Bison Calves at Dunn Ranch Prairie (The Nature Conservancy)

June 5, 2015

A bison calf on Dunn Ranch Prairie with its ever-vigilant mama.

Dunn Ranch Prairie has almost thirty new bison calves and I was fortunate to spend a few hours with the area manager, Randy Arndt, this week photographing some of them. After a long drive of about six hours, Joyce and I arrived around 5:30 p.m. and headed out with Randy to document some of the new arrivals. It’s not too hard to spot the calves out on the prairie as their red coats fell in nice contrast with the spring green prairie.

It didn’t take long for Randy to find part of the herd, along with 12 or 13 of the newcomers. Photographing them wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I had been warned that the little fellas often hid behind their mamas when a camera was around and that proved accurate. Also, I like to make images without a lot of clutter and it was a challenge to isolate just a mama with her calf due to all the other bison milling around in the same vicinity.



In this image, you get an up-close look at one of the reddish young bison, already sprouting horns at this young age. The herd quickly warmed up to Randy’s vehicle and I ended up using a 70 – 200 f/2.8 lens for the rest of the evening.



I enjoyed seeing the interaction between the cows and calves. Often the young stayed close and nursed, as in this image, but at other times they wandered around on their own in small groups.



It was a joy to see the young bison at Dunn Ranch and I hope The Nature Conservancy is able to make good use of the images for their brochures and other publications.

Now, as I said in the last edition, I need to tell you why we had to break camp at 4:15 a.m. I don’t sleep well in a tent, so I was checking the weather map around 4:00 a.m. when I saw several storm cells approaching our location. One of the warnings said 100% chance of heavy rain by 6:00 a.m. I whispered to Joyce, who has no trouble sleeping in a tent, “Are you awake?” Her response was, “I’m wide awake……now!” After I explained the situation, we chose to “get out of Dodge” before everything was soaked. As we loaded the car, the lightning flashed all around us so we knew we’d made a good call. As a matter of fact, it rained most of the way home.

By the time we made it back to Union, we were dead tired and just went to bed. Of course, I didn’t sleep long because I wanted to review the images and send some of them off to The Nature Conservancy.

Thanks again to the staff at Dunn Ranch Prairie for taking us in. My collaboration with The Nature Conservancy this spring has been quite wonderful. Don’t forget, you can head up to Dunn Ranch Prairie this month and see the bison calves for yourself during the open house. Staff will be giving tours along with a host of other activities. You can learn more about the event right here.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

4 comments on “Bison Calves at Dunn Ranch Prairie (The Nature Conservancy)”

  1. How lovely to see some of the wild bovines of this country! Thank you,Danny.

  2. Your images make me wonder what it was like to see thousands of these on the prairie 150 years ago. Nice images! Glad you were able to go on this trip and share it with us.

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