Friday, May 30, 2014

Bison Range and Symes Hotsprings

We recently made a trip to the National Bison Range, just 45 minutes north of Missoula. A quick stop at the visitor center to learn a thing or 2 and we hit the drive that loops through the refuge. 

The picture on the left shows the disturbingly large pile of bison skulls. The death and destruction we reigned upon the American Buffalo is astounding, very hard to comprend. 

At one point their population numbered in the tens of millions, the Great Plains of North America. Hunted to near extinction by American market hunters, the once massive bison population was reduced to a mere 1,000 by the turn of the century. 

The wildlife viewing was great that day, the kids loved looking through dad's bino's. We spotted quite a few antelope, deer in velvet, lots of lone bison bulls and one newborn deer fawn. The newborn fawn was motionless on the side of the trail as we hiked to the high point on the refuge. The fawn did not move at all, we couldn't tell if it was just doing the new fawn thing, or was injured. I did find this on the web:

 Newborn fawns have almost no body odor and their reddish brown coat with white spots make young fawns almost invisible to predators. Fawns lie motionless on the ground surrounded by low vegetation. The fawn’s natural instinct is to freeze even when approached by another animal. As fawns grow and mature, they will initially freeze, but they jump up and bound away.
Despite what this picture looks like, G did not poke the fawn with the stick

3 of my favorite things: Family, Antlers and America :-)

Cool Willy

We rounded out the trip with a visit to Symes Hotsprings. Great water, just a slightly funky scene. Anybody here ever been there? What did you think?