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Visit the Bison off Route 80

Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, Fremont, Ind.

On our way to Illinois for Christmas, David and I stopped at the Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, which is off Route 80 in Indiana, just a few miles from the Ohio border. We arrived on Christmas Eve. The guide, Three Paws, let Jolly come into the lodge, where he cooked us buffalo burgers for lunch. He explained that the ranch was started by a doctor who wanted to see the buffalo preserved and eventually opened it up to the public. David and Jolly stayed back (dogs spook buffalo), while I got to drive out to the herd with Three Paws. They keep the buffalo wild, don’t touch them. A grandmother runs the herd and decides when they are through with the pasture they’re in. She signals the humans by standing apart (in the wild she’d be off exploring), then she charges in alone to the new pasture (in the wild, she’d be looking for predators).
The ranch takes to heart the native America spiritual beliefs about the buffalo. A local tribe blessed the ranch and it’s the site of primitive camps and gatherings for descendants of Native Americans. The grandma buffalo will decide when her time has come by separating herself from the herd. In the wild, she’d be taken by predators. Here she is taken by the humans, who then honor her by posting her skull in this display.

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