Bison and Molasses, a Good Combination

May 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 21-4: Native American Studies, Summer 2010, Tribal College News

With the spring calving season fast approaching, the Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) Bison Extension Education program hosted its 4th Annual Bison workshop on March 11, 2010.

Twenty-three participants attended from across the Great Plains region, including people from Sioux Falls, SD, Minot, ND and several enrolled members of the Fort Berthold and Cheyenne River Reservations. The workshop also hosted two individuals from the state of Washington, who traveled all the way to the Standing Rock Reservation to learn more about bison care and management.

Sitting Bull College Bison Project Coordinator, Dr. Rick DeLoughery said, “Workshop participants learned about user-friendly care of bison, business management strategies and herding techniques, including new fencing styles and corral design techniques.” DeLoughery heads up the Sitting Bull College Bison Extension Education program, where he manages 14 head of bison that are used for educational purposes.

Featured speaker and wildlife specialist, Duane Lammers, has been working with bison since 1977. “There are a lot of things about these animals that are handled differently by private individuals versus bison production companies,” Lammers said. “Human creativity is the big difference between corporations and privately owned buffalo ranches.”

Lammers, an experienced bison care and management consultant, believes human creativity among private individuals is demonstrated by their use of technology, including ATVs, modern fencing materials, GPS imaging and user-friendly techniques in caring for their herds.

“It’s amazing what huge strides a person can make by using a little imagination and human creativity when caring for buffalo,” Lammers said. “During a past project of mine, I used molasses on some noxious weeds instead of chemical sprays and the buffalo were immediately attracted to the molasses and grazed the weeds down to nothing.”

Other workshop highlights included one-man round-up methods, information about the bison market and proven care techniques that may help private owners understand their herds a little better.

“In the near future, our bison program will conduct a grazing demonstration with bison yearlings,” DeLoughery said. “We are interested in determining if weight gain increases with yearlings when they are kept with bison cows instead of isolating them.”

The Sitting Bull College Bison program is based in McLaughlin, South Dakota at the college’s remote campus.

For more information about the Sitting Bull College Bison Care and Management program contact Rick DeLoughery at (605) 823-4318 or send an email to rickd@sbci.edu.

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