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by Taylor Collins

Out on our ranch, we trust in the innate wisdom encoded in all our livestock. For millennia native animals, plants, and fungi have not only evolved to survive as singular kingdoms but in a collaborative way that elevates an entire ecosystem. The complexity of this interconnectedness is unfathomable and beyond the processing capacity of the human mind. Even with the greatest intentions, when we intervene in Mother Nature's process, we tend to disrupt the interconnected balance and screw things up. It is through many hard lessons that we now know to get out of the way and trust Mother Nature's process.

A recent and powerful example of stepping back and allowing our bison to express their innate wisdom occurred at the ranch early this Fall during daily herd checks. On this particular day, just as regular as any, we had a bison cow charge our vehicle for seemingly no reason. Keep in mind that bison are not a domesticated species and by retaining all of their wild genetics are fully capable of kicking our ass at any given moment. When an animal displays aggression towards humans, we take this very seriously and harvest that animal before anyone gets hurt. Over the next few weeks, this bison cow became increasingly more physical and dangerous. She ended up becoming so aggressive that she would chase our vehicle around the pastures at speeds of over 35mph! Our 5-year-old daughter, Scout, got a kick out of this routine and appropriately named her "Charge Attack!". While this behavior is extremely atypical within our herd, we had an instinctive feeling that something deeper was happening and that her actions were not without intention. As a result, we stepped back and patiently observed.

After 2 weeks of terror, we woke up one morning to discover the birth of an extremely late season (an unexpected) calf within the herd! Turns out, the new momma was no other than "Charge Attack!" herself.

While our initial instinct was to field harvest "Charge Attack!", we are grateful and aware that we gave her the space and time to give birth to a very special unexpected calf. In hindsight, her aggressive behavior had nothing to do with us, but rather defend and protect her offspring as any good mama would do. Since giving birth, "Charge Attack!"'s demeanor has returned her normal, calm, non-aggressive self. It is with reverence and appreciation for the wisdom encoded in all of Mother Nature's creations that we are gifted this healthy calf and yet another powerful lesson in trusting nature's wisdom!

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