What Happened to the Bison Herd South of Missoula Near Lolo?
As a person who commutes from the Bitterroot, I have to admit that I take my drive for granted. People like to complain about the "Bitterroot 500" or the annual wrecks on the "S-Turns" but in all fairness, the drive is pretty amazing. Where else can you sip your morning coffee surrounded by the gorgeous mountain backdrop? Watching geese and ducks fly alongside a scenic river? Or a giant herd of elk soaking in the morning sun? Or, the main attraction of the commute, saying good morning as you pass a herd of giant bison. Only in Montana!
Seeing these majestic creatures each day is something we take for granted. Many people plan entire family vacations to Yellowstone National Park just to witness a bison. They are a rare sight for most Americans, but they used to be everywhere. In fact, according to bitterrootbison.com,
The American Bison once ranged from the tip of Alaska into the Southern United States. At their peak, bison numbers ranged upwards of 60,000,000. They dominated the landscape as one of the most mobile of the woolly creatures, which is probably why they are one of the few animals to survive the Ice Age.
Unfortunately, the bison have "gone the way of the buffalo" and disappeared. All that is left are hundreds of piles of dung. (And you think your pooper scooper is gonna have a rough spring). So where did they all go?
Troy Westre, the owner of Bitterroot Bison, was recently interviewed by his daughter-in-law about his decision to sell the herd. "Time for a new chapter." Selling nearly 170 head to farmers in Missouri.
You may remember in 2020, when the Bitterroot Bison herd welcomed a special addition. The herd was the home of a sacred white bison calf. Seen as a sign during the pandemic, the calf was named "HOPE."