POTD: How to Calm a Buffalo

How to Calm a Buffalo
American Prairie, Montana

In November we went to watch American Prairie’s annual bison “handling” (a.k.a. roundup in more cowboy terms), which to my understanding is primarily necessitated because of agreements they have with the State of Montana and the local counties to do testing on a certain percentage of their nearly 1,000 strong bison herd every year. So they round up a certain number (~300) as gently as possible, run them through a series of corrals and chutes where they eventually end up gently confined into this squeeze chute where their blood is drawn, ear tags are attached (when necessary) and hair samples for genetic testing are obtained; all the while trying to keep them as calm as possible even to the point of minimizing the sight of humans. Understandably though, if you put a wild bison into a squeeze chute, they won’t be very calm at all. Surprisingly, one way to help calm them is to put your hands over their eyes, as this guy is doing. It usually settles them right down. Who knew.

2 thoughts on “POTD: How to Calm a Buffalo”

  1. This is interesting! Horse “lore”? says that to lead a panicked equine from a burning barn you should cover its eyes (such as with a blanket, shirt, etc) so it would allow itself to be led out of danger. I wonder if this is related to both creatures being prey animals….

    1. It’s more than lore with horses isn’t it? At least I’ve seen blinders on draft horses and the like in TV (although they only block the view to the sides). As for the prey animal speculation, I’m a prey animal when it comes to griz and the like and blinders wouldn’t comfort me!

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