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Jumping Right In

Updated: Aug 28, 2019


My love for bison started a long time ago during my childhood days. One of my favorite movies I would watch any chance I could was “Dances with Wolves”. This movie influenced me more than I ever thought it would. Some of my favorite and memorable moments of that movie was watching the bison running on the open prairie. I also learned early how essential the bison were to the Native Americans. That movie drew my first close attention to the great plains roamer. I was really influenced by these majestic animals when I started working at Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, OK as a summer Biological Technician. I was very fortunate to work for the National Park Service during the summer months while attending college at Oklahoma State University. One of my daily assignments was to tend to the small bison herd located in the “bison pasture” in the park. In the bison pasture was where my first direct contact with a bison would take place. My timidness and first fear of these large mammals kept me humble and aware. It was when the only bull in the pasture, “Crooked Horn” would approach my colleague, Boone, and I for the satisfaction of a handful of 14% cattle cubes, would force you to quickly appreciate the mass and size of these animals. “Crooked Horn” and the rest of the small herd in the “bison pasture” gave us much experience and some unforgettable stories to tell. It was at Oklahoma State University in my mammalogy class when I was able to extensively understand the history of the bison when I did a research paper on the almost disappearance of the bison in the late 1800s. The history brought my attention to the conservation efforts of the bison today. My passion and appreciation grew more and more as I started to learn about these animals. I graduated, stopped working at the park, and moved on in life, starting my career as a coach and teacher. As time went on I endured the times I saw bison, wether it was on tv, social media, driving down the road, or on one of my favorite movies. 10 years down the road I just kept thinking of how awesome it would be to own my own. I started researching the bison industry today and see the benefits of owning them. Conservation of once an almost extinct mammal, a healthy meat choice, cool ass animals, and a possible side profit...this may not be a bad deal. My wife, Marisa and I had many conversation about starting a bison farm, but nothing very serious and until I started reaching out to current bison owners. My wife kept the encouragement going by saying, “you might as well now, or never”. So I reached out to some current bison owners, took in some good opinions and as much information as I could. All conversations led me to the “bison guru”, Doctor Gerald Parsons, a local veterinarian in Stratford, OK. I learned from several bison people that I need to get in contact with Doc Parsons if I was interested in buying some bison. So I called Doc and I told him my interest of possibly starting to raise bison. It didn’t take long for him to say, “well...I’ve got five yearlings if you are interested...4 heifers and a bull.” I was fearfully surprised and startled at the fact that he just offered me my first herd. Timidly and still unsure what I was getting my family into, I told him we were interested and would come look. The word “local” couldn’t be more of an advantage considering that his bison farm and vet clinic was located about 25 minutes from my parents place where we decided to put the bison. On March, 15 in 2018, my step Dad, Kevin, Marisa and I loaded up our very first herd of bison. Jumping right in, is what we did. Today we have six bison, with the addition of purchasing two bred heifers from the Quapaw tribe located in Northeastern Oklahoma. We just recently had two baby bull calves that were just added to the herd to make a total of eight bison. - Dusty Baker


#bison #buffalo #americanbison #bisonfarm #thisisoklahoma

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