Does South Dakota Have the Most Bison in the U.S.?
Three states are in contention for the most bison in the U.S. Is South Dakota one of them?
The American Bison once roamed large swaths of the U.S. in herds as far as the eye could see. At one point in time, bison could be found in much of Canada, the United States, and even Mexico.
That all changed when the railroads came through, as new settlers began killing the animal off in dangerous numbers. But thanks to conservation efforts, the bison population levels have rebounded and these days the animal is thriving. But which U.S. state has the most bison?
My first guess was Wyoming. It's the first place I think of when I think about bison. Yellowstone has a number of large herds roaming the park. If you've ever been, you've likely seen them all over the place.
Montana is another strong contender for most bison. The state has a long history with the animal, and a number of parks and ranches are host to dozens of herds across the state. Surprisingly though, it's neither of those. So, which state has more bison than any other? That would be South Dakota.
At last count, South Dakota is home to over 33 thousand Bison. Nebraska comes in second, followed by Montana, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Not only does South Dakota have large herds of Buffalo at Custer State Park and Badlands National Park, but many tribal areas are also home to large numbers of the animal.
Bison are an important part of South Dakota's history. So much so, that it's surprising that the Coyote, not the Bison, is the state animal of South Dakota.
For more interesting facts on the Bison, check out the National Bison Association's website.
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