Four bison bulls climbing the ridge (Prints & cards of this photo)
These photos were taken during a special photography opportunity at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near Canton, Kansas. The event was called Freezing Your Buns Off (FYBO) and was held January 30, 2016. It was a cold morning, about 32 degrees, but fairly comfortable until the second hour when the wind came up.
Maxwell is home to one of the few surviving wild buffalo herds. At the time of FYBO there were about 200 buffalo and 85 elk on the refuge. Each fall surplus buffalo are sold as the park's available habitat can support only a certain number of animals. 56 buffalo were auctioned at the annual fall sale a couple of months earlier and 10 elk were scheduled for sale in February.
Two tram loads of photographers set out a little after 7AM and headed east were it was just starting to get light. A truck spread food pellets along a ridge and we were set up with bull American bison (buffalo) and elk on the crest of the ridge, silhouetted by the morning light. The other photographers obviously do more wildlife photography than I do and I felt a little under equipped looking at their much larger lenses and camera. Most of the photos on this page were taken with a Nikon D5200 using a Nikkor AF 70-300mm zoom lens. The last couple of photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.
As the sun rose above the horizon, we moved on to a location closer to the mixed heard of bison and elk. There are many more bison than elk in Kansas and most of the year the elk are more shy, so I was here particularly to photograph the elk.
After about a half hour we left to move on to another meadow where there was a large group of bison cows and young. Along the way, it was discovered that the other tram had a flat tire and both groups waited as a second tram was brought for them. About the time that tram arrived, it was discovered that our tram had two tires going flat and a truck went sent back to fill two tanks with air to inflate them. It was nearly an hour total before we arrived with the second herd and the light was getting less advantageous. We returned to the Friends of Maxwell Tour Center about 9:40AM
copyright 2016 by Keith Stokes