Chewing the Fat With a Bison
An Avery Madden Crazy Critters Exclusive
Howdy to all you animal-obsessed readers out there. Bart the bison is an American dude, born and raised in Yellowstone, Wyoming. Perhaps you’ve seen his modeling work on the Wyoming state flag?
As a bison, Bart’s got tons of love to give – up to 2 tons in fact. Hey, that’s how it goes when you’re the largest land mammal in North America!
Avery Madden: So what’s the deal, Bart. You call yourself a bison, but you look like a buffalo. Which is it?
Bart Bison: Bison. Definitely bison. When settlers first came to America, they didn’t know what bison were. They thought we looked like Asian Water Buffalos, so pretty soon it was American Buffalo this, and American Buffalo that. I’d like to clear it up once and for all—I am a bison, NOT a buffalo. I’m not even related to buffalos. So if you think Oregon Trail and buffalos, think again. We’re bison. Get it straight.
AM: So then buffalos are ...
BB: Found only in Asia and Africa.
AM: What about Buffalo, New York?
BB: Can we stay on the topic of bison here please?
AM: Yowza. A little touchy Bart?
BB: Well can you blame me? My species was close to extinction in the 19th century. We bison are lucky to be here!
AM: Close to extinction? That’s some pretty serious stuff. Care to comment?
BB: You bet I do! During the western expansion, railroad companies paid hunters to get rid of entire bison herds. It was a low blow. I mean, tribes of Native Americans in the Great Plains depended on bison for food and money.
AM: That’s not very nice.
BB: Not very nice my hoof! It gets worse. Apparently, herds of bison were blocking railroad paths and could delay trains for days. And, if the locomotives didn’t stop in time, the bison could—get this—hurt the trains. Well, hmph! I apologize if bison were an “inconvenience” to you all. Excuuuuuse me!
AM: Well, no offense Bart, but it sounds like bison are doing a lot better these days. We’ve got wild bison herds in Alberta, Montana, and Wyoming. Bison are also raised for meat and hides. No need to wallow, right?
BB: Actually there is a need to wallow, especially in the summer. Wallowing is when bison roll around in the dirt to stay cool in the summer and keep the bugs away.
AM: I see. So wallowing is like spray and a natural insect repellent combined?
BB: Eau de Mud, I call it. It’s all the rage on the West Coast.
AM: Something big happened for the bison in 2005 ...
BB: We made the face of the nickel—which, incidentally, was called the “Buffalo Nickel,” but now we both know what a buffalo really is. It was a BIG DEAL, too. I mean, bison hadn’t made the nickel since 1938.
AM: One last thing … any luck with the cows lately?
BB: Between growing fur for the winter and storing as much fat as possible, I don’t have a lot of time for a relationship. Bison bulls only court the bison cows for a couple of hours, a day at most. Right now, I’m just enjoying chewing the cud and roaming the range. I’m a bison bachelor for life.
you tell us ...