The Next Great Hunt

By Anne Sherwood (Photography)

In the late 1800s American bison were nearly hunted out of existence—their numbers plummeted to fewer than 1,000. Over the last century the population has rebounded, and today nearly 500,000 of the enormous herbivores live in state and national parks and on private land. It seemed as though bison had been saved, until researchers realized that most bison have a smattering of cattle genes—the consequence of ranchers crossbreeding bison and cattle. Now, conservationists like those at the American Prairie Foundation in north-central Montana are trying to save the purest bison to prevent the species from going extinct. To learn more about bison conservation efforts, read Jim Robbins’ article in the current issue of Plenty.