Bison Mourn the Legendary Gray Ghost

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Bison Mourn the Legendary Gray Ghost

Hello everyone. I am sorry to report that Gray Ghost has passed away. He was and always will be a legend in this park. In the last few days, he managed to make his way back to the area of the park he had called home. His final resting place is in a beautiful valley surrounded by the hills and trees. With the help of the park visitor who found him, I was able to go out today and say my goodbyes. I am very grateful to her for that. I have done this in the past to have closure on horses that pass away but today was a very different experience. Shortly after I arrived at his final resting place, close to 30 bison appeared on the hill above me. They stopped in a line and just watched me. A female came about halfway down the hill and stood there. I quickly realized she wanted to walk over to Gray Ghost. Since I was greatly outnumbered, I walked away but did not leave the area. She and two others slowly approached him and then did something I wasn’t expecting. They began to lick his legs. A few minutes later, more of the bison came down and did the same. Each time they would sniff him and begin to lick his legs. I watched as almost all the bison made their way down and took turns standing near Gray Ghost. Then the bull and several others formed a circle around him as if they were protecting him. I have never seen this type of behavior before. I don’t know enough about bison to know if this behavior is normal but to me, it appeared as if they were paying their respects. It was amazing to see how each of them, one by one, gently licked him and then moved on. Seeing a great stallion leave this world sooner than we would have liked is always hard but witnessing what I did today somehow made it a little bit easier. Below are some photos I have taken of Gray Ghost over the years. PLEASE NOTE: I did include one cell phone photo of the bison surrounding him. If this is something you would rather not see, please do not scroll through to the end of the photos. Thanks, everyone.

This is the very first time I saw Gray Ghost. He had just lost his band and then bachelor, Flax was giving him a hard time.

Gray Ghost after he had picked up Gary’s band.

Gray Ghost and Wildrye when they ran together.

The bison surrounding Gray Ghost today and what appeared to be them saying goodbye to him…

*This story was featured in the Fargo Forum as well as, several other publications in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

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