#6 777 Bison Ranch

In this episode, we continue our investigation of the Great Plains Bison with a visit to 777 Bison Ranch near Rapid City, South Dakota.  Owner Mimi Hilenbrandt and fellow operations manager Moritz Espy gave us a tour of the pastures and corrals.  Along the way, we discussed differences and similarities between bison and cattle, the possibility of a buffalo commons, their business model and how it affects the bison, and how their decades of Holistic Management and bison grazing have led to regeneration of the prairie landscape.  We also discussed a few of the complex questions the bison forces us to wrestle with.

You can find them at 777bisonranch.com.

In the episode I refer to a book about restoration bison ranching.  It’s called A Wild Idea, by Dan O’brien of Wild Idea Buffalo Company, whom you’ll hear from next episode.

Michael DiGiorgio recorded the banjo-bird jams I’m using in the intro and ending. You can find his amazing nature art at https://www.mdigiorgio.com. Mike says that if you’d like to buy the album of his nature-banjo jams, you can find his email on his website and he can mail you a CD.

Mimi and Moritz on a hilltop overlooking a large pasture
Mimi and Moritz talking buffalo on the hilltop overlooking the 777 prairie
The hydraulic controls and the chute the bison go down to get their shots and tests
Moritz at the controls for the chute gates and “neck stretcher” where the bison get shots and tests
Map of the paddocks
Map of the paddocks
Their Holistic Planned Grazing worksheet
777’s Holistic Grazing Plan worksheet
We stopped the truck to inspect the grass covererage
We stopped the truck to inspect the grass coverage.
Bison in their native homeland
Bison in their native homeland

 

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