Common Name
AMERICAN BISON

Scientific Name
BOS BISON

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The bison, Bos bison, once roamed from Canada to northern Mexico. Due to over-hunting and habitat alteration, however, the species was near extinction by the early 1900s. Fortunately, measures to protect the species were enacted, and many stable bison populations now exist. Bison can be found in several areas of Utah, including the Henry Mountains and Antelope Island. They are hunted on a limited basis in the state.

Bison prefer plains, grassland, and open woodland habitats. The large free- ranging herds from pre-1900 made long migrations (several hundred miles) between winter and summer ranges, but today's bison make much shorter migrations, or do not migrate at all. Females typically give birth to one calf in early spring, but may give birth as late as mid summer. Bison are grazers that mainly feed on grasses, although other vegetation may also be consumed.

Sources:

  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.

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