One of the highlights of my trip to Indiana was visiting the Broken Wagon Bison Farm. It should come as no surprise that I have spent little time on a farm and, while I love animals, I don’t have any experience with farm animals, much less semi-wild bison! This was the largest animal I had ever come into contact with, and I was in awe. They are such beautiful and majestic creatures.
It is hard to imagine wild bison roaming the lands that would become Indiana. But before settlers almost wiped out these majestic creatures, they freely roamed nearly the entire North American continent. On the farm, we learned all about the history of the American Bison (not buffalo FYI). Passionate about saving bison, plucky farmers Wally and Bud cracked feminist bison jokes — apparently no means no in the bison world — and educated us on the animals and their repopulation. While bottle-baby Daisy licked my boot and 1,600-pound Touch the Sky begged for more treats, Bud explained that by 1900, only about 1,000 bison remained from the estimated 70 million that once to roamed the continent! Looking into Daisy’s big brown eyes it is hard to image that early European explorers and settlers slaughtered these temperate creatures en masse.
The good news is that the repopulation efforts by farmers like Wally and Bud have worked. Today there are herds of bison in every US state (even Florida, who knew!). Efforts are made to trade across the county and diversify the gene pool, with the ultimate goal being to reintroduce wild, free roaming bison into natural habitats.
If you find yourself visiting Northwest Indiana, be sure to add the Broken Wagon Bison Farm to your travel plans! It is truly a unique experience.
Have you even seen a bison in person?