Colorado rancher raises bison to sell and to be part historical educational program

Colorado Buffalo Adventures in Elbert is where you can get close to a bison herd and learn about the buffalo’s importance to the American West.

Neil Fischer didn’t set out to be a bison rancher. It wasn’t until his daughters wanted horses that he started looking for a home with some space for livestock.

“In 2000 we made an offer on a horse property and there were some bison, which were included under the contract,” he said.

They went to South Dakota and bought more bison to increase the herd. Before he knew it, he was wrangling a herd of 45 to 65 bison. Which led him to buy more acreage in Pine, high in the mountains, that Fischer has named Buffalo Peak Ranch.

“As I was figuring out how to sell my meat, I started visiting other small ranchers and farmers … and created a group,” he said. “We have about 20 farms and ranches who participate in our Farm2Table cooperative. They are located all over the mountains in southern Colorado.”

They sell humanely raised beef, yak, elk, pork, chicken and bison. All the animals are grass-fed without any antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. And the meat they sell is free of pesticides, preservatives, additives and MSG. Bison is an excellent source of lean protein with a rich flavor. It’s lower in saturated fat and calories than beef and it provides a variety of essential nutrients, like B vitamins, zinc and iron.

“We also have game brats and artisan sausages,” he said. “We sell in bulk, or you can buy a 25-pound mixed box of meat and we deliver to you.”

You can visit the co-op’s store at farm2tablemeats.com.

Fischer is particularly excited about the bison events he offers at a smaller ranch in Elbert.

“I bring a small herd of bison down here where we do educational events,” he said. “We converted a barn into a theater and dinner spot. The barn can be used for weddings and other events too.”

The events he offers are “adventures” and “encounters” for learning about the history of the American bison, “which were rescued from the brink of extinction,” he said.

The “Bison Adventure” will be Sept. 13. Over the course of three hours, you can hand- feed a rare white buffalo, take a hayride out to the pasture to observe the bison herd, check out a full-sized Sioux Indian teepee, watch the Team Bearsheart Lakota Sioux native dancers, and see Kurt Skinner reenact Teddy Roosevelt detailing his role in developing our national parks and saving buffalo. There’s music during the dinner, which is catered by Broken Bones BBQ.

“The evening closes with a toast honoring those who played a key role in preserving the monarch of the plains, the American buffalo,” Fischer said.

A shorter “Bison Encounter” with some of the same activities is also planned for some time in September. The events will continue through October.

For information about tickets to both and for more details, visit coloradobuffalo adventures.com.

Contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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