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Spring Returns with Snow

At the end of February, fences are checked and we begin to lookout for the buffalo that are across the Cheyenne River on their winter grazing grounds of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. When there are sightings of them, we will start to bring them home.

Intuitively, the bison know it's time to return to the ranch and luckily this year, it went well.

Bison on the move

Other than a two week cold snap with a skiff of ice and snow, we hadn't had much of a winter. But... it was on its way. 

We moved the herd through a series of gates before they got to their final destination. 

They love to move and once they arrived to the designated pasture - they put their heads down and started grazing. 

Six hours later, snow was falling. We would receive and happily welcome two snow storms before the first day of spring.

Unpredictable weather patterns are common on the Great Plains - which the buffalo are well adapted for. 

Winter photos can be difficult to capture, as often the buffalo are far away and getting stuck in severe weather in the middle of nowhere without cell service is not my idea of a good time. With the bison now closer to home, I set out and captured some images that I hope you enjoy. 

Bull Bison Head Shot in snow

A puff of air releases as the big bull gives a soft grunt.

On the move to a treat of hay.

Hay - I'm a buffalo - I can take the snow - no worries.
 

Catching snowflakes. 

Assessing the situation... Or, "Can you hear me now? Yes, I can... but the roaming charges are killing me." ;)

Boys will be boys.

Dashing through the snow...

A winter calf (very uncommon) runs to catch up to its mother after seeing me.

This beautiful young buffalo paused for a photo shoot. 

 Bring it on.

Pretty.

Hold still now so I can take your picture....

A family group on the move. 

Bison Cow Calf Silhouette

Spring is on the horizon, with the snow mostly melted into the earth for the promise of green grass to come. Happy Spring!

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22 comments

  • I love how intimate your images are – your love shows up in every one of them!

    Jane Murphy
  • Beautiful!

    Mark Holloway
  • I have dreamed of seeing these animals since a kid and your photos keep that dream alive for me
    I’ll get there sometime. Thank You

    chris hearn
  • thanks for sharing this quality work-up with us, Jill. excellent photos, beautiful land, magnificent critters all in one.

    Blake O'Quinn
  • I just finished reading Wild Idea while I was in, oddly, Panamà.
    Your touching photos transport me to South Dakota.
    Beautiful. Thank you!

    janice barry
  • These are terrific photos! I’m almost finished reading Dan’s book, Buffalo for the Broken Heart – and have such a better appreciation of what it takes to raise buffalo because of his book. I am in awe of the work all of you do to keep this going – not to mention how delicious the meat is. :)

    Karen Brick
  • Beautiful photos Jill! Thank you for sharing them!!

    Chris and Kim
  • Hay Mike. You are so right – it’s grass hay. We put up grass hay in good grass years. :)

    Jill
  • Hay?/. I thought is was grass, sunshine, and watwe

    Mike wiltgen
  • Wonderful photos. Thanks. They so set a mood that lasts the whole day!

    Vern in oregon
  • Buffalo are my favorite South Dakota animal followed closely by pronghorns. Thanks for ALL the photos.

    Paul Anderson
  • “Roaming charges” lol I will smile all day! Love all of these, but today Family Group especially touched my heart. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Thank you all for finding a way to honor the Buffalo and the land we all belong to.

    Wiskie Stout
  • Such a good story felt
    Through each picture! Thanks!!!

    Josie merck
  • Inspiring photographs and creative captions.
    Thank you, thank you.

    Kathy Antonen
  • The photos made me feel I was right there with the herd. I even got a little chill from the cold.

    Janet Wainwright

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