So many of us have grown up calling Bison, Buffalo. I mean we hear the word Buffalo and we automatically picture a Bison. Confused yet? I'll help some of you out.

When you go to North Dakota, for example, and visit the beautiful Teddy Roosevelt National Park you will most like see what people refer to as "buffalo" and not many people there refer to them for what they actually are...bison. (Unless you are from Fargo, home of the North Dakota State Bison).

Head to Montana and you will rarely say the word buffalo again, as Montanan's strongly use the word Bison, because that's what they actually are. Bison.

A buffalo by definition is:

A large North American bison (Bison bison) that has a dense coat of dark brown fur with a shaggy mane on the head and lower neck, short hollow horns, and heavy forequarters with a large muscular hump over the shoulders... -Merriam-Webster Dictionary


A bison by definition is:

Any of several large living or extinct bovine mammals (genus Bison) that have a long, broad head, short, hollow horns, heavy forequarters, a large muscular hump across the shoulders, and a shaggy mane on the head and lower neck and that typically live and migrate in herds...

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Now you know the difference and Montanan's are passionate about using the proper verbiage for the big furry beast.

If you are planning on moving to Montana, there are certain things that will make you at least seem like you fit in or that you are here for the right reasons. One of those things is using the proper term, "bison", when describing one of the most photographed animals that roam our Montana lands.

cc: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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