International Bison Conference

Aug 29, 2017


July 4- 8, 2017       Big Sky, Montana, US


The BISON PRODUCERS of ALBERTA would like to Congratulate Dave Carter and Jim Matheson of the National Bison Association - and the many people who helped these two - for a successful event that was enjoyed by all !  It was great to see so many Canadian attendees!

Michelle Lunty, with Canadian Rangeland Bison, has provided an excellent article with photos on the Four Days of Activities:

Thank you Michelle!

Beautiful Bison and Beautiful Skies at the International Bison Conference in Big Sky, Montana

What a wonderful time had by all at the International Bison Conference (IBC) in Big Sky, Montana ! The week of celebration, education, and fellowship that had its headquarters at the Big Sky Resort had something for everyone of every age. With a location such as this, the pure scenery and resort activities were enough to provide all with a week to remember.   

IBC kick-started the 4 day event with an off-site rendezvous at the 320 Guest Ranch. At the Ranch, Registered Guests (600 plus) were treated to a Bison Bratwurst lunch followed by a Welcome from Roy Liedtke, President of the National Bison Association. Guests were then free to tour the ranch, network, and attend the Drone presentation by Dr. John Church on their use in working with livestock.  Up next was Keith Aune from the Wildlife Conservation Society speaking on a "A Career in Bison Conservation".   Shortly before the delightful trout cookout dinner, musical entertainment was provided by the Michael Martin Murphey Trio.  After dinner, buses and cars took people back to Big Sky Resort where fireworks lit up the sky for the 4th of July Independence Day Celebration.  

Wednesday morning was filled with education - presentation topics covered climate, bison health (featuring Alberta's own Dr. Pat Burrage and Dr. Roy Lewis), and the future of the bison. During lunch, there was a special announcement centering on the New Goal for Bison Restoration: Bison One Million.  This was the launching of the formal ‘Bison One Million’ campaign - a campaign put together by the National Bison Assn, the Canadian Bison Assn, the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council and the Wildlife Conservation Society - and became a pinnacle concept for the remainder of the Conference.  After lunch, attendees were able to take part in the NBA meetings or spend some time taking in the Big Sky Resort sites and activities.
For dinner, everyone gathered for an absolutely delicious, 100% grass fed, New York Strip Bison Steak dinner sponsored by Northstar Bison. The evening ended with some relaxation, conversation, and entertainment provided by Wylie & the Wild West Concert.
Thursday started off with a breakfast sponsored by EPIC Provisions Protein Powder, followed by speakers focused on marketing topics such as Bison in the Global Perspective and Building the Brand of Bison. Everyone in attendance was also updated on the "Canadian Code of Practices for Bison" by Dr. Jeffrey Spooner and our own Dr. Jayson Galbraith - an important topic to keep the industry strong within both Canada and the US.
The afternoon saw optional activities of poster presentations or the Bison Film Festival. If those were not enough for options, guests were also able to check out the travelling exhibit (available throughout the entire week) ‘exploring the past, present, and future of this great North American mammal’ (see

The Conference Banquet that evening featured an amazing Bison Tenderloin dinner, which was sponsored by Intermountain Bison Co.  Next up was the Fun Auction for a Yellowstone Bull, a Shiloh Sharps Rifle, a Bison Leather Chair, and some other exciting items including private label IBC wine. To say the Auction was a success is perhaps an understatement, with the Yellowstone Bull going for $42,500 USD. What was yet another fun filled and informative day, concluded with some post-dinner conversation and drinks while listening to the Leo Downey Jr. Band. 

The final day of the Conference, July 7th, was another off-site adventure, this time taking place at the picturesque Flying D Ranch, owned by Ted Turner. The ranch manager had arranged for several thousand bison of the herd to be brought down to our gathering site - providing a stirring image as we came into the area. Presentations and welcomes were given by a number of individuals, including Ted Turner himself. After a lunch of wonderfully tender Bison Ribs, the final raffle draws were made - and Joanne Dorey of Irish Creek Bison, Vermilion, AB WON the "Ted Turner Expeditions 4-Day Getaway at the Sierra Grand Lodge & Spa in New Mexico"! Congratulations Joanne - I'm sure you and John will have a great time. Guests then left the ranch headquarters to either head home, back to Big Sky Resort, or the last option - a tour of Flying D Ranch. Truly a highlight, people caravanned by car, truck, motorcycle, and buses to take in the opportunity to observe the handling facility and view the bison roaming and grazing on this massive and beautiful range.

From informative mornings to relaxing afternoons and fun filled evenings, IBC at Big Sky, Montana had it all. What a fantastic event for members of the Canadian Rangeland team to be a part of - to learn, to take part in fellowship, and perhaps most of all, to celebrate the wonderful and magnificent animal that is our life and livelihood - the bison.


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