They represent not only the culture of the west but the
lifestyle of the Sioux Indians. "The buffalo have to be there
for our culture to exist. As we bring our herds back to health,
we will also bring our people back to health.” says Fred DuBray,
a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe.
|A few of
the Perfect 10 herd
They are so much a part of American
culture it's hard to imagine our country without them. Actually,
their correct name is
American bison. True buffalo are located in Africa and
Asia. Early pioneers began calling these great plains animals
"bufello" and modern variation of the name stuck.
Today, according to Defenders of the
Wild, the bison are almost “ecologically extinct” as a wild
species throughout most of their traditional range.
There are a few national parks and other
small wildlife areas that maintains small wild herds.
Yellowstone National Park has the largest population of wild
plains bison numbering around 4,000 and Wood Buffalo National
Park has the largest herd of approximately 10,000 wild wood
bison. There are two small herds of pure, wild Yellowstone bison
at Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian Reservations.
There is one place you can visit and get
up close to a small herd of native plains bison. Perfect 10
Bison and Hutchinson Organic Ranch near Rose, Nebraska is a
working buffalo ranch that offers tours and even has cabins
available for rentals. Dave and Sarah Hutchinson believe in
"back to nature."
|Dave with some buffalo bones
||One of the cabins
Perfect 10 ranch has a closed
self-sustaining herd of about 800 bison that roan across their
5,000 acres much as the bison did in the days of the pioneers.
The grass is natural prairie grass and it's watered when
necessary with pure artesian well water.
Dave or his son-in-law, Jason, will take you out in an ATV
and search for the herd
wherever they are grazing on the prairie.
|You can see from the ATV's frame
how close we were to these big guys
It's surprising how close these huge
shaggy animals will allow you to approach. Perhaps they sense
that Dave is going to do right by them.
He states, "I don't
bring in any animals to breed. I maintain the natural order.
All of these animals
were born and will die on this prairie. You want to keep the
great-great-grandmothers and the great-great-grandfathers around
because they teach the calves how to be buffalo. When it is time
to harvest they deserve to die with some dignity so I shoot them
here on the prairie rather than take them to some slaughter
|Dave's daughter, Sarah, serves
some Perfect 10 Bison Burgers
Harsh? Perhaps but natural. Much better
than overcrowded feed lots that smell of urine a mile away and
have animals packed on top of one another awaiting slaughter.
Perfect 10 Bison Ranch produces grass
fed, organic bison meat. Dave's wife, Sarah, prepared some bison
burgers for us on a grill. She explained that they were
pesticide free and twice as high in Beta-carotene as beef.
Along with the bison, the Hutchinson's
raise goats and some grass fed cattle. They offer health
seminars and school tours as well as ranch tours.
For most present day Americans, this is
as close to the old west as we will ever come.
For Dave Hutchinson and his family, this
way of life is like a sacred calling.
On our visit he welcomed us to the
Perfect 10 with the following statement:
Nebraska's Sandhills have always been a
land of big visions: Big Sky, Big Land, Big Horizons,
the sky meets the earth and the waters below that comes bubbling
up through the ground.
Where unending buffalo herds roamed
over limitless land. Where visionary pioneers followed
dreams to the western horizons. and man has lived with nature
since time immemorial.
A land of big visions, unimpeded by
man's works, allowing us to see into the soul of the Great
It is no accident that it was here that
Crazy Horse came for and received his Spirit Vision.p>
As a country, as American, we need this
space, this frontier preserved. Even if we never get here,
knowing it's here makes us different, makes us Americans.
We welcome you to this land of limitless
visions and hope that during the day, you will find
time to go off by
yourself and receive your own Spirit Vision. I would like to
note it took
Crazy Horse almost three days without eating or
drinking to receive his vision.
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