Bison | Prairie Public Broadcasting


The term “Nantucket sleigh ride” goes back to the days of whaling. Men in a small wooden boat would harpoon a whale. When the whale rapidly swam off, it towed the boat behind. The whalers had to hang on for dear life as they traveled at an alarming rate of speed. When the whale tired, they could get close enough to kill it. On this date in 1906, the Washburn Leader shared the story of a “Great Plains sleigh ride” that almost happened. It didn’t involve a whale, but it was alarming in its own way.

As Bison Became Rare

Jan 28, 2020

Bison are an ancient species, with fossils tracing their ancestors to over 400,000 years ago in Asia. Scientists believe that at some point, bison began crossing the land bridge that once connected to North America. They spread far and wide, all the way to Mexico and New England. But the largest concentration of bison was here on the Great Plains, with an estimated 60 million of roaming the Midwest. The abundance made bison an excellent source of food and materials for Native Americans. This way of life could have continued, had it not been for the white settlers who hunted the species to near extinction.

National Bison Range

May 27, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s love affair with Dakota Territory began with a North American bison. That infatuation never stopped. His first Badlands sojourn in 1883 was to hunt the disappearing western symbol. Throughout his life he exhibited fealty to habitat, protection, and wildlife, which included what TR called “The Lordly Buffalo.”

The Football Game

Dec 12, 2018

On this date in 1894, the Fargo Agricultural College football team won the inter-collegiate state championship. It beat the Grand Forks University team by a score of 24 to 4. It was not a game that was won without a bit of controversy. The object of contention involved a disputed player on each team.

New York State Assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt was a busy man in the summer of 1883. He and his wife, Alice, had bought a brownstone the autumn before. Construction was underway of their country house on Long Island. His account of the naval battles of the War of 1812 had just been released after three years work and would become a bestseller. There were his legislative duties, which caused Roosevelt quite a bit of stress. And there was also the lure of big game.

Great Plains Bison

May 30, 2018

Dan O’Brien speaks for the American bison. He has observed the resurgence of bison numbers on the plains over the past generation. The species is no longer endangered per se. Genetically, the union of previously inbred lines in the burgeoning herds of the twenty-first century has improved and restored the animal. Still, O’Brien is not impressed.