Bison Crossing (2014)

The mass and solidity of the bison have inspired a number of my paintings. Icons of the Great Plains, bison are powerful, shaggy behemoths, weighing up to two thousand pounds and standing up to six feet tall. Bison are nevertheless extraordinarily agile, able to spin on a dime, and jump fences. They are also strong swimmers, and almost oblivious to extreme cold or sweltering heat. Despite their size and strength, bison were nearly exterminated by man. In prehistoric times, millions of bison roamed 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, only a few hundred bison remained in the United States. Settlement of the west reduced the animal's habitat, and hunting decimated bison populations to near extinction. Had it not been for a few private individuals working with tribes, states and the Interior Department, bison would be extinct today. The recovery of the bison is one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time, and naming the bison as our national mammal is a fit tribute to this stately, majestic creature.

Bison Crossing

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