Bison In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Bison In Colorado
Bison In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Close-up, bison are as fierce as they are awe-striking. But though bison are well-known as superior to North America, their presence today is not as wild as their importance. Is it the same for bison even in Colorado?

Below In this article, I’ve explained everything you need to know about the Bison In Colorado, their history in the state, and where you can see them in the wild. 

Are There Bison In Colorado?

There are more than a hundred bison across various supervised herds in Colorado, and the population of bison across the West is about 25,000, which has also been increasing in the past few decades. 

These herds are genetic descendants of the American bison that were hunted to almost extinction for a century. As Colorado’s protected herds persist to grow, managing processes have become more accurate, and they are readily available for viewing across the state.

Are There Buffalo Or Bison In Colorado?

First thing, the term “buffalo”, which applies to the North American species, is incorrect. The famous animal’s proper name is “bison.” 

Why the wrong title? Well, this goes way back to the European settlers who arrived in America across the Atlantic. They always called them, “buffalo”. They had a valid reason as they look similar to the African buffalo. Though they are similar, they are not related, and the right term for the species in the state is “bison.”  

History Of Bison In Colorado?

As narrated in numerous history books, millions of bison wandered in the continent before European settlement. They ranged wide and far but were especially countless in the Great Plains, where they sustained Indigenous peoples for many years. When we constructed railroads across the continent after the Civil War, things quickly shifted against bison.

Hunters immediately wiped out the herds. By the end of the 1880s, just a few scattered bison endured in the remote forests of Yellowstone National Park. Colorado, just like other states, was bereft of bison. Bison were not sole in the massacre. 

Market hunters devastated even other animals like elk, pronghorn, and deer. However, beginning in the early 1900s, wildlife agencies and hunters set to function on reviving these wildlife inhabitants. Within a few years, bison were revived to comparative abundance, along with other animals.

Are There Bison In Denver?

Bison In Colorado
Bison In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Denver maintains a bison herd which is around twenty miles to the west in Genesee Park, Colorado. They are the direct descendants of the final wild herd bison population in the U.S. 

They originate from the herd of bison that was brought from Denver Zoo and Yellowstone National Park in the year 1914, as a conservation effort. 

Today, the Genesee Park bison are known for their, noticeable shoulder humps, and the DNA test, indicating that the herd is a rare sign of the actual American bison. 

They are handled by Denver Mountain Parks. If lucky enough, you can spot them when heading west from Denver on the I-70, where you can look for the sign “Buffalo Herd Overlook” and then take Exit 254 to see some right from the road.

Also Read About Bison In California

Can You Own Bison In Colorado?

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, wildlife must stay in the wild as these animals are not only happy in the wild, but a few are flat-out too destructive to own. 

It is, however, legal to own bison in Colorado if you own a huge land and a big pooper scooper for the bison. Though they can be owned by the residents of Colorado, these animals must comply with laws of the state health and agriculture divisions that deal with animal health and welfare. 

Can You Hunt Bison In Colorado?

If you are a big gaming hunter, you are lucky to live in the best states that allow the hunting of large gaming animals.  But, you will never get a bison tag. This is because Colorado does not issue one for public herds. 

As bison are native to Colorado and were almost wiped out during the early 1900s, and has been only recently introduced, the Colorado state government does not allow the hunting of bison on public lands. 

However, if you still want to test your hunting skills then you can try hunting bison on private lands. The hunting seasons on private land are open all time of the year.

What Us State Has The Most Bison?

Many would have guessed Wyoming as Yellowstone National Park has a huge number of herds wandering in the park. A few others would have assumed Montana the state has a history with the species, and many ranches that host dozens of animals across the state. 

Surprisingly, it’s neither of the two. It is South Dakota which is home to more than 33 thousand Bison. The state not only has large herds at Badlands National Park and Custer State Park, but many tribal locations are also home to them. Bison have also been an important part of the history of South Dakota. 

Also Check Our Guide On Bison In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Bison In Colorado. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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