State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park

Bison

Members of the Texas State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park is home to living history: the State Bison Herd.

The herd was started by Charles Goodnight back in the 1870s. And it’s one of the five foundation herds that all bison today pretty much come from.

Unchecked slaughter of Bison nearly brought them to extinction. Mary Goodnight, wife of legendary Texas rancher Charles Goodnight, encouraged her husband to capture calves to save the species. The 130 or so bison roaming Caprock Canyons today are direct descendants of those animals.

There is about 12-thousand acres of bison range in the park. Just about everything that’s open to the public is open to the bison. You can run into them almost everywhere in the park.

Donald Beard, Park Superintendent, says although bison roam freely, visitors must not interact with them.

We do everything we can to keep the park visitor and the animal safe. We educate the visitors as they come in. There are signs. As they come into the visitor center, they’re hand a safety message pamphlet that talks about what to do if you run into a bison on the trail. We just have to keep telling visitors that this is a bison range; of course the bison have the right-of-way. So, the best thing you can do if you run along a bison on a trail is find a shade tree, get out your camera, take some pictures, and wait for them to move on.

Tomorrow: the annual Texas Bison Music Fest.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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