(originally posted July 15, 2016)
I was so surprised when I saw these two little brown ears tucked in the tall grass next to the fence.
I was on my 4 wheeler, Hawk (yes, that is his name) going great guns through tall grass, praying I was on trail and not about to hit anything hidden. I was out scouting the buffalo herd; looking for signs to explain why they had just traveled home so suddenly. I had previously spotted them miles east in a pasture shoulder deep in grass. This home pasture called “Turtle Pond” is visible from the ranch and has been depleted from all the spring grazing as this is their favorite calving ground. Sometimes I think they like to show off as proud mothers but buffalo tend to want privacy and hidden groves to calve.
Not understanding, I was determined to take the herd back up the mountain to better grass and cooler temperatures. I have the herd just at the gate when they turned like a flock of birds and quickly returned to where we started. This is so unusual. I am stumped but know there is no way I am moving those buffalo if they are not willing to go. I head home.
I am cruising along my neighbors’ fence line when I spotted a lone buffalo cow and this fur ball with those two little brown ears. It got my attention because the Mom was all by herself, removed from the rest of the herd and we usually calve in May not July. I stop and of course Mom signals the little one to get up and move away. Newborn buffalo calves are always this beautiful bright cinnamon color with relatively short hair or fur. This little one was very furry and almost fluffy. I had to grin with delight. That is why the buffs were home and why they were not leaving.
180 buffalo traveled miles to safeguard this birth and will leave only when they can all go together. Oh, to live in a world where each life is held so dear.