Along vast pastures where grasses sway in the wind stands the magnificent bison. Every massive animal cuts a unique figure with their thick brown cost contrasting against the dark blue Oklahoma sky.
Today, let us take a trip to see the state animal of Oklahoma in all its glory along with its past.
Are There Bison In Oklahoma?
It is estimated that two centuries earlier 30 to 60 million bison wandered in North America from Mexico to central Canada. After sport-hunting, mass slaughter, and encroaching settlement, that population number was brutally taken down to over 1,000, both in captivity and wild.
Today, in Oklahoma bison population is protected at the Wichita Mountains Refuge, Comanche County, on 59,000 acres, and the in Osage County at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Unlike other major bison herds living in the U.S., they are let to roam around free in the wild.
What Is The History Of Bison In Oklahoma?
The bison that wander over the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma is said to be the direct descendants of 15 bison that journeyed by train from the Bronx Zoo a century ago.
In the year 1907, the first 15 bison that were selected for the breeding program in Oklahoma, boarded a train to travel across the country to the state. Seven days later, they were greeted in Oklahoma with a party.
They were then loaded onto trucks to travel to the Wichita Mountains. There they went on to live, flourish, and multiply. There were even early auctions held to keep the number in check. By the end of the 1930s, the American bison population went up to 20,000.
How Many Bison Are Left In Oklahoma?
With many protective measures and hunting laws, the remaining bison in the state lived, thrived, and multiplied.
Today their population has recovered to 3500, about a percent of their original size, but very much enough to hold them out of the risks of extinction. Most of them are found on public lands and the remaining populations are held in private herds.
Where To See Bison In Oklahoma?
You can take a road trip to any of these great destinations to see bison ins the state of Oklahoma in all its glory.
- Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
Located in the biggest protected region of the tallgrass prairie, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is home to the biggest buffalo herds. You can spot them along the 15-mile stretch through the bison region within the preserve. There is a good chance for you to spot a few resting in the sun or grazing as you drive.
- Woolaroc Ranch Wildlife Preserve
Woolaroc houses a bison herd that was established in 1926 with 90 inhabitants. You can have a chance to spot a few scattered throughout the property. Also, it grounds a museum, with a wide array of wildlife displays.
- Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge houses about 650 bison and other longhorn cattle. Occasionally, you might even spot a wayward bison crossing the road. This expansive refuge consists of 59,000 acres, and there is a good chance that you will spot one munching on grass or resting under the sun. Nature tours are carried out occasionally, which take guests by bus or footy to view the wildlife.
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area
The natural springs at the Recreation Area are a favorite watering hole for bison. These majestic creatures can be seen roaming in the oldest park in Oklahoma. You can drive up to the bison viewpoint or hike around the Bison Pasture Trail to spot them. The Bison viewpoint is situated about a mile south of Hwy 177 and 7 junction in Sulphur.
Can You Hunt Bison In Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, you cannot hunt the bison herd that is in the wild. However, you can hunt bison that are living the private ranches. Additionally, hunting bison is challenging due to its size and nature. It is important to have the skills and knowledge to be safe.
Can You Own Bison In Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, you can own a bison as they are considered livestock. You can own and breed them for different objectives like meat production, gaming, and conservation. Though you can own bison in the state of Oklahoma, it is important to follow the state’s regulations and other farming requirements that are being declared by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
Also Check Our Guide On Bison In America
Why Is The Bison The State Animal Of Oklahoma?
Oklahoma designated the American bison as the state’s official animal in the year 1972. This is because the American bison has been an integral part of Native American history.
Also, no other wild species has played such a crucial role in human affairs in the past decades. The Native American tribes who lived in the region of the Great Plains depended on bison for shelter, food, and clothing, and also considered it to be a powerful and spiritual symbol.
Also read About Bison In Nebraska
And that was everything you need to know about the Bison In Oklahoma. I hope this article answered all your queries.
Thank You For Reading!
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Founder Of This Website
I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.