to the river.

Jilian and Colton pounded the pick-up in a drum like fashion and called “come buffers, come buffers” as they released the alfalfa cake, and Dan and Lincoln zigzagged the hillside picking up the stragglers.

A group of cake lovers followed the truck closely, with the mass of the herd being brought up by Dan and Lincoln.

I tried to stay ahead, wanting to secure a position by the river. Before my last gate, a beautiful buck rose up from the grass that kept him hidden and with one graceful leap jumped the fence. Wow! Exhilarated, I headed for the river and hoped I wouldn’t get stuck. The clouds were starting to blush as the light continued to slip, but it was beautiful. And even without all the fanfare it was awesome!

Here’s a short video that shows a bit more of the process. Although it’s not so good, I hope you enjoy it. Cheers! jill

 


Comments

FW Dustin

December 02, 2017

These animals should be honored, Thank you for how you care for them.. Neache Iroquois Nation

Steve Glenn

December 02, 2017

Love your stories and the videos are absolutely fantastic! Keep them coming…… Almost ready to reorder for the winter and holidays……..have to decide (getting harder considering all the great choices) what to get to satisfy my hungry family and friends through the next few cold months. Stay well and healthy and may the wind always be at your back.! Here’s to a GREAT CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR!

pat

December 02, 2017

As usual, a great piece and the video is full of wonder aka wonderful. Thank you, once again, Dan,

pat

Holly Hopper

December 02, 2017

Beautiful ‼️Thanks for sharing with us ❤️‼️

Jim Harwood

December 02, 2017

Don’t sell yourself short, Jill. That’s a great video. It captures the feeling and gives me the vicarious pleasure of herding.
Why do they spend winter on Buffalo Gap?

Rebecca Hanson

December 02, 2017

I love hearing these stories. It always renews my hope that we are not lost as a species. There’s still a chance we can return to what was intended.

Harmony with land and air and beast.

Thank you for petitioning 14 years ago.

Being part of your family must feel awesome

Chris Jensen

December 02, 2017

A well-told story with great pictures and the video. Dan started a wild idea, and now you have a huge herd of buffalos.

Lois Bendewald

December 02, 2017

Loved it! Better than the CSP Roundup!

Fee Jacobsen

December 02, 2017

A strong tug at the heartstrings. The bison look happy and content!! Thank you, Jill. The images are priceless, especially the one of Dan and Lincoln. Grateful to all of you for what you do for the environment and for all of us.

Randy Okamura

December 02, 2017

Wow! So beautiful! Centuries of history in one short clip. Thanks for sharing that wonderful visual.

Doug Donaldson

December 02, 2017

That’s a great little video, Jill! It is wonderful to watch the “buffers” cross the river and make their way up the river bluffs. A gorgeous prairie scene. Thanks.

Constance

December 02, 2017

Thanks so much for the video which left me in tears as so many of your buffalo stories do.

carolyn siscoe

December 02, 2017

Very interesting, those buffalo can really run especially up a hill. Nice to see the two young buffalo herders to be in training. Thanks

Julie

December 02, 2017

Absolutely love seeing buffalo roaming on the plains again!
Thanks for what your doing!!!!

Susan

December 02, 2017

That made my day! Thanks.

Brenda

December 02, 2017

Awesome and beautiful! The video was wonderful!

lisa burgess

December 02, 2017

That was an awesome video and thank you so much for sharing! I actually saw a buffalo in a valley not to far away from us one night when my husband and I were going out to dinner. I just love looking at them. Thanks again!

Alan Anderson

December 02, 2017

Thanks for sharing Jill! I was fortunate to experience this once a while back. The memory is imbedded in my my mind … hopefully forever. I loved the way they reacted once they realized that it was time to “go home”. Getting them back, I understand, is a different story ?

Darcy Eatherly

December 02, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing that video. What beautiful creatures they are and what a sight to see them moving like that!

Victor Birdsong

December 02, 2017

Will Harris , fifth generation White Oak Pastures rancher, once told me that most alfalfa he feeds during the dry season in Southern Georgia is GMO ,because the alternative is organic. As a purist , I would like to know the origin of the alfalfa in the cakes. Not wanting to post ,but request the knowledge.

Anne Clare

December 02, 2017

That was so BEAUTIFUL!!! It made me cry. . .

Bob Watland

December 02, 2017

Loved the story and video. Keep up the good work and may God bless you and yours.

Bruce Green

December 02, 2017

Awesome as always. Thanks.?

Liz Aicher

December 02, 2017

This is a wonderful video, Jill! I think it’s just great and will be sure to play it again. And again.
Hugs to all – I love you guys!

Cheves Leland

December 02, 2017

Thank you. Wonderful to see the Buffalo on the range as they were meant to be. So glad you all are there.

Linda Clark

December 02, 2017

What a lift to the spirits your video is, Jill. No apologies necessary—it is beautiful. As is your family. How lucky your two grandsons are to be raised amid all this beauty and joy and wonder. I think a lot of the ills of our poor suffering nation would be cured if more children were raised like this.

Gigi

December 02, 2017

For those of us that live in cities we look at your lives out there and say, “ Wow, it can still exist. The wildness, the open space, the movement and natural cycle of our earth and all its creatures including people!”
This creates a smile on us all…thanks for sharing.

Trudy

December 02, 2017

Such amazing and beautiful creatures. Love to see them roaming. Thank you for sharing! And thank you for all you do, and your approach to it all. So honoring and respectful.

Pat O'Brien

December 04, 2017

Spectacular and beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

John F. Bowe

December 04, 2017

Hi Folks,
Dan, I have read your books but nothing matches the feelings that ‘well up’ when watching Jills’ video.
Thank you.
John

Cindy

December 04, 2017

What an awesome video! I thought it was absolutely beautiful. Don’t ever sell yourself short. Your video is a window we rarely get to look through.
Thanks!

Don

December 04, 2017

What a absolutely beautiful sight. Hope to be able to catch a glimpse and a few pics while I’m up there at Christmas. Would love to know where I might be able to catch up and photo some of the herd while up from Arkansas. Thanks for the great stories and videos. Love them.

Lisa Musgrave

December 04, 2017

Thank you for posting your wonderful story and video. I love seeing the buffs crossing the river and running up the hillside. I love seeing buffs anywhere! I’m lucky to have a herd just a couple hours from me, even though I’m in the Chicago area. I get my bison fix every year :)

Don Meyer

December 04, 2017

This was a delight to watch, and the next best thing to being there with you all as you led the buffalo across the river. It must have been scary the first time that you did this, not knowing if they would come back to you or not. What a wonderful adventure you have all had raising these buffalo and keeping the prairie and the buffalo alive and well. Thanks for all you do, and I will keep ordering buffalo from you as I have been eating your buffalo exclusively for probably 8 years by now. It is always a joy to hear from you, and especially to see the pictures and the video of you guys and the buffalo too.

I put all of you in God’s loving hands.
May the blessings be.
Love, Don

Vernon Cross

December 05, 2017

Thank you for pursuing your interest in filming and photography. It leaves me teary-eyed to see the timelessness of what your passion inspires you to record.

Brad Martin

December 05, 2017

You’ve done a great job DH.It beats hunting peasant and rabbit around Findlay.God bless

Fran

December 05, 2017

The children look so beautiful, happy and healthy. I wish I had their fantastic experience. The video is marvelous. Thanks

jill / Wild Idea Buffalo Co.

December 05, 2017

Victor Birdsong: Apologies for my delay. There are all kinds of range cake. We use alfalfa and kelp range cake. Both are organic. We do not feed either on a regular basis. We only use as a tool in moving the buffalo. The American Grass-fed and Organic standards allow for alfalfa/kelp/mineral cake and amount fed must be less than .5% of their body weight. If a buffalo’s weight was 1,000 pounds that would be 5 lbs. per each buffalo per day. For us it is more like 5 pounds per year.

Keith S.

December 07, 2017

I once saw hundreds of thousands of wildebeest entering the Masai Mara from Tanzania. As I looked at the black dots moving across miles of grassy plains, the hair spontaneously stood on my neck and I thought “My God, this is what America used to look like” and tears of thrill, sadness and joy welled I wanted to say it aloud for my wife to hear but my voice wouldn’t work and I was embarrassed that I was near losing my composure over something I couldn’t explain. Thanks for bringing even a little of that back.

Joan Bauer

December 11, 2017

THANKS YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR THE BUFFALO AND FOR US – MAKES ME FEEL PROUD TO BE, IN MY OWN SMALL WAY, A PART OF IT.

Terri

December 17, 2017

Thanks for sharing the experience. I know that spot on the river. I think Colton came to my aide with a tractor! Miss those adventures.

Kurt M. Whitlow

December 26, 2017

It was Amazing to watch, just short of being there in person. I would Love to experience or participate in something like this.

Rob Thompson

December 27, 2017

what a treat to see the herd on the move over the land of their forebearers. You folks are saints to the natural world.

Sandy Vitt

January 02, 2018

What a wonderful story! and the video is great! I can just feel the earth move from the pounding of their hooves. Wish I could be there to celebrate their homecoming. Keep up the good work and know that there are many that can only experience great things like this through your dedication.

Deborah

January 07, 2018

Absolutely beautiful. Being here in the furthermost eastern state, I am so drawn to the west and will hopefully one day travel to places where I can photograph joys like this and the people who work so hard to make things like this happen!! Thank you for sharing.

Joan Bauer

January 11, 2018

ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW! AND GOD BLESS – THANKS FOR THIS AND ALL YOU DO FOR THE BUFFALO, THE PLANET AND FOR US.

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