Friday, November 28, 2008

Route 22, Where the Buffalo Roam...



Since joining the Wolf Conservation Center as a volunteer, I’ve been lucky to see and do a lot of things I never thought I’d experience. Today, driving down Route 22 in the Center's pickup truck brought yet another situation I never even dreamed of. Sure I’ve driven cars and ridden my bike on various sections of that road before, but I’ve never done it with one, let alone two, buffalo riding along with me as I did today. Yes, buffalo, and no, they weren’t alive anymore.

The story behind this is rather simple. The good folks up at Gem Farms Buffalo in Castleton, New York raise buffalo on a natural grass diet free of antibiotics or hormones and sell the meat. When a couple of their older buffalo recently died of natural causes, the owners of the farm called us (as they had on a couple of previous occasions) to see if we could use the meat. Having 28 hungry canine mouths to feed, we were more than happy to accept their generous offer.

The procedure couldn’t have been simpler: I drove in, and they simply loaded the buffalo onto the bed of the pickup using a forklift. I posted a few photos of that operation here because it was such a unique sight. (Obviously don’t click on the link if you think the images might upset you.)

A few minutes later I was on the road again. The ride back seemed a lot shorter than the trip up, probably because on the way back I got to pass the time watching people’s reactions as they realized what was in the back of the truck.

Thanks again to Gem Farms Buffalo. Check them out if you’re looking for buffalo meat, which is not only tasty but also low in cholesterol and fat, or any sort of gift having to do with buffalo.

If you want to see buffalo roaming free in the wild like these , I suggest you visit Yellowstone National Park if you can. Our friends Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston at Yellowstone Wolf Tracker offer amazing guided experiences in the park that give you ample opportunity to view Yellowstone’s diverse wildlife, including, of course, wolves. We also recommend the Yellowstone Association Institute, which offers a wide range of educational programs that feature plenty of time for wildlife watching.

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