Vote Bison Campaign
The Vote Bison campaign seeks to make the American bison the 'National Mammal of the United States' and celebrate National Bison Day annually on the 1st Saturday of November. Bison-our largest land mammal-once ranged from Oregon to New Jersey and Alaska to Mexico and now exist in all 50 states. Bison became a symbol of U.S. frontier culture as the herds inspired awe in western explorers and sustained early settlers and traders. Bison were integrally linked with the economic, physical and spiritual lives of Native Americans and were central to their sustenance, trade, ceremonies and religious rituals. Men and women from all walks of life, including ranchers, Native Americans, industrialists, and President Theodore Roosevelt initiated a monumental effort to save bison from extinction in 1905. This grassroots campaign to save bison on small refuges in Oklahoma, Montana, and South Dakota served as one of the world's first successful wildlife restoration efforts.
Bison as the National Mammal
Bison are an American icon. Bison are profiled on coins, depicted on the Department of the Interior's seal, and featured on logos of sports teams, businesses, and academic institutions. Three states have designated bison as their official state mammal or animal. Designation as the National Mammal would celebrate bison's special place in our national heritage, as well as the contributions bison make to American life now and will for centuries to come.
In the 113th Congress (2013-2014), Representatives Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-1) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) and Senators Tim Johnson (SD) and John Hoeven (ND) have introduced the National Bison Legacy Act (H.R. 3400/S. 2464), to make the American bison the National Mammal of the U.S. Similar legislation was introduced in the 112th Congress, earning the support of 31 Senators and Representatives.
Bison are an important animal in many sectors of modern American life. Bison continue to sustain and provide cultural value to Native Americans and Indian Tribes. More than 60 tribes are working to restore bison to over 1,000,000 acres of Indian lands in places like South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Montana. Bison production on private ranches is in its strongest economic condition in more than a decade. The total value of privatelyâowned bison on more than 2,500 bison ranches in the U.S. was estimated to exceed $280 million in 2012. This trend bodes well for bison ranches in states like South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, North Dakota and Montana, which create jobs, provide a sustainable and healthy meat source, and contribute to our nation's food security.
Bison are highly desired by the sporting public. States are hosting successful hunts helping to finance management efforts. Bison provide enjoyment and education to millions of visitors who recreate in America's great outdoors. And, tourists eager to view both public and private bison herds contribute to the economies of rural communities. Bison herds for public enjoyment and use are found in zoos and on state and federal lands including Yellowstone National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Caprock Canyon State Park, and Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.
National Bison Day
On October 29, 2013, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, S.Res. 254 officially designating November 2, 2013, as National Bison Day. Senators Enzi (WY) and Johnson (SD) led the effort, which earned the support of 23 bipartisan cosponsors. National Bison Day is an annual opportunity for Native Americans, bison producers, conservationists, sportsmen, educators and other public and private partners to celebrate this American icon, the American bison. National Bison Day 2013 was commemorated with events and promotional activities in: DC, FL, IA, KS, KY, ND, NJ, NY, OK, SD, TX, VA, and WY.