Facts About The American Buffalo in Iowa

Note: The range of the Buffalo is fairly large but they may or may not be in Iowa.  If you are traveling to the western range of the Buffalo from Iowa, this information is provided for better understanding of this animal.

Rocky Mountain BuffaloIf bison reside in Iowa, they are the largest mammal and males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall.  The Yellowstone herd is the only location where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.  These herds are considered the only “pure” strain that roam the country’s grasslands and as of 2015, the population of the Yellowstone herd is estimated at 4,900 making it the largest in the country.

You can somewhat judge a bison’s mood by what’s going on with its tail.  When calm, the tail hangs down and switches naturally.  Although you can never trust the mood of a bison, when that tail is straight up, it’s time to stand back and get out of its way as it may be ready to charge.

The bison can live up to 20 years with an average between 10 and 20 years.  The cows begin breeding after 2 years, the bulls after 6 years.  All bison love to wallow in the dirt but the males perform this task during mating season to leave their scent and display their strength.

Bison Butting HeadsThe ancestry can be traced back to southern Asia thousands of years ago but made their way to America crossing the land bridge connecting Asia with North America hundreds of thousands of years ago.  Then, these bison were much larger and fossil records show that a prehistoric bison had horns measuring 9 feet from tip to tip.

The American bison's ancestors can be traced to southern Asia thousands of years ago. Bison made their way to America, and near Iowa, by crossing the ancient land bridge that once connected Asia with North America during the Pliocene Epoch, some 400,000 years ago. These ancient animals were much larger than the iconic bison we love today. Fossil records show that one prehistoric bison, Bison had horns measuring 9 feet from tip to tip.

While bison have poor eyesight, they have excellent senses of smell and hearing. Cows and calves communicate using pig-like grunts, and during mating season, bulls can be heard bellowing across long distances.

The Region and Landscape Of Iowa

Iowa Capitol DesMoinesIowa is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west. Surrounding states include Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska and South Dakota to the west, and Minnesota to the north.

In colonial times, Iowa was a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana; its state flag is patterned after the flag of France. After the Louisiana Purchase, people laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production.  Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city by population is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.  Its nickname is the Hawkeye State.

The Geography of Iowa

Birds of IowaIowa's bedrock geology generally increases in age from west to east. In northwest Iowa, Cretaceous bedrock can be 74 million years old, in eastern Iowa Cambrian bedrock dates to c. 500 million years ago.

Iowa is generally not flat; most of the state consists of rolling hills. Iowa can be divided into eight landforms based on glaciation, soils, topography, and river drainage.  Loess hills lie along the western border of the state, some of which are several hundred feet thick.  Northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River is part of the Driftless Zone, consisting of steep hills and valleys which appear almost mountainous.

Several natural lakes exist, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, and East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa (see Iowa Great Lakes). To the east lies Clear Lake. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake MacBride, and Rathbun Lake. The northwest part of the state contains a considerable number of remnants of the once common wetlands, such as Barringer Slough.

The Climate of Iowa

Iowa has a humid continental climate throughout the state with extremes of both heat and cold. The average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F (10 °C); for some locations in the north the figure is under 45 °F (7 °C), while Keokuk, on the Mississippi River, averages 52 °F (11 °C). Winters are often harsh and snowfall is common.

The Best Fishing Spots in Iowa

East and West OkobojiEast and West Okoboji
Largemouth and smallmouth bass

Spirit Lake
Smallmouth bass

Sievers Spring waterfall at the fish hatchery
Trout

Viking Lake
Largemouth bass

Clear Lake
Yellow bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish and walleye

Lake Ahquabi
Bluegill, black and white crappies, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, and channel catfish

Little River Lake
Walleye, bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish

Cedar River
Smallmouth bass

Pleasant Creek Lake
Bluegills, white bass, hybrid striped bass and largemouth bass