Buffalo ~ I lived to tell the tale

I decided to do something I’ve been MEANING to do forever.
I drove over to a buffalo herd near me.

Yes, there’s a buffalo herd near me.

And took some pictures.
I just love the way buffalo look and I’ve driven by them a zillion times and stare like crazy because I find them fascinating. But I never pull over and just take a real look.




I’m especially interested in them because I’ve got a book coming out in October called Buffalo Gal. In fact it might be the other way around. I think my fascination with those buffalo is what inspired the book. I just think they’re the coolest, weirdest creatures. The longer you look at them the stranger they look. The way their heads are so huge and their back ends are so slender, completely at odds with their heads.


It’s like God was just having a good old time when he created them.

Anyway, today I did it. Pulled over. This herd is just outside Winnebago, Nebraska on the Winnebago Indian Reservation.

Look how close this guy is to the fence. I could have gotten really close to them. Instead I just used the zoom lens.

This fence looked pretty sturdy and there’s an inner electric fence,

you can kind of make out the two thin strands of it.

I’m sure the whole time the buffalo was smashing through it he’d be going,

“Ouch, ouch, yowee, yikes, that smarts.”

Then he’d be through and CHARGE!

I just kept flashing on a headline in the Omaha World Herald.

Woman gored to death by buffalo
Mary Connealy, while photographing a buffalo walked right up to it and it killed her. Duh! ***

Yes, the World Herald would put DUH in the headline.
You know they would.
How could they resist?
If the buffalo hadn’t taken me out, 




I’d personally insist they carve DUH on my tombstone.


EVERY PERSON who read that story would think….
“Good riddence, get someone that stupid out of the gene pool.”





They might hunt down everyone related to me, too, just to strengthen the species.

 ***(Disclaimer…the above headline is fake. I am alive. The World Herald has never…to my knowledge mocked a person killed regardless of the stupidity of the actions of said dead person)


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38 thoughts on “Buffalo ~ I lived to tell the tale”

  1. Hi Mary, I would like to live near close enough to this herd to see these great animals up close and personal. After the horrific slaughter of the 1800’s, only 23 bison remained. Boo, hiss.

    There are a few running around Catalina Island, part of Los Angeles County, left over from a long-ago movie. I like them too.

    Congratulations on Buffalo Gal.

  2. We have a farmer in Franklin, TN that has a couple of Buffalo, they are amazing looking animals. I, like you have always wanted to see them up close but as of yet have not.

    You never fall to make me smile or laugh out loud.

    Off to work, ladies have a great day.

  3. We have a farmer in Franklin, TN that has a couple of Buffalo, they are amazing looking animals. I, like you have always wanted to see them up close but as of yet have not.

    You never fail to make me smile or laugh out loud.

    Off to work, ladies have a great day.

  4. cool photos. I am going to a park in Washington state when i visit in 5 weeks and 2 days (but whos counting)
    looking forward to reading Buffalo Gal.

  5. Mary..thanks for the early morning chuckles! You never fail me in that department! I still have not gotten a chance to read any of your books…but I promise….you are on my list of authors to read! I can’t wait to read them!

  6. Sherry, I wish I’d gotten closer now. Surely that fence would have held. I’ve been back past this herd a few times since I took this picture and that pen they’re in is really large. I noticed last time I went by that they were a long ways from the fence, so I got really lucky to have them so close.

  7. Hi, Ausjenny. Have a great time in America. So, in Australia it’s … kangaroo running around loose?

    I remember in the movie Crocodile Dundee there was a water buffalo incident.

  8. Good Morning Mary!

    I love this post. Thank you so much for posting these pictures of buffalo. They are an amazing animal — a real gift from the Creator.

    And you have this herd close enough to you to drive to it and snap these pictures. Wow!

    Love the pictures!

  9. I did a lot of research on buffalo while writing Buffalo Gal, the thing that kept coming up was how unpredicatable and dangerous they are.

    I put that in the book. They’ll seem so docile than BAM! They attack.

    Did you know many people have been killed by them, like in Yellowstone Park because they walk up too close, posing for a picture.

    Step a little closer, honey.
    A few more steps.
    No, don’t worry the buffalo seems really calm.
    Two more steps back.
    Two more…………

  10. GREAT pictures, Mary. Are they buffalo or bison? At the Henry Doorly Zoo, they are called bison. The zoo was started in the late 1800s – and some of the first animals were bison donated by Buffalo Bill Cody, whose scout ranch is, of course, in North Platte, NE.

    There is a book that starts out with the sound of ice on the shaggy hair of the buffalo, and I’m thinking it’s LaVyrle Spencer’s. Perhaps the one with the heroine who has the stable. Someone help me! I’m not running on all cylanders today. Olympic overload, I’m certain.

    Oh, and my hubby works with a guy who raises buffalo. They raise them to eat, ya know.

    This was the first day of school. I’m reminded of many many first days of school and feeling a little reflective. I’m writing in short blurbs, here, I think Twitter is getting to me.

  11. Mary – good morning! And I think, if memory serves (which could be dangerous) they sell buffalo milk on Catalina Island…

    They are strange animals! And I’d love to know the difference between bison and buffalo, if there is one. I’ve never come across it, but tend to think they are one in the same.

    The pics are wonderful and let’s hope you never get too close. I don’t trust fences! Remember what happened to those electric fences in Jurassic Park? 🙂

  12. Buffalo are beautiful huge animals. Every year my husband hunts a buffalo and that is the meat we eat all year long. I is amazing how hard they are to kill. It is no wonder Indians had to run them off cliffs. We have a beautiful skull that we are going to hang on the wall and I want a rug made out of the one he kills next year. There meat tastes amazing better than cow and they say that it is so much more healthier for your, not as much fat. I hear that a bison is a cross between a cow and a buffalo and a buffalo is basically the real thing.

    Congrats on Buffalo Gal.
    Thanks for the great pics.

  13. Wow, Mary, what great big beasts! I didn’t know there was a difference between bison and buffalo. They’re huge. I also didn’t know they’re unpredictable. Congratulations on Buffalo Gal. What’s the story about? How did you fit in the buffalo?

  14. These are pictures of American Bison.

    Buffalo isn’t correct but I prefer the word.
    I had buffalo meat once at Ted’s Montana Grill in Omaha. It was just a hamburger.
    I had to keep catching myself chomping away and say, “Slow down. Think what you’re eating. Think of the taste. Be in the moment.”

    Gifted as I am with both an excellent imagination and an ability to zone out into some story, it was hard to focus on the meat and what it really tasted like because I was mentally outlining the book I was going to write about a buffalo herd.

  15. Here’s the short version of Buffalo Gal.

    A vegetarian and a cattle rancher go to war and fall in love.

    She wants to turn the midwest into a buffalo commons. He wants to expand his ranch. When, on her first day managing the ranch, the herd is stampeded and destroys his home and property, he’s so furious that the spark they’ve been feeling for each other flares into something other than true love. Except he keeps wanting to kiss her.

    There, something like that. Contemporary, set in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
    Researching I found so MANY buffalo ranches, I had no idea. I used a lot from a ranch called Two Heart. Which is currently out of use. http://www.twoheartbuffalohunt.com/

    Really interesting. Mostly they exist for hunting purposes. But one of the points of my book is, if buffalo are going to thrive as a species and spread, they have to have an economic use. Capitalism. Of course my heroine is a idealist. My hero is a hot head. The ranch foreman is a older Sioux Indian and he loves the buffalo but when he sees them, he sees food.

  16. Hi Mary,

    Wow, you took some great pictures! Looks as if you were standing right next to them. Glad you were using the zoom lens. 🙂 They are huge animals, but really neat to see. We have some buffalo ranches in Texas.

    Another huge animal that has come back is the longhorn. Talk about big! I wish everyone could see one during their life. We have tons of those around here. They’re a very hearty animal.

    Love your “Buffalo Gal” story! Sounds great. Can’t wait for October. 🙂

  17. A bit of historical trivia — Charles Goodnight once mated buffalo with his cattle. He called them Cattalo I think. The idea never took off though. I wonder what that would’ve looked like? Very strange for sure.

    Great post!

  18. Hi Mary!
    I just loved the photos of the buffalo. There is a park where I’ve taken my son and they have some animals behind fences to look at and they have one bison. They have a sign that tells you not to get real close to the fence it case it decides to charge but it was so far in the field that we could barely see him. They sure are impressive to see up close.

  19. Here’s something I think is really cool.

    There was a white buffalo born in…..yikes, somewhere. Okay, I googled it. Here:
    Indian lore said that when a white buffalo was born the … okay, I’ll just paste this here:

    Miracle, the Sacred White Female Buffalo Calf, was born on the farm of Dave, Valerie, and Corey Heider near Janesville, Wisconsin during the morning of August 20, 1994. Not an albino, she was considered to be the first white buffalo calf born since 1933. Furthermore, she was extremely important to the religious beliefs of many American Indian and Canadian First Nations tribes.

    her place in the prophecies and beliefs of many tribes made her a highly sacred symbol to many of the American Indian Nations across the continent. She was seen by a vast number of people as a symbol of hope and renewal for humanity and for harmony between all peoples, all races, in our world today.

    Well, that buffalo died in 2004, can’t exactly say there was much unity.

    But all of a sudden there are a whole bunch of white buffalo being born. There’s one in Nebraska at the Lee Simmons conservation park, near Ashland, Nebraska. I’ve been there but not since they got the white buffalo.
    (cool picture–cool animal)
    But here’s the deal. This Nebraska ‘White buffalo’ is a crossbreed between a buffalo and a charolais (try spelling THAT word without help) cow. (it’s pronounced SHAR-LAY).
    So now that it’s been realized this cross will produce a ‘white buffalo’ lots of people have them and use them as ‘rare’ tourist attractions. But they’re fake.

    Nuthin’ worse than a phony white buffalo

  20. I love your sense of humor. I have to assume you incorporate it into your books which I really have to try! Buffalo Gal sounds wonderful!

  21. Sounds like your hero and heroine are going to go head to head! 🙂 That’s what I love. I’ll definitely be reading it. BTW, I’ve been absently humming that tune with ‘Buffalo Gal’ in it all afternoon, and finally figured out why!

  22. Did we get a definitive answer on the buffalo vs
    bison question? Just asking!

    One of the parks here in Houston has several of
    these animals on display. They always look so

    Pat Cochran

  23. You know, Pat, one of the great (to me) moments in Buffalo Gal is when my heroine explains to the hero why she became obsessed with buffalo. It’s about seeing (as a child) a buffalo in a natural history museum and how sad and lonely he seemed, while the heroine was also deeply sad and lonely.
    She draws strength from that big, strong animal and finds a zoo nearby that will let her volunteer and just buries herself, to avoid a painful home-life, in caring for the big beasts.

    The traditional buffalo you see in this blog are technically called American Bison.
    Not sure why they get called buffalo all the time, just tradition I suppose.

  24. Loved your blog, Mary. I’m still smiling. Scrolling down the page and looking at those closeups, I thought, “What was she thinking? Doesn’t she know those critters could kill her?” It was a relief to see that the fence was there.
    We have buffalo here in Utah, too. On Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake there’s a big herd of them that range wild. They’re used to people but you don’t get too close to them.

  25. Elizabeth, It’s good to know you’re worried for me.

    I read more about that white buffalo.

    He didn’t stay white. No wait. She. Just like a woman to change her hair color.

    So they’ve got these ‘adult’ pictures of Miracle the White Buffalo and she’s (prepare to be shocked) BROWN.

  26. There is a park near me that has Elk and Bison roaming around it…they can even hit your car if they are so inclined to do so!

    I would have been using the zoom lens as well..LOL!

  27. Mary, We got caught in a buffalo stampede several years ago on the game trail behind the Game Lodge in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The same herd in Dances With Wolves. We got up early to drive this road to see what animals we could see when we heard a thundering sound, felt the earth quaking just before the buffalo herd came thundering around a bend. Yes they were shaking the ground and the big fellow who ran to the uphill side of our car actually moved it sideways. They had been spooked by a hot air balloon. I cannot imagaine riding a horse into a thundering herd to spear one as the Native Americans hve been shown doing in the movies.

  28. You know I’ve never seen a moose. I’ve always wanted to see a moose.

    Why aren’t there moose (mooses? Meese) in the zoo.

    Cheryl? Pam? You’re from Omaha, go ask. And a camel. I’d like a camel too.

    And I’ve always ALWAYS wanted to ride an elephant. When I was finally of an age I could hold the power over my life, I went to some venue and said, “I’d like an elephant ride. Zoo? Circus? I can’t remember.”

    Guess what?/?????????????????

    I was over the weight limit.

    Too fat to ride an elephant. That stings!

  29. CONNIE!!!!!!!!!! You were in a buffalo stampede and lived to tell the tale (refer to the blog title)

    Way to Go!!!!!!!!!

    It’s too late now, but I wish I’d known. I’d consult you about the effects. I have a buffalo stampede in Buffalo Gal.

  30. Too funny, Mary.

    Last summer we drove through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, ND. They had buffalo roaming free. They’d be on either side of the road and you could drive–very slowly–through them. They were close enough to slime your car, but seemed very peaceful and tame. Of course, we didn’t get out of the car to check out that theory.

    I’ve always wanted to see a moose, too, and have wondered why they aren’t in zoos.

  31. I think there must be something about moose we don’t know. Like, they are KILLERS.

    But more-so than buffalo???

    And camels? Have you ever seen a camel at a zoo?

    WHY NOT?????????

    There is bias involved. Discrimination against species.

  32. Yes Mary in some areas its Kangaroos. Our neighbours over the road moved just a little way out of town maybe 3 – 5 miles. and they have alot of scrub around the area. I use to babysit for them and one night there were quite a few kangaroos out back of there place. They said often in the morning you would see quite a few. Water buffalo are more in the Northern Territory.
    I haven’t seen a moose either. but Camels i have. I have even ridden a Camel but its not a fun experience! I know we have some bison in the Adelaide Zoo.

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