It is the mating season for bison and that means there are great opportunities to observe some of their most fascinating behaviors. Mature bulls of breeding age have returned to the herds and are battling each other for mating opportunities with cows as they come into heat. Bulls will roar and bellow, paw the earth, roll, and thrash their heads in vegetation. These are dominance displays for the females and serve to illustrate their power to other males. The actual fighting can be very violent and lead to severe injuries or even death if a horn hits vital organs. Males pursue the females and often push them away from the herd and other males until they successfully copulate. Females may look over several different males before deciding on one so they have an active role in this process too. All in all, it’s a great time to be out watching bison at this time of year.
-Doug Johnston, Spring Creek Ranch Naturalist