Field Trips & Excursions
Join us on Friday November 1st for a day of exploration and learning about Bison restoration efforts in the New Mexico area.
Sign up for one of three field trips on the registration page:
Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
The Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge is a continuation of the vision of philanthropists Eugene V. Thaw and his wife Clare E. Thaw, who bought the Wind River Ranch in 1980 with the intent of protecting and restoring the land as a representative piece of southwestern ecological heritage. The ranch was donated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and became New Mexico's newest protected landscape within the refuge system in 2012. The unique partnership between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Denver Zoo and New Mexico Highlands University form the Rio Mora Conservation Science Center, which facilitates the protection and restoration of the Mora River watershed and one of the great short-grass prairie landscapes of North America through community engagement and applied research. Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge is home to the Pueblo of Pojoaque’s own bison herd, managed in partnership with Refuge staff and the Denver Zoo.
The Valles Caldera National Preserve
The field trip to the National Park Service’s Valles Caldera National Preserve will provide an in-depth look at the natural and cultural resources of this high mountain landscape, particularly in the context of a future bison introduction. The 89,000 acre Preserve, purchased by Congress in 2000, incorporates the caldera of a 1.25 million year-old “Super Volcano” and protects the extensive forests, meadows, streams and wildlife of the central Jemez Mountains. The Preserve includes vast areas of montane grasslands and streams, which appear ideal for bison habitat; hence, the National Park Service is evaluating the introduction of bison into the Preserve. During the field trip, NPS Preserve staff will present background information on the natural history of the Preserve’s ecosystems, along with the 10,000-year human history on the land. Discussions will cover human historical impacts to the Preserve, including the role of recent fires in altering the present-day landscape. Throughout the day, an emphasis will be made to link current management goals and objectives with the introduction of bison, including programmatic approaches, logistics, finances, and cultural relationships with regional Native American peoples.
LaMont's Wild West Buffalo
LaMont's Wild West Buffalo has been operating for over 25 years. We realized soon after getting into the bison industry, that it could not just be a 'hobby' for us so we set out to market the meat. Our product has been in several Santa Fe area restaurants, and at the prestigious Santa Fe Farmer's Market. At first it was a real education trying to get people to decide to buy the meat. It will always be somewhat of an educational process, because we get new customers all the time. We also offer fair chase hunting opportunities during the cold months. Most of the hunts are 'fill your freezer' type hunts and we get many repeat clients as they have found the taste and quality of bison to be unsurpassed.
LaMont's operates mainly with just our family, Monte, Lana and our adult kids, and now teenage grandkids when they are available. It is labor intensive at times, because we supplement our herds with spent barley from local breweries sometimes feeding 10,000# of the wet mash weekly, or more! It has been an excellent supplemental feed source, especially since we are in a drought-ridden, high-desert area.
Our animals roam a 20,000 acre privately owned pasture. We have leased from Mr. Chavez for several years. In our situation, an animal unit requires 100+ acres per head to sustain (not like the lush grasses on the plains and Midwest areas) but you'll see our herd is one of the healthiest, well-balanced herds in the country. We may not get the full growth on some, but we also do not use anything but organic measures including the barley. No growth hormones, no steroids, no castrating, no de-horning, all-natural calm, happy herds.
Looking for other excursions while spending time in New Mexico?
Check here for more cultural and historical experiences that make Santa Fe so great.