Twenty-Three plains bison (Buffalo) were transplanted in Delta Junction from Montana in 1928 by sportsman in an effort to return the species that had vanished some 500 years ago. The herd was slow to grow at first, but with the advent of the 90,000 acre bison range in 1979 the herd really increased.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game tries to keep the pre-calving rate at about 360 animals and the post calving, or the rate before the hunt begins, at about 475 animals. As many as 15,000 hunters pay a fee of $10 each to apply annually for about 120 permits. During summer the Buffalo live near the Alaska Range in the west side of the Delta River. It is the area where they were originally planted and they return there each year to calve. Their diet is made up of various grasses, sedges, browse, and willow, while on the summer range. But in the fall and winter they move to the Delta Agricultural Project and dine on barley, bluegrass, and oats, and hay (these are not Ethiopian Buffalo – these go where the food is).
From August until the end of March the Buffalo roam around the 90,000 acres feeding. The Buffalo hunt starts in October and ends in March. During August and September it is an ideal time to photograph and observe the herd. They are in large groups of 100 or 200 and have just arrived in the area with new calves. The whole herd appears to be in a playful mood. The white capped mountains make an excellent backdrop for picture taking and the Silver Fox Roadhouse is the place to stay during your photography excursion.