Friday, August 14, 2009

Feeding the Bison

One of the highlights of my TRT experience came on my last full day as a Ranger....

I was absolutely ecstatic when I learned that Chickasaw has a bison herd! I couldn't wait to see them and on my first day in the Park when Mark and I had driven up only minutes before, we went in search of finding the bison.

Then, pretty early on in my ranger experience I found out that there is actually a person who gets to feed the bison!!! DREAM JOB! I instantly asked Lauren if there is some way I could partake in one of the feedings. She introduced me to Precious, and later when Steve returned from vacation, she introduced me to Steve as well. Both of them work in the Resource Management division of the park and feeding the bison is one of their job responsibilities.

I was given the go-ahead feed the bison!! Precious, Lauren and I would set up the date!!!

On my last day, August 12, it came to fruition!

We met Precious early in the morning.

I was beside myself with excitement. Lauren, Jen and I were all going on this adventure with Precious together.

Jen decided to ride in the cab with Precious and Lauren and I eagerly climbed in the back of the truck. This wasn't just any truck--it was a special bison viewing and feeding truck!

I felt like I was going on a safari!

I was soooo excited!

Precious gave Lauren and I the bucket of "cubes." The cubes weren't really cubes, but rather pellets.

These aren't just any cubes/pellets...they are what the bison are fed. The bison graze in the pasture but during respective seasons receive supplemental feedings. That's what we were doing---going in to deliver the extra food.

Precious instructed us to not use them all at once and to throw them out away from the truck when the bison come running.

We opened the gate, drove through, had the gate shut behind us and we were off....

It didn't take long before the bison came running toward the truck!

It was startling! They are very fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Much faster than I thought they would be!

In my haste to get them away from the truck I threw 90% of the cubes---much to Lauren's horror.

It was amazing--the bison just started to hoover the pellets up from the ground.

Lauren, meanwhile, was in a panic because I had hastily thrown most of the pellets overboard.

Precious was summoned and quickly handed us more pellets, also in disbelief that I had thrown so many of the pellets overboard so quickly.

We took some photos of the bison eating and then decided that with most of the cubes gone (including the new ones that Precious had handed us) that we should leave them in peace.

We drove out, and were finished with our feeding in less than 15 minutes. It was an exciting 15 minutes and rounded out my awesome experiences as a ranger!

Thank you Lauren, Precious and Steve!!!!! I know it's something I'll be talking about for years to come!!!!