The Great Buffalo Capture in Cerrillos NM
AKA Tom's Buffalo Shuffle
The Buffalo Capture Heart is beautifully represented in this fabulous painting by Craig Kosak! The American Bison has been a very important element of the history of the American West!
August 2005 --- Buffalo capture suddenly had a new meaning!! Imagine coming home one day to find a small herd of buffalo in your driveway! 6 moms, 5 babies... WOW!
We had heard tales of a small herd being seen a few miles downriver near the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park.
Buffalo Mountain (seen here with Susie and Z just below, riding the Galisteo River) is a Sacred Mountain of the Santo Domingo Indian Tribe north of Albuquerque; ''The Buffalo'' were seen near this mountain---we never got to see them ourselves, had always hoped to, but they seemed to have disappeared........
AMAZING, here there were right in our own pasture!!!
( BTW, Monte and Lana have a gorgeous White Buffalo named Beau; he and our baby YAK
Solo met at the Madrid Chile Festival--watch their little movie, Yak or Bison, Who's The Boss? )
Someone had cut the fence on his ranch/lease and 6 pregnant cows escaped. Seems 5 calved, and the 11 of them had been having a great Buffalo Adventure of their own!
My darling hubby Tom Fulker is an amazing trouble shooter & puzzle solver. What better problem to solve that capturing a small bison herd! Monte was very concerned about our horses; bison with calves will gore a horse.
More worries for Monte....... it was his thought, as protection to humans and horses, to just shoot them all and turn them into Buffalo, The Heart-Smart Red Meat, as their horns are SO sharp, and can do mortal harm to horses, people, or automobiles. But he did not have the heart to do that, and besides, it would be a monumental thing to put all of them down at once.......
Here are the Nutrition Comparisons for BISON MEAT vs. beef, pork, and skinless chicken. Buffalo: The Natural & Healthy Choice!
TOM'S BRAIN TO THE RESCUE!!! Buffalo love potatoes, and Monty gets them from the San Luis Valley of Colorado by the semi-truck-load! In addition, they were coming up to our round-bale feeders and also for the horses' water!
It was fortuitous that our friends from Calif. were here, and Chris had his great camera; he got tons of terrific photos; thank you Chris!
Thankfully, bison don't colic, but horses sure do.....
Clicking the link gives Tips for Prevention and ''Cure'' of Equine Colic. This method has given us 99.999% success since 1976.
We also use a great Non Toxic Fly Spray
, healthy to horses, humans, and the planet! And if you can get close enough, safe for bison too!!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tom begins to build a BIG fence surrounding the round bale feeders. When the fence is about 1/2 way around the field, Monte brings his reinforced steel Buffalo Trailer, and some special fencing to make a lane into which, hopefully, the bison would race, right into the trailer! Oh how I wish I had a video camera back then!!
All of this prompted Monte to buy a buffalo capture
corral---what an amazing piece of equipment!!! To watch it IN ACTION, here is the YouTube
of one very mad, 1750 lb. ferrel steer putting it to the test! (He had lived in our Bosque for several years, and no cowboy had been able to rope him...then Tom used his buffalo capture skills to round him up!)
Meanwhile, back at the Buffalo Capture Field....
Slowly over the next couple of weeks, we put up one corral panel at a time, and not just any panel---VERY TALL ones made especially for bison; if a bison can see over a fence, he WILL jump it!
To shore up the panels, we put some 1500 pound round bales next to them. Buffalo will normally not go thru something solid, plus should they run into the panels, they would be really solid!
Monte's Nightmare...the bison would get on the highway and hurt someone. Just a couple of nights before the Big Capture, they did just that. The entire herd crossed Highway 14 (Turquoise Trail), and crashed thru the fence into the neighbor's field to graze their tall grass. This was about midnight, and another neighbor Gregory was on his way home from his restaurant, Dinner For Two in Santa Fe. Very dark night, very dark bison..... his little yellow truck ended up with a bison horn cap (the part that comes off as protection against losing the entire horn) thru the radiator. WHEW! Thankfully there was relatively minor damage to the truck, and the buffalo lived to tell the tale as well!
Susan and Tom peek over the solid fence, hardly believing their eyes!!! At long last, the entire herd is confined and soon will be back at their home---the New Mexico State Prison!! Well, the big adobe corrals on prison land, right next to the Penitentiary.....
AT LONG LAST....Buffalo Capture Day!!
This is the lane Tom & Monte invented; the solid canvas sides will help funnel the bison herd into that double thick steel reinforced trailer.....
Lo and Behold, the buffalo herd is back the next morning!! Happily munching hay and potatoes.... was THIS the day we had been waiting for??
We slowly drive the big truck down to the corral, blocking the gate, and carefully get out and Tom sneaks around and closes the big gate. The bison look at us, but are not too suspicious.
Quick Call Monte!!! Call the neighbors!! Within 2 hours everyone is assembled. NOW the herd is getting a bit worried and they start milling around....
Monte and his son Cody have rigged a buffalo capture ''wall,'' long 2x4s with canvas.... they can run behind the herd without being seen too much; that large white wall should do the trick!
WOW WOW WOW!! In under 5 seconds, all 11 bison were in that trailer; loads of banging around, the trailer nearly jumping off it's wheels! Looking inside, everyone seemed to be ok, and all calves were accounted for and standing up! There was a collective sigh of relief, lots of laughs and tall tales! This Buffalo Capture story would be told for years to come!
What an anti-climax when Monte and Lana drove away, leaving only a big cloud of dust. No more early morning bison grunts, no more silent bison feet leaving the yard, no more dark chocolate brown creatures out in the pasture.......
We hope it won't happen again, but if the time comes for another Buffalo Capture, we'll know just how to do it!!!!
Have A Great Story About Buffalo You Have Known?
Do you have a great story about some buffalo in your neighborhood, or ones you have seen on a trip? Share it!