Tatonka – Buffalo or Beefalo?

This will be a short post, but something we found very interesting this summer (June 2018).

Tatonka is the (Lakota) Native American word for Buffalo (or Bison) and it means “Big Beast”; Roy and Tripp learned this word while in Custer State Park and thereafter referred to the buffalo we saw as that….Tatonka.

When we were in South Dakota, we saw a LOT of buffalo. The herd in Custer State Park is very famous and one of the largest in the U.S. However, a few days after we completed the Buffalo Jeep Safari tour, we learned the buffalo in CSP were actually “beefalo.”

What is “beefalo?” Apparently, when various buffalo herd in the U.S. were bordering on extinction, some of the beautiful beasts were bread with large cows in order to maintain the population. Over the years, those herd have continued to multiply.

I know that many people don’t believe Wiki is a credible source, but I do think the following article is informative (although the image of the canned bison meat kinda makes me want to gag). While there are questions as to the purity of bloodlines of some buffalo herd; we did determine from various avenues of research, the buffalo we saw in two locations on our western adventure are definitely “true” or “pure” buffalo.

The prairie that is above Wind Cave National Park contain a “true” buffalo herd.

Also, we saw “real” buffalo when visiting Yellowstone National Park. The guy on the featured image atop this post is for real.

We would not have known the difference, except we asked why the large animals around Wind Cave were SO MUCH BIGGER than the ones we saw at Custer. We did some research and learned. Don’t get me wrong, the massive animals we saw at Custer were huge. But the pure buffalo that we saw in the two other locations were much larger.

Regardless of how pure or impure the animals we saw were; they were HUGE and amazing.

Here is my favorite Tatonka picture from our recent trip.


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