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Bison

“The secret is out about bison,” says Rancher John Flocchini of Durham Bison Ranch outside of Wright. “It wasn’t ever really a secret, but I think more and more every day, consumers are realizing the benefits of bison, not just from a nutritional point of view but also in terms of quality of eating experience.”

At their annual meeting in January, the National Bison Association (NBA) reported “closing out a record year of profitability and recognition,” with optimism for continued success into the next year.

“We’re wrapping up a banner year, with Congress designating bison as the national mammal and the American public increasingly choosing bison meat for their families,” NBA Executive Director Dave Carter says. “Our challenge for 2017 is to continue to build the business, so we can bring more bison back to pastures and rangelands across North America.”

Continued success

The success of 2016 was built on higher prices and increased demand.

According to USDA, the prices marketers paid for dressed bison bulls averaged higher than $4.30 per pound throughout 2016.

“We anticipate that prices will remain strong as demand for bison meat continues to grow,” Carter says.

In the retail and restaurant sales arenas, bison products grew $10 million in sales in 2016 to $350 million.

USDA data shows that 61,300 bison were processed under federal and state inspection last year, an increase of 1,000 animals from the year before.

Consumers

Flocchini comments that many consumers have a fear of cooking bison – or over-cooking it.

“Bison isn’t hard to deal with as a regular food item,” he explains. “It has a great taste and stigma of over-cooking bison is changing.”

At the same time, those consumers focusing on specialty diets or with a desire to connect to their food are drawn to the alternative protein.

“Bison is a low fat, low cholesterol alternative meat, and it’s naturally high in iron,” Flocchini says, adding that several years ago, Reader’s Digest listed bison as one of the most five important food for women because of it’s low fat and high iron. “This product is naturally healthy for consumers.”

Flocchini also adds that bison is distinctly different from beef, providing an entirely different eating experience.

“Bison doesn’t have the marbling that beef does, so it doesn’t have that buttery experience,” he explains. “It has more of a sweet, lean eating experience, which is great.”

Bison meat has been particularly appealing to consumers seeking indigenous products, and it has seen a strong following from those consumers on a paleo diet and in the Cross Fit community.

“Beef will never be threatened by bison,” Flocchini says, “but bison is a great niche market.”

Producers

While the number of people consuming bison has grown, Flocchini remarks that producer numbers have also grown in the last few years.

“Our peak production was in the late 1990s, when there was a lot of hype in the industry as far as breeding animals go, and people got really excited,” he says. “The concept was great, but unfortunately, at the time, the foundation for the meat market had not really established.”

Flocchini adds, “The enthusiasm outgrew the reality of the marketplace at that time, and there was a contraction within the industry.”

A decline in prices meant that many producers lost large amounts of money, and a large number were forced out of the market.

“Those who stuck with bison production have come through the other side, and recently, we’ve seen a lot more brand new producers who are interested in raising bison,” Flocchini says. “That’s exciting because we see a lot of demand but not enough supply.”

Increasing prevalence

The resurgence in bison meat has been a long time coming, says Flocchini.

“NBA has been focusing on meat marketing our protect for a while as far as describing bison, but it’s taken time to get to consumers,” he says. “It’s more of a niche product, so supply limits how quickly that demand spreads.”

“We are in a challenging situation,” Carter adds. “As more people discover the great taste and nutritional benefits of bison, we have to keep pace. We are working with existing ranchers to increase their herds and have rolled out the welcome mat for new producers willing to join us in bringing more naturally-raised bison meat to the marketplace.”

While he doesn’t attribute all of the success of bison to the marketing efforts of NBA, Flocchini says that other key marketers in the industry, as well as farm-to-table operations, have begun to emerge, as well.

“Word has trickled out, and the press has begun to catch up with our story,” he comments. “There’s a great story to be shared, and now, bison is much more available than it has been in the past.”

As demand has increased, grocery stores across the country have started carrying bison products, as well.

“People probably get introduced to bison for the first time in restaurants or from friends, and when they see that, in most metropolitan areas, it’s available, it begins to catch on,” says Flocchini

In the future

As NBA looks at 2017, they see even more potential, with planned programming to increase profitability for those currently in the bison business and introduce prospective producers to the opportunities available.

“The bison market is enjoying strong stability and profitability, with growth projected to continue as long as we can expand herds across the country,” Carter says. “Our primary focus today is reaching out to producers to build the herds of bison across the country.”

In July 2017, NBA will host an International Bison Conference in Big Sky, Mont., bringing producers from primarily the U.S. and Canada but also from around the world.

“Most people producing bison are in the U.S. and Canada, but there will be people from all over the world in attendance, including Europeans and Australians,” Flocchini says. “Folks are raising bison in the most amazing places.”

Flocchini comments, “Continued strong demand on the meat side and more demand for live animals for breeding means that bison producers are optimistic and the bison industry is strong.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rapid City, S.D. – “The bison industry still deals with many misconceptions,” began Jim Matheson, assistant director of the National Bison Association, located in Westminster, Colo. “Opinions continue to abound that bison are wild and dangerous, their meat is gamey, they get out all the time, and they need fencing rivaling that around Fort Knox.”

Matheson addressed an audience at a “Bison Advantage” workshop, co-hosted by the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association (DTBA), headquartered in Rapid City, S.D. Held on Feb. 2 in conjunction with the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, the session was geared toward new and aspiring producers but had something for everyone. 

Bison Advantage

“What is the Bison Advantage?” Matheson asked. “It is a marketing campaign to producers to explain this is a viable livestock endeavor they can take advantage of.”

Although a relatively young and very small industry, Matheson noted there is an excellent market for bison meat. Matheson also highlighted bison meat as a sustainable source of high-quality protein that is also low in fat. 

Demand for bison exceeds availability, and consumers are willing to pay a premium for the product, even for hamburger and items such as jerky or other snack foods.

Raising bison

The current bison count is about 200,000 head in the United States, including private, tribal and park herds. Only 200 head are processed per day cross the nation, and carcasses on the rail have sold for between four and five dollars a pound for six years. 

In 2017, retail meat sales were $350 million for bison.

South Dakota is the number one bison-producing state, but there are bison in every state in the country except for Rhode Island. The average herd consists of 60 head. 

Matheson explained bison adapt well to their environment and live long, productive lives. 

“Cows on occasion live past the age of 30 and still produce a calf every year,” he said. “Bulls have been known to reach 15 years of age and still get the job done.”

“Bison are low maintenance, but they’re not no maintenance,” Matheson said.

Females calve on their own, but unlike cattle, they don’t breed for the first time until they are two years old. 

Artificial insemination (AI) is not performed on bison, not only due to excessive stress on the animal, but also because the technology is not available to make AI viable.

“There is no branding or castration and no dehorning, for the most part, although Canadian producers have been known to dehorn animals occasionally. Horns on bison can be a problem if animals are bunched too closely together and are unable to move away from each other, he said. 

Fencing

“Bison don’t like to be cornered,” Matheson said. “The best places for gates are toward the middle of the fence line.” 

Fencing is always a concern for producers just starting with a bison herd, Matheson continued.

According to Matheson, cattle fencing is pretty easily converted to fencing for bison. 

Everything from barbed wire to woven wire to a strand or two of hot wire incorporated into a fence will work, he said. 

A good visual deterrent is to have the top strand of wire higher than the animal’s line of sight, he noted.

“What is more important,” Matheson pointed out, “is daily management. Keep the animals happy.”

Daily management

Daily management of bison includes maintaining clean water and good, abundant grass through a rotational grazing program. 

Stocking rates for bison are similar to those of cattle, Matheson noted. 

“In breeding stock, we desire athleticism, length and a straight topline from hump to rump,” he said. “Sound legs are necessary, especially for bulls, and there should be appropriate characterization of masculinity and femininity.” 

Additionally, bison are largely resistant to many native diseases, and those diseases that impact bison are often transmitted by other species. 

Malignant catarrhal fever is a herpes virus carried by sheep that is deadly to bison. Brucellosis found in elk is sometimes an issue for bison, particularly those around Yellowstone National Park. 

Mycoplasma bovis is a pneumonia-like disease that can be hard to detect, as well.

“While not many bison-specific vaccines exist, producers can utilize available cattle vaccines for preventative care,” Matheson noted.

Renewed spirit

Bison are enjoying renewed popularity with the help of organizations like the National Bison Association and DTBA, said Matheson. 

“In 2016, the bison was named the first ever national mammal of the United States through collaborative efforts of the National Bison Association, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Intertribal Buffalo Council and the Obama Administration,” he added. “The Bison Advantage can benefit anyone who may be interested in becoming involved with this wonderful animal.”

Melissa Burke is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cheyenne – Since a buffalo cow can live up to 30 years or more, it is important to select an animal with good conformation, according to a Wyoming buffalo producer. Boyd Meyer of Cold Creek Buffalo discussed cow-calf economics of bison during The Bison Advantage conference south of Cheyenne on June 22.
    Meyer grew up raising and showing hogs, and was in the hog business and later in the beef business as an adult. He first became involved with bison after a friend asked if he would consider diversifying into the animal. With no opinion either way, Meyer attended his first winter conference on bison during the stock show and came away interested.
    He started in the bison business part-time in 2002 and moved into the business full-time in 2005, when he had the opportunity to lease the Terry Bison Ranch and purchase the herd. Today, Meyer runs around 800 mother cows and finishes 3,000 to 3,500 bison each year in a feedlot at the ranch. Most of the finished bison are sold to Rocky Mountain Natural Meats in Denver, Colo. “The opportunities have been rewarding for me in the bison business,” Meyer explained of his operation.
Heifer selection
    Meyer selects heifers that will mature around 1,100 pounds.
    “I feel the most efficient cows are the medium frame, high capacity cows,” he said. “There are some 1,300 to 1,500 pound cows out there that may also produce, but I don’t feel they are as feed efficient.”
    The bison producer said he likes to wean his calf crop in January when it’s colder, to avoid the hot-cold spell the area has in November. “It is also after the holidays and the bison conferences,” he added.
    Once weaned, the heifers are placed on a high fiber weaning ration consisting of soy hull pellets, free choice grass or millet hay, with some corn and wet distillers grain. After 90 days on this weaning ration, Meyer likes to select his replacement heifers.
    “I want the heifers I keep to have gained at least 195 pounds on the weaning ration,” he explained.
    He also looks at conformation of the heifers, selecting medium frame heifers with good length, good feet and legs, depth and thickness from front to back, a feminine head and features and good bone and structure.
    The heifers are then turned out to grass, with free choice grass hay or millet hay and a balanced mineral and vitamin supplement that has been tested for his area. He also feeds cake to the heifers during the second winter to make sure they are off to a good start.
    The following March, he turns the heifers in with the bulls.
    “We had been turning the heifers in with the herd,” he explained. “But, the last few years, we’ve been breeding them by themselves, and turning them in with the herd later.”
    He likes to use one bull for every 18 cows.
    All the cows and heifers on the ranch are vaccinated with Virashield 6 and 7-way every other year. He also worms the cows and heifers to eliminate any parasites. Meyer cautions other producers that pour-on wormers are inadequate on bison because of their thick hair follicles and the amount of dirt in the coat.
    “If you use a pour-on, most of it will just runoff,” he said.
    Producers can use a feed through, but in his experience, the animals carrying the biggest parasite load will be weaker and won’t fight their way to the bunk.
    “I’ve found that Ivomec injectable works best, but you have to have a chute to work the buffalo,” he said.
    In Wyoming, Meyer said producers are also required to vaccinate all their female bison for brucellosis before they are 18 months old.
    “I would suggest producers who live in states where they are not required to have this vaccination give it to them anyway,” he said. “It just gives you more options if you ever have to sell them.”
    The female bison are pregnancy checked and have to come in open twice before they are culled, he explained.
    “If you cull the first time they are open, you will have a hard time getting them to the 15-year average – especially during a year like this,” he explained. “In my operation, I don’t feel like it is cost-effective to cull them the first time they are open because of the cost to develop heifers.”
    If a heifer or cow is open, Meyer checks for body condition, injuries and makes sure they have weaned a calf. If the animal meets all this criteria, he notches the ear tag to indicate she was open. If she comes in open again, she is culled, he said.
Selecting breeding bulls
    Meyer likes to performance test the bulls after they are weaned in March. They are placed on a feed test until fall, where he likes to see them gain 2.5 to three pounds per day. The yearling bulls average 750 to 900 pounds, and two-year-olds average 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. An ultrasound technician also collects carcass information on the bulls, including marbling.
    “It took the ultrasound technician a while to understand that we don’t want marbling in buffalo meat,” he explained. “We don’t want to produce a steak that goes into the meat case and looks like a beef steak.”
    Although bulls can breed a lot longer, Meyer only keeps them in the herd until they are between six and seven years old.
    “Once they get beyond that, they become more lazy and independent, and they go through gates and fences,” he said.
    Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fencing for bison
Cheyenne – Fencing is one of the most important considerations for producers considering the bison business.
    “Fencing is important because once they get out, it is very difficult to stop them,” Meyer said. “If you have to fence a ranch for buffalo, what it really comes down to is your comfort level. If you are a nervous person, you may want a better fence.”
    On his ranch, Meyer has three different types of fence. The one he likes most are eight-foot posts holding up woven wire with two strands of high tensile wire on top.
    “If they grow up in it from the time they are heifers, they will not force it,” he said.
    During the winter, Meyer encourages bison producers to have a smaller place to feed and water the cows, especially if there is a storm. Although Meyer doesn’t typically see a lot of snow at the ranch, a few years ago, five to eight foot drifts pushed his buffalo through the fence and onto the railroad tracks.   
    “The UP railroad wasn’t too happy to see 600 to 700 cows standing on the railroad tracks for a few days after it snowed,” he said.
    Meyer encouraged producers to determine what fence will work best for them, and try not to go overboard.
    “Fencing costs for bison can break you,” he said.


Cheyenne – The opening sessions of the 2008 Society for Range Management Wyoming Section and the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s fall meeting in Cheyenne featured several speakers who highlighted non-traditional income opportunities for Wyoming ranchers.
    Among presentations on wind energy, using goats for alternative weed control and the organic production of beef, Roy Liedtke of Longreach Buffalo Co. shared how his ranch takes advantage of a niche market.
    Liedtke’s bison ranch, located near Weston between Gillette and the Montana border, utilizes multiple species grazing, direct marketing and agritourism. Liedtke bought the ranch in 2001 in cooperation with two partners.
    “We first began running the buffalo to get through the down years of the cattle cycle, and we also run beef cattle to get the most utilization from our pastures,” said Liedtke. The beef cattle run in pastures that aren’t contiguous because they’re easier to move and they also use pastures not fenced for bison.
    “We don’t have any trouble running the bison and cattle together because we don’t feed hay, and it does improve range utilization,” he said, noting that bison graze more like sheep. “They stay on the ridges and don’t get in the trees and they’re really active.”
    He said there are some real advantages to grazing bison. “The best thing you can do at calving time is go fishing,” he advised. “If you do try to go out there they’ll run away from you. They don’t want anybody around when they’re calving.”
    He said he also doesn’t have to worry about them in the winter. “During a storm the beef cows will huddle down in the draw while the bison are up on the hill running around.” He said this is due, in part, to the density of bison hair compared to cattle.
    “Bison also take less feed and water than beef,” said Liedtke. Bison drink 10 gallons per day in the summer and five in the winter, compared to beef’s 20 to 25 gallons in the summer. “Research in the rumen shows a beef’s rumen is really sloppy and soupy and a bison’s is more like a paste. They retain forage in their rumen for a longer period of time so they digest that material further.”
    Liedtke also said there’s no need for a bull pasture, as the bulls separate themselves off, and the bison herd doesn’t need winter hay.
    “Niche marketing can be a real advantage, and we couldn’t sell the quantity of meat that we do if we were just selling beef,” he said of their marketing approach. “It’s the natural appeal as well as the allure of bison meat.”
    In the late 1990s the bison market was high, with heifer calves selling for $2,500 and bulls calves for around $1,100. “Then the number of animals caught up with the market and we were in a bad drought,” said Liedtke. In 2002 bull calves sold for $80. “When a niche market goes up it can go really high, and when it goes down it can go really low. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.”
    However, he said the multiple marketing approaches are beneficial. The ranch not only sells bison meat, but also heads, hides and hunts for trophy bulls.
    Regarding the disadvantages of bison production, Liedtke says an operation has to have good facilities. “You can overbuild the fences, but out is out, and it’s not fun to get them back in.”
    The ranch utilizes four-wire barbed wire fence with one smooth wire at five feet, or at least a foot above the top barbed wire, to discourage the bison from jumping the fence. The top wire also serves to prevent deer and other wildlife from getting caught up and twisted in the fence.
    “The corral’s also got to be good, because the bison are big and fast,” said Liedtke. “When we move them we lead with a cake feeder or chase them with a four-wheeler. We used to use horses, but they tend to try to take them.” The ranch corrals stand seven feet tall and are composed of four-inch pipe and surplus conveyor belts.
    Another disadvantage, said Liedtke, is there’s not always a ready market for bison. “They’re different from beef in that you can’t load them up and go to the sale barn, although there are more markets now than five years ago.”
    Bison do gain slower than beef, but they’re also longer-lived. “The bison breed when they’re two and calve when they’re three and they’ll live and be productive to 30 years old,” explained Liedtke. “They eat less feed and take less water in the winter because their metabolism slows down, but that’s a disadvantage if you’re trying to put weight on them over the winter.”
    The year the bison calves sold for $80 is when the ranch decided to get into the meat market, which added a feeder dimension to the cow/calf operation.
    “Processing is the weakest link in this whole thing,” he said. Because the ranch sells meat across state lines it hauls bison to Miles City, Mont. or Belle Fouche, S.D., both of which are 150 miles away.
    “Quality control is important for us, because we sell our meat directly to the public so if they’re not happy we hear about it,” he said. “Packaging is very important.”
    Liedtke said inventory is also important, because their customers want access to meat year round. “The good thing is this gives us income the entire year. Most ranches don’t go broke on land payments, but because they can’t buy groceries. By spreading the income we can pay the bills so when we do get the check for the beef cattle we can use it to focus on the land payment.”
    Liedtke offered this advice: “Set the price, and know your cost of production, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Know your premium over selling live animals. If it gets to the point where the premium isn’t big enough we’ll quit, because we don’t want to do this for the fun of it. We need to know when we’re making money and when we’re not.”
    In addition to the bison and beef cattle the ranch has begun to offer itself as a place for people to bring their horses to ride. “There’s an amazing amount of people from Minnesota and farther east who travel to Wyoming to go riding,” said Liedtke. “The mountains can be a busy place, so some people like the fact they can come to our place and ride.”
    Liedtke says right now the horseback riding is a small part of the business, but he think it’s something that could grow. “If you’re doing something you like to do and you enjoy it, it makes it a lot easier,” he noted.
    Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Riverton – In early February the Northern Arapaho tribe called a meeting regarding their desire to reestablish a herd of bison on the Wind River Indian Reservation for cultural, ceremonial, traditional and nutritional purposes.
    Northern Arapaho Bison Manager Ken Troster, who was hired by the tribe to investigate its options with bison, said the herd would be used for traditional ceremonial uses as well as to provide meat for the diabetic on the reservation.
    Although project information says the ultimate goal of the Northern Arapaho tribe is to bring back bison as free-roaming native wildlife, their present focus is to establish a herd on a 32,207-acre unit that composes six percent of the Arapaho Ranch and runs along the western edges of Boysen Reservoir and the Wind River Canyon. Although the unit is partially fenced for cattle the enclosure needs to be upgraded for bison.
    “The plan right now is that we’ll lease a ranch outside of Thermopolis that’s already set up for bison for the next few years until we can build the secure fence,” said Troster of the Red Canyon Ranch, which has housed bison for the last eight years.
    The bison would come from a project in Montana led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, of which project founder Keith Aune is a part. He said the Society established their interest in bison through the American Bison Society.
    “Our interest is in helping people develop projects with bison through our science-based organization,” said Aune.
    Currently the Society has taken bison from the herd in Yellowstone National Park and put them through brucellosis quarantine with the goal of making them available for tribes and conservation interests nationwide.
    “One of our main objectives in capturing these animals was a conservation attempt aimed at genetics,” said Aune, mentioning that North American bison went through a tremendous bottleneck in their history and their gene pool remains limited. “All bison in North America come from five privately-owned source stocks and two public.”
    He said there’s an emerging interest in bison from Yellowstone because they’ve maintained their pure genetics. “Many producers began blending cattle with the bison, and there are a lot of federal and state bison herds that have cattle genes,” said Aune. He said there are only five known existing herds without cattle genes.
    “They’re also important because they come from one of only three known herds that are 1,000 animals or more and that operate in a natural way,” he continued. “They’re unique in environment, management situation and genetics.”
    The issue of primary concern to reservation-area ranchers with the bison reintroduction is brucellosis transmission. A Montana plan 10 years in the making resulted in three options for the excess Yellowstone bison: slaughter, quarantine or research. “That’s what drives Montana to figure out what to do with the surplus from Yellowstone,” said Aune. “It took a long time to come up with a procedure for quarantine, but it was designed and built by a suite of vets, epidemiologists and experts from federal, state and private interests that sat down and constructed the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Quarantine Plan.”
    A six-year study from 1995 through 2001 analyzed brucella in bison. “We found the disease in bison is very similar to cattle,” said USDA APHIS veterinarian Jack Rhyan.
    “There is one scientific issue we’ve always been concerned about – latent infection, or ‘heifer syndrome’ in cattle,” said Rhyan. “In cattle a calf can be exposed to brucella and become infected without developing clinical signs. It carries the infection and its blood tests are negative, but when a heifer becomes pregnant she might abort and that’s the first time you know you’ve got brucella.”
    He said the protocol addresses that and requires bison heifers to get through their first calf and remain negative. “This project is a feasibility study designed to look at two groups of 100 animals each and take them all the way through to when we put them on tribal and public lands, after which we’ll survey them for another five years,” he said.
    The bison that remain in the herd today have tested negative for brucellosis anywhere from nine to 15 times, and Rhyan said they’ll all be tested once more before transport. There are currently 21 cows, 16 calves and four bulls that meet the requirements of the protocol and are qualified for movement.
    Wyoming Assistant State Veterinarian Jim Logan said the Wyoming Livestock Board’s (WLSB) concern with the bison importation is not a disease issue. “We’re absolutely not going to import brucellosis-infected livestock or bison into this state. It simply wouldn’t be done,” he said.
    Logan said the bison would have to be imported according to Chapter 8 Import Rules. In this case the bison will be imported as livestock, not wildlife. “The bison will have to be brucellosis vaccinated to come into Wyoming, and most of them have already been vaccinated twice,” he said.
    Once they’re in the state the bison will have to abide by Chapter 2 brucellosis rules and any USDA/APHIS rules regarding the disease.
    “As long as the tribe complies with WLSB and APHIS rules, we don’t have any major concern with this from a disease standpoint,” noted Logan.
    “We’re being extremely cautious, and through an agreement with the bison recipient we’ll test them once more after they calve one more time and then monitor them four years after that,” said Aune.
    Logan suggested the tribe sign a management and animal health agreement with the WLSB and Fremont and Hot Springs counties. “It would have to be voluntary, but the reason to do it would be public relations,” he said. “It would also be an animal health step with a plan to prevent disease and deal with it should any kind arise in the herd.”
    Logan also said that, through an agreement with the Wyoming Game and Fish, the WLSB has authority to lethally remove any escaped bison, whether they come from the reservation or elsewhere. “The Game and Fish does not want wild herds of bison outside the Shoshone, Bridger-Teton or Absaroka national forests, so if they’re outside off the forest zone they’re considered livestock,” he said.
    “We have an interest in working with the tribes to create opportunities for ecologically and culturally sensitive management,” said Aune of the plan. “There are a handful of places in North America where the land and interest are there to consider this kind of a venture and with the Northern Arapahos we’d be matching up their interest in having a cultural herd with the availability of Yellowstone bison.”
    If all goes as planned the Northern Arapaho tribe will receive their first bison at Thermopolis this spring.
    Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..