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B&C World's Record - Bison

World's Record Bison

The World's Record bison was shot by the Park's Chief Ranger Sam Woodring in 1926.

For years, tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park were awed by a bison skull displayed in the Chief Ranger’s office in Mammoth Hot Springs. The replica was based off the original skull that was stored in the Albright Visitor Center. Shot by Chief Ranger Sam Woodring in 1926, “Old Tex” was not taken for sport but in the course of reducing the Yellowstone Park herd in order to balance it with the land’s grazing capacity.


The record was almost toppled by a very outstanding trophy shot by Samuel Israel in Northwest Territories in 1961, with a score of 136-2/8. Though the Canadian subspecies of the wood bison is considered to have a larger head than the plains bison, its horns are not necessarily as large as Woodring’s long-standing record of 136-4/8. The dense cushioning of matted hair between their wide, black crescent horns, said to be thick enough to stop a bullet, is used as a sort of shock absorber when colliding with a competitor during the rut. It is an awesome sight, but at times devastating as a horn can deliver a mortal wound. 

Bison are capable of galloping up to 32 miles per hour and have been known to charge and injure careless tourists that have approached too closely. However, this supreme power along with an immense appearance is really their only means of defense. Consequently, the plains bison became an easy target for market shooters who greatly contributed to their ruthless butchering in the late nineteenth century. This act was a tragic blow to the Plains Indians who were dependent on these animals for meat, clothes, shelter, fuel and as the basis of their culture. By the turn of the 20th century fewer than a thousand bison were in existence. Luckily, there was a call to rescue their plight by organizations and individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt, founder of the Boone and Crockett Club, and William T. Hornaday, an early Club member and founder of the Bison Society and the National Bison Range in western Montana.



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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt