National Bison Day 2022: History, Significance and Facts

American Bison or simply called as Bison is the largest mammal of North America and it has a day in its honor too as it is annually celebrated on every first Saturday of November as the National Bison Day in the United States which means this year it falls on 5th November. 

Did you know that, the American bison was named the national mammal of the United States on May 9th, 2016. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of the country now. 

The day is celebrated at sites involved in the conservation of American bison. In addition to organizing, sponsoring and attending local bison-related events and celebrations, the Beards for Bison campaign encouraged supporters to discuss National Bison Day on social media via hashtags and selfies. 

Event National Bison Day
Date November 5, 2022
Day Saturday
Significance The day honors and celebrates the Bison
Observed by United States


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National Bison Day History: 

In prehistoric times, millions of bison roamed the full continent of North America from the forests of Alaska and the grasslands of Mexico to Nevada’s Great Basin and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. But by the late 1800s, there were only a few hundred bison left in the United States after European settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to near extinction. Then it was because of the conservation efforts carried out by local tribes, authorities of state and local departments that we were able to save bisons from extinction. However they still faces a threat of extinction today.

The history of bison and Native Americans are intertwined. Bison have been integral to tribal culture, providing them with food, clothing, fuel, tools, shelter and spiritual value for a very long period of time in the American continent and then after the colonization of the Americas the colonizers also became fascinated with them however they mostly used these bisons for fur or skin trade which led to drastic reduce in the numbers of bisons in the American continent. However later because of the conservarions there numbers have risen but still they face threats of extinction. 

American bison are now considered to be at-risk and in need of special attention. As far back as 1907, US President Theodore Roosevelt wrote about the misfortune it would be to let this species go extinct. Them it was in 1992 when The InterTribal Indian Council was formed with an aim not only to return bison to tribal lands, but also to create culturally-sensitive educational programs and provide both technical resources and help to 56 tribes. Later because of their efforts the first conservation agreement between an environmental organization and a diverse collective of Native American tribes was agreed upon in 1997 to combine efforts to return wild bison to tribal land. 

To celebrate the significance that the bison has played to America and its history, National Bison Day has been officially recognized by the US Senate each year since 2013. The National Bison Legacy Act was signed into law by US President Barack Obama in May 2016, which happily ended a successful “Vote Bison” campaign to make the bison the national mammal of the United States. 


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National Bison Day Significance: 

Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. The bulls leave the herds of females at two or three years of age, and join a herd of males, which are generally smaller than female herds. Mature bulls rarely travel alone. Towards the end of the summer, for the reproductive season, the sexes necessarily commingle. American bison are known for living in the Great Plains, but formerly had a much larger range, including much of the eastern United States and parts of Mexico.

Bison was a significant resource for indigenous peoples of North America for food and raw materials until near extinction in the late 19th century. For the indigenous peoples of the Plains, it was their principal food source. Native Americans highly valued their relationship with the bison and saw them as sacred, treating them respectfully to ensure their abundance and longevity. So we can see that bisons always had a huge cultural significance in the Americas. 

Humans, notably European settlers, were almost exclusively accountable for the near-extinction of the American bison in the 1800s. At the beginning of the century, tens of millions of bison roamed North America. Pioneers and settlers slaughtered an estimated 50 million bison during the 19th century, although the causes of decline and the numbers killed are disputed and debated. However it is sure that it was because of human activities like destruction of their habitats, hunting for trade, pollution, etc. 

Bison is a beautiful creature and now it is also an official mammal of the United States,  so it definitely deserves to be appreciated and conserved. It is very essential to conserve this beautiful creature so that our future generations also get to witness this beautiful and amazing creature. As a human species we have already lost many great and amazing species from our world and now we can’t afford to lose any as this can also cause serious damages to our ecosystem in the long run which can cause several natural disasters all across the world and that’s why it is necessary to prevent that kind of situation. 


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National Bison Day Facts: 

Let’s learn about some interesting and fascinating facts about this massive and beautiful creature: 

  1. ​If a bison’s tail is hanging down and moves naturally from side to side, the animal is relaxed. But when the tail stands straight up, it’s a signal the bison is getting ready to charge.
  2. Bison are the largest mammal in North America. Male bison (called bulls) weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall, while females (called cows) weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach a height of 4-5 feet. 
  3. Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times. 
  4. Bison may be big, but they are also fast. They can run up to 35 miles per hour. Plus, they are extremely agile.
  5. Bison calves tend to be born from late March through May and are orange-red in color, earning them the nickname “red dogs.” 
  6. ​The American bison is not only the country’s official mammal; the bison is also the state mammal of Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Most Searched FAQs on National Bison Day: 

1. When is National Bison Day celebrated? 

National Bison Day is annually celebrated on every first Saturday of November in US. 

2. Are bison friendly to humans? 

Bison are not friendly. They may approach you because they are accustomed to seeing humans and they are curious. Do not mistake their curiosity for affection.

3. Is a bison a buffalo? 

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, buffalo and bison are distinct animals. Old World “true” buffalo (Cape buffalo and water buffalo) are native to Africa and Asia. Bison are found in North America and Europe. Both bison and buffalo are in the bovidae family, but the two are not closely related. 

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