Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Jan

Got a question about bison? You've come to the right place.

What's the difference between bison and buffalo?

The terms bison and buffalo are used interchangeably, but the scientific name for the American, or plains bison, is Bison bison. The Canadian, or woods bison, is Bison athabascae. The term buffalo originated with French fur trappers, who used the term boeufs, which sounds like buffs.

Are bison on the endangered species list?

After being hunted almost to extinction in the 1800s, by 1889 only 1089 bison were left of the estimated 30 million that had populated the great plains. Through public and private conservation efforts, the number has grown to 500,000, and bison are no longer considered endangered.

Do bison go in a barn at night?

No, bison do not like to be confined in a building. Although there are now many ranches that raise bison, they are not truly domesticated and are most at home in a pasture.

How do bison stay warm in the winter?

Bison, like dogs, grow thick, warm coats in the winter, then shed the extra hair in the spring. Additionally, they have thick layers of fat under their skin that helps insulate them from the cold.

What do you call a female and male bison?

Like cattle, young animals are called calves. When they're a year old, they're called yearlings. Male animals are always called bulls. Females are called heifers until they have their first calf, then they are called cows.

How do you tell whether a bison is female or male?

A bull’s head is wider and triangle-shaped, and its “forehead,” foreleg and beard fur is much thicker than a cow's. A cow’s horns are slightly more curved and slender than a bull’s. In addition, a cow’s shoulders are narrower than its hips while a male’s shoulders are broader than its hips.