I followed the narrow farm road to the middle of nowhere, Indiana—that kind of place full of peace and lots of opportunity for self-reflection. My heart gave a little leap when I saw the herd of buffalo grazing in the field to my right.
I pulled into the pebbled driveway, parked the car, and arrived just in time for a wagon tour of Broken Wagon Bison Ranch.
Lost in lala land with my camera and excitement at getting up close and personal with buffalo, I barely heard the words. Two seconds later my chair bounced back and I flew into the air, landing with my hand crushed beneath my derriere and my legs splayed awkwardly up towards the sky. Thankfully our tour group was small and despite my red face and stinging hand, I laughed it off and soon found myself smack center in a herd of enormous buffalo.
For half an hour the guide explained what went on at the ranch, what health issues threaten the bison the most, and how long the ranch had been in operation. He gave us insight into the different personalities of the remarkable creatures. As he talked the buffalo gathered round the wagon. They seemed to revel in our picture taking and a few stuck their heads through the bars as if trying to get a closer look.
Our guide handfed a bull named “Big John.” Big John seemed to enjoy having his picture taken the most and even shook the wagon side to side at one point, hamming it up for his adoring public.
In my mind, I removed the fences surrounding the field and tried to picture the buffalo wild and free, free like the plains Indians they’d once lived alongside.
Almost completely decimated by the year 1900, the American Buffalo has come back beautifully from the brink of extinction. Over 250,000 animals currently roam in United States herds.
Broken Wagon Bison Ranch provides a unique and educational experience for those wanting to learn more about the history of the buffalo.
An onsite gift shop sells buffalo jerky, meat, leather products, books, and Native American inspired jewelry.