One question that we often receive is: “What is the difference between buffalo and bison?" Quite simply, both names refer to the same animal. Understandably, this has caused some confusion, but both terms are used interchangeably, and both are accepted.
For some background, the name buffalo is thought to have originated from European explorers who confused the animal they found in the New World with animals they were more familiar with - African or Asian Buffalo. As with the misnaming of Native Americans (Indians), the name stuck. Our National Mammal was only given the name bison after European scientists studied the skeletons years later. Today, the word buffalo is still often used for the American Bison. For example; Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, Buffalo Bill, the Buffalo Nickel, Buffalo Bills and Buffalo, South Dakota… etc.
There are two sub-species of American Bison (Bison bison). The first is the Plains Bison - originally found in huge numbers on the Great Plains. The second is the Wood Bison, which lived in smaller herds on the woody edges of the Great Plains and are now mostly found in the forests of Central Canada.
At Wild Idea Buffalo Company, we raise 100% Grass-Fed Buffalo (Bison bison) that roam much like their ancestors did on the Great Plains of South Dakota and long before the names got muddled.
Learn more about how we raise our buffalo (or "bison" if you prefer 😉) here.