We were returning from a photoshoot in farm country when we passed Oleson’s Buffalo Farm on Kyselka Road, off U.S. 31 heading into Traverse City.
The herd was out grazing on the hillsides. Abundant blocks of hay were spread around giving the critters plenty of food for the winter.
As I drove on, I saw the half-empty storage barn where the hay bales were stored. Buffalo eat a LOT!
Although commonly known as buffalo, this species is officially known as the American Bison. Can you imagine feeding this herd where each critter weighs between 800-2800 pounds?
Gracie’s nose started wiggling as soon as we drove onto Kyselka Road. She immediately popped up from her seat to my lap, hanging out the window as I tried to shoot. She didn’t bark, but was immensely curious about these critters.
While these bison appeared unconcerned with our presence, their behavior can be unpredictable. I imagined what damage those massive heads could do if used as battering rams. Add in the horns as weapons, and, well, you get the gory picture.
We watched a couple of young bison race up a hill in their lumbering gallop, kicking up snow as they moved. They can reach speeds of 35 mph.
The photography was a challenge due to the hilly topography. Fences and scrub trees surrounded the whole area too. I was able to get a young bison following its mother up the hill to a feed area.
Through the fence holes, I photographed these two watching us intently. I couldn't help but wonder how strong the fence was that held these critters in.
As we turned around to head for home, I noticed the operational farm sitting idyllically in a valley. While I wasn't shooting in black and white, the scene certainly looked that way.