Bison During A Pandemic

The pandemic has limited my photography outings this past year. Fortunately, it has given me the opportunity to increase the number of Bison photos in my stock catalogs.

Buffalo are very popular stock photos. I guess they are American icons and as such, there is a constant demand for images of these famous and dangerous animals. Bison are not the most active animal in the world. Most of the time they stand around in herds, eating grass and dropping poop. Occasionally, one can catch them sparing or rolling in the dirt or mating.

There are two basic species of bison in North America, the plains bison and the wood bison. A male bison can weigh up to 2,000 lbs. There are approximately 362,406 bison in North America. Of that number, there are about 31,000 wild bison in North America (20,000 plains bison and 11,000 wood bison). Bison are the largest land mammal in North America. Bison are also quite dangerous. A bull bison can charge you unexpectedly and it’s a good idea to not expose yourself to them in the open. I’ve been charged a few times over the years but never actually assaulted. I give them plenty of room and always assume they don’t like me near them.

Bison generally come in two varieties. Livestock and genetically pure managed herds. Livestock versions are generally bison that have been cross-bred with cattle to make them more docile and are bred for human consumption. There are several herds of genetically pure bison in Colorado. The closest herd to me is in Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Denver. They were reintroduced at the Arsenal in 2007 and today the herd has grown in size to over 180 animals.

I travel to Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR frequently and many times the bison are in a location that allows for photographs. Over the past year during the pandemic, I’ve accumulated a number of bison photographs. Today, I have about 350 stock bison photos but my goal is to get the catalog size to around 1,000 images. It’s a work in progress. Here are a few shots I’ve taken this past year.

Bull Bison
Large Bull in Winter Grass moving directly towards me.


Bison sparing in Morning Light on a Cold Winter Day


Two Bison Bulls sparing in a field of grass.


Genetically Pure Wild Bison in Colorado. Bull bison grazing on the prairie.


Bull rubbing his head on a steel post.


Wintering over at the Arsenal. Two strays from the herd.


Genetically Pure Wild Bison in Colorado. In Winter Grass


Bison in snow. One of my favorite types of shots.