Best time to travel to Yellowstone National Park

Bison Mating Season in Yellowstone National Park

Wild bison roaming around the park are a popular tourist attraction. Their rutting fights are some of the most impressive as well!

Bison Mating Season
Bison Mating Season
Bison Mating Season
Bison Mating Season

Yellowstone National Park is the only place with a continuously free-ranging bison population. These massive animals have lived on this territory since prehistoric times. There are over 5,000 bison in the park and their number increases each year. Weighting up to 900 kg, bison has dark-brown fur and curved horns. They can swim, jump over high objects, and reach speeds up to 50 kph. They have perfect vision, hearing, and smell. Although they wander everywhere throughout the park, a greater number of bison can be found in the northern part.

During the summer months, bison migrate to higher elevations to cool themselves. In winter thousands of bison come back to the lowlands to Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Old Faithful area.

During winter season they can be found along the Madison River, Blacktail ponds, Mammoth, and Tower areas. They are one of the main reasons to come to the park, especially during summer. Bison is also the main reason of traffic jams at park roads.

The mating season takes place during late July and August. They also have their special call to attract mates. The bulls usually butt heads and fight for mates, sometimes even to the death.

The calves are born in late April and May.

Practical info

When is the best time to observe bison inside the Yellowstone?

Bison can be observed during the summer months, when they go to higher elevations inside the park to lower their body temperature. During the winter season, they move back to Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Old Faithful area, and can be spotted near the Madison River, Blacktail ponds, Mammoth, and Tower regions. Show more

Which is the region of the park that has a large number of free-ranging bison?

The northern parts of the Yellowstone National Park have a greater number of free-ranging bison. During winter times, they can be found near the Madison River, Blacktail ponds, Mammoth, and Tower areas, and they roam throughout the park without any boundaries. Show more

What are some of the adaptations of the bison to the park's environment?

Bisons are adapted to the Yellowstone's environment by utilizing their strength, excellent vision, hearing, and sense of smell, as well as their ability to swim, jump over hurdles, and attain speeds up to 50 kph. For adapting to the change in temperature, they take shelter in higher elevations during summer months and return to the lowlands during winter season. Show more

When is the breeding season of bison in Yellowstone and what are their mating patterns?

July and August are the months when bison engage in their breeding rituals, and during this time, the males compete against each other by headbutting and sometimes even fighting to death to get the attention of a female mate. They also make special vocalizations to attract the attention of female mates. The calves are born in April or May after a gestation period of almost 9 months. Show more

What are the mating patterns of bison, and what happens during their rutting fights?

The males employ headbutting to establish dominance over the other male bison and to win the attention of a female mate during their mating. The fights can become very intense, sometimes even leading to the death of one or both of them. The males also emit grunting sounds to impress females. Once a female bison has chosen a mate, they mate and the calf is born the following spring. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin