Dan's Writings

I've Been Feeling Mortal

In the past two years, I have spent more than my fair share of time at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The clinic is a fine hospital with hundreds of fine, young doctors and thankfully I’m all right, it’s just that hospitals in general make me feel sadly mortal.
Dan's Writings

The Case for Eating Buffalo Meat

The Great Plains are enormous – about 32 million acres – but they are not limitless. In fact, the vast majority of the land that was once a healthy, bio-diverse buffalo range is now taken up by industrial agriculture – crop production, feedlots, and cattle grazing.
Dan's Writings

Healthy Prairie Pasture

A healthy pasture on the Northern mixed-grass prairie is not just a homogeneous expanse of grass. In our country, a healthy pasture is not smooth, flat or small.
Dan's Writings

What Goes Around, Comes Around

When my hunting dogs are working, I feed them raw dog food from Wild Idea Buffalo Company. In the summertime, when they are off duty, I buy fifty-pound bags of prepared dog food from a farm supply store that carries at least twenty different brands. In the last couple years, I’ve noticed that more and more of those brands claim to contain buffalo meat. The advertising on the bags, depicting the American buffalo, creates the impression that your dog will be healthier and more wolf-like if you buy him a bag of this “natural” K9 protein.
Dan's Writings

Dreaming Like A Buffalo

I watched my paint horse, Winchester, stretch his nose out and sniff the nose of a young bull buffalo. They sniffed deeply and then, in unison, turned to look across the Cheyenne River and into infinity. It was hard to tell what was in their minds but I want to think that their daydreams are like mine: an enormous blue sky and rolling grasslands to a distant horizon. There is a steady breeze bringing the scent of possibilities. There are no restraints, no boundaries, and no limits. History merges with the present and the past.
Dan's Writings

A New Kind of Christmas

I am not a Christmas kind of guy. I suspect that there is a touch of the Grinch in my DNA because all the Christmas carols and the commercial frenzy has driven me crazy enough to sit out a few Christmases entirely.
Dan's Writings

A Prairie Thanksgiving

I am not a golfer. I’ve never owned a set of clubs, never belonged to a country club, never paid a greens fee, or waited in line to tee off. In November, I hope for frosty mornings and a smart northwest wind. I want sand hill cranes and Canada geese riding that wind high above my head. I want cold finger tips and long stretches of prairie surrounding me to the horizons. I need a horse and a pair of English setters casting back and forth a hundred yards ahead.
Dan's Writings

Of Meadowlarks & Men

The end of September is when the meadowlarks begin to gather in flocks of ten, twenty, or more. They are feeling the nights cool and I suppose they are dreaming of warm afternoons in the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma. I see lots of meadowlarks and when they rise up from the grass ahead of an ATV, or a horse, it barely registers. They are such a part of the grassland of our ranch that I have to slow down and make myself listen for their song. In spring that song seems to spiral upward from every habitat edge between the species of native grasses. In autumn there is a resurgence of the singing, as the photoperiod shrinks to the length of the spring equinox.
Dan's Writings


Most of us can agree that our world is in crisis. It seems impossible that politicians can ignore, in addition to many other problems: a warming climate, shifts in weather patterns, a huge decline in species diversity in just our lifetimes, the loss of carbon in our soil, soaring cancer rates, an obesity epidemic, and rampant diabetes. I became aware of this pending crisis in 1970, the year that I graduated from college. I sought shelter in South Dakota, where disaster appeared to be holding off and where “conservation” was not yet a controversial term.
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