Community , Culture

Osage Nation receives second shipment of bison at Bluestem Ranch

The Osage Nation’s Bluestem Ranch LLC Board acquired a second shipment of bison, which were shipped to the 43,000-acre ranch southwest of Pawhuska on Oct. 2.

That day, 51 bison arrived via tractor trailer track at the ranch from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s herd in southern Oklahoma. Ranch board members and workers were on hand to unload the bison – of several age groups – off the trailer and into the gated areas where the initial acquisition of bison are also kept.

Ranch board chairman Jim Perrier said the second acquisition included several bulls and heifers ranging from 1-4 years of age and the herd came a surplus stock of bison at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Perrier said the second shipment was worth thousands of dollars, but the ranch board acquired the surplus bison for free and only paid for the tractor-trailer truck delivery costs.

This is the second shipment of bison the Nation has acquired from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton. In October 2017, the Nation received its first shipment of 20 bison, which joined seven bison left over from media mogul Ted Turner’s bison herds when he owned the ranch before the Nation’s 2016 successful purchase of the property.

According to the refuge website: “Established in 1901, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one of more than 556 refuges throughout the United States managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer.”

The Bluestem Ranch Board has turned the ranch into an operating cattle business and has sectioned off a portion of the property for a bison preserve. Ranch board members include Perrier, Ladd Oldfield (vice chair), Teresa Meade (Treasurer), Hank Hainzinger and Galen Crum.

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