A Little About Wood Bison


The wood bison is considered by most a subspecies of the American plains bison, but some argue that they are a distinctly separate subspecies.  The two bison are somewhat different in appearance.  The wood bison is larger and has a slightly different body type then that of the plains .


The herd of wood bison I saw along the Alaska Highway was from the Norquist herd.  Here is a little history about them:

  • In the early 1800’s over 168,000 wood bison inhabited the forests of North West North America.
  • In the early 1900’s wood bison populations declined sharply due to over hunting.
  • In 1906 The last wood bison was shot in Northern British Columbia.
  • In 1959 an isolated northern population of about 200 relatively pure Wood Bison was confirmed.                                    (all other wood bison at that time were hybridized with American buffalo)
  • In 1985 wood bison were (and still are) classed as “Threatened” under the Species At Risk Act.
  • In 1995 49 wood bison were reintroduced to Nodquist area in British Columbia.
  • In 2007 the Nordquist herd population numbered about 100 animals.
  • In 2010 the roadside count was 108 animals.
  • Today it’s believed that the Nordquist group consists of three herds with a total population of approximately 200 animals.  There are several other groups which are reaching a target population of about 500.

The Nordquist herd territory can be seen in the map below:


The yellow line is the Liard Highway which branches off the Alaskan Highway at Fort Nelson.


I was happy to see these beasties along the Alaska and Liard Highways….

IMG_3760-1 (dragged)


IMG_3751Nickel and Eureka were even happier….

2 thoughts on “A Little About Wood Bison

  1. Wow I guess I didn’t have any idea there were different species of bison. Who knew! My poodles would have been having a barking hissy fit – your girls are so well behaved!


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