Friday, August 03, 2007

The Trip - Moiese National Bison Range

After lunch we headed over to Moiese (pronounced "moh-eess") to see the bison and whatever other critters we could. It's the first national wildlife refuge, established in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt, and its normal inhabitants, besides the bison, are elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, and pronghorns.

First, to clear up a few of the usual misconceptions:

1. They're bison, not buffalo, even though everybody calls them buffalo.

2. Pronghorns are not antelope. There are absolutely no species of antelope in North America. Pronghorns are members of the greater goat family, but nobody wants to say they're going hunting goats, so they call them antelope because it sounds better.

3. Antlers fall off every year and then grow back again the next year, bigger than before. When you see antlers somewhere that aren't attached to a skull or a whole head, then it means that no animals died. Really. This pile of antlers (looks like mostly mule deer) was gathered up from around the bison range. The deer that lost them are still alive. Really.

We didn't see any deer or elk. But we saw lots of bison.

This guy was eating some grass along the road.

And we saw some pronghorns, but they were pretty far away and even with the zoom, the pictures don't show them well. Here's the best I got.

Scooter had a really good time at the bison range too. He barked at the bison from inside the car, and they ignored him, but he told them what-for anyway. And when they were out of his sight, he took a nap. Life is good.


Malott said...

The Genus and species names are the same:
Bison bison

Just as the striped skunk is:
Mephitis mephitis

What beautiful country! If I'd grown up in Montana... I'd want to live there.

Branddobbe said...

You should put these pictures on Flickr. That way, I could favorite the pronghorn one.

CG said...

That single pronghorn in the golden grass is strikingly beautiful! I love it!

SkyePuppy said...


Don't forget the Black Rat (aka, house rat):

rattus rattus