40 Interesting Facts About American Bison

Last updated on December 25th, 2022

Bison and Humans

33. Attacks on Humans

Bison will attack if provoked. Do not get too close because these can charge forward at any moment. In their eagerness to take pictures, several tourists in national parks learn this lesson the hard way.

34. Beware Beyond Bears

Bears are dangerous, but they are not the worst. You are three times more likely to get injured by a bison than a bear in Yellowstone Park. From 1980-1999, bison charged 79 people while bears injured 24.

35. Key to Survival

Early indigenous peoples were highly dependent on bison. It gave them food, shelter, tools, and clothes. However, they only hunted what they needed, helping them live in harmony for millennia.

36. White Buffalo Calf Woman

The native Lakota people believe in a supernatural being who saved their ancestors from famine. She taught them the seven sacred ceremonies to protect Mother Earth. They consider the birth of a white bison as a return of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

37. A Popular Symbol

The bison is the official state mammal of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. It is also the official animal of the Canadian province of Manitoba, even appearing on their flag.

Buffalo Nickel
Buffalo Nickel. Photo © John Sfondilias

38. Bison Coins

The beast appears on several US coins, the most famous of which is the Buffalo nickel that ran from 1913-1938. Designed by James Earle Fraser, it featured the profile of a Native American on one side and a bison on the other.

39. Bison in Sports

The bison is strong and sturdy – just like an athlete should be. Multiple sports teams use the animal as their mascot, including the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. Rumble the Bison even won mascot of the year for the 2008-2009 season.

40. The Original Trailblazers

Bison migration created enduring trails. Their hoofs pounded the ground and gave hunters a path to follow. Warriors, explorers, and pioneers also used these during their travels. Some of the traces eventually became the roads and railways we use today.