Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Longhorns and Bison

Donna and I drove out to the state park on Friday. We visit the park frequently to take shorter walks. There is a 3 mile loop near the headquarters, and we walk this trail several times each month. When we stopped at the gate to show our Texas Parks Pass, we noticed a sign about a longhorn and bison tour being given on the next day, Saturday. Always on the lookout for something to do, we decided to come back for the tour.

The tour began at 10:00 AM. The skies were a bit overcast, and a cool breeze was blowing fairly constantly. The ranger giving the tour loaded us in a trailer outfitted with benches and pulled us to a pasture off the main park road.

Our transportation to the pasture where the longhorns and bison were located.
The longhorns were being held in a pasture separate from the bison, but the two small herds were near each other so that we could see both groups easily. The longhorns were very tranquil, and we were able to walk among them. The star of the show was T-Bone, who let people feed and pet him.

Donna feeding and petting T-Bone. She wanted to take him home, but I didn't think he'd fit in the car.

The ranger was very good. He provided background on both herds and answered all our questions. If I understood correctly, there is another longhorn herd and bison herd in the north section of the park, larger than these herds. We'll be on the lookout the next time we visit that section of the park. If you've followed my blog for long, you know that we visit this park often. However, we've only seen the animals once or twice. They seldom venture along the fence lines where they are visible to the public, preferring instead to remain in more isolated areas.

I like this picture because the horns are so symmetrically developed.

T-Bone showing the classic markings of a longhorn. He proved to be very gentle, and he loved being fed by hand.

Longhorns have different coloring, unlike other breeds such as Black Angus or Charolais that are more uniform in appearance. Notice how the horns can develop differently as well, especially on the one almost in the center of this picture.
The bison were on the other side of the fence from the longhorns. The smaller bison (right center) is about a year old.
Bison are curious creatures. This one was keeping tabs on me.

Profile of a bison.

The tour lasted about an hour. Following the tour, Donna and I took a short hike in the park.

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