Bison herd roams Fresno County
FRESNO, California (KFSN) -- The sight of grazing bison has always drawn double takes among Valley motorists lucky enough to spot them at their home on the range.
Strong winds whipped through Western Fresno County but as the dust settled a majestic image appeared. Along Highways 198 and 33, an iconic silhouette is enough to stop travelers in their tracks.
Coalinga rancher Chuck Herrin said, "Oh my goodness gracious. It's a real tourist attraction for people coming from the Valley going to the coast and vice versa."
Chuck Herrin's ranch has become a place where the buffalo roam. His father-in-law Homer Worth bought the first two 18 years ago. "He thought it'd be cool to have some bulls. He wanted a herd."
Technically they are bison but the term buffalo has long been accepted throughout American history.
"Buffalo Bill" Cody was a colorful old west figure. The buffalo nickel is coveted by coin collectors and "Ralphie" still leads the Colorado Buffaloes onto the football field.
Herrin said, "As the sun starts to go down you'll see silhouettes running around and they'll start romping around and playing."
A few thousand head in Yellowstone National Park make up the largest wild bison herd. Millions once roamed the prairie but their number today is estimated at under 500,000.
17 of them jockey for position on this dirt mound. It provides the best view of the lay of the land. But the title of king of the hill doesn't last long. Someone else always butts in to take over the top spot. Herrin explained, "They can get aggressive."
Other animals must be separated. Herrin recalled the time his dominant bull battled a Texas longhorn bull. "The buffalo bull literally picked this guy up and slung him and his hind end went over the fence and into another pen."
They keep a close eye on each other and sometimes test the locks and steel pipe fence.
Normally the herd has room to roam in a pasture but dry conditions this year kept Herrin from growing oat hay. Still, they get plenty of cool water to drink as well as food to graze on.
The bison and the bald eagle have become US emblems. Statues of both welcome you to the family's property which Herrin noted is located on Buffalo Lane, of course. "Where the buffalo roam. Oh yeah I know where your house is so it's quite the conversation piece."
Fresno County approved the name change on the road many years ago. The family doesn't raise the bison to sell the meat. They just like to have them around.
animal, coalinga, fresno county, bizarre, dale yurong
- Fresno State defeats Utah State 24-17
- Deputies search for missing 31-year-old Huron man
- Highway 41 closed near Tenaya Lodge
- Train hits pedestrian and dog in Central Fresno
- Video: Mountain communities wake up to snow
- Nelson Mandela family: 'We have lost a great man'
- Reindeer escapes from Santa at Colorado mall
- Toys for Tots marathon kicks off at River Park
- Pearl Harbor ceremony marks attack anniversary
- One injured in Central Fresno drive-by shooting
- Animal shelter seeks donations to keep dogs warm
- Freezing temperatures take toll on small Valley farms
- Police increase patrols on Fulton Mall after shooting
- Valley utility workers gear up for freezing weather