Senate Passes National Bison Legacy Act Making Bison National Mammal; Hoeven Challenges Daines to Wager on Bison, Grizzlies Game

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the United States Senate unanimously passed the National Bison Legacy Act, legislation he introduced with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) that designates the American bison as the national mammal of the United States.

The National Bison Legacy Act recognizes the historical, cultural and economic significance of the bison, which is the largest land mammal in America. Many Native American tribes revere the bison as a sacred and spiritual symbol of their heritage.

“The bison, like the bald eagle, has for many years been a symbol of America for its strength, endurance and dignity, reflecting the pioneer spirit of America,” Hoeven said. “It makes sense for this noble animal to serve as our national mammal. The National Bison Legacy Act recognizes the important cultural and economic role the bison has played in our history, in North Dakota and across our nation.”

More than 40 million bison once roamed across most of North America. But by the late 1800s, fewer than one thousand bison remained. The species is acknowledged as the first American conservation success story, having been brought back from the brink of extinction by a concerted effort of ranchers, conservationists and politicians to save the species in the early 20th century.

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt and the American Bison Society led an effort to save bison from extinction by establishing a captive breeding program at the Bronx Zoo. Within a few years, the program and others like it were successfully establishing bison back into its native habitat. Bison now live in all 50 states in public and private herds, providing recreation opportunities for wildlife viewers in zoos, refuges and parks, and sustaining the multimillion dollar bison ranching and production business.

Bison vs. Grizzlies Wager

Hoeven said the strong, noble character of the bison make it a perfect team name for NDSU, especially its celebrated football team. For Saturday’s game, Hoeven offered Dakota Growers pasta made from the best durum wheat in the world, while Daines has offered up a six pack of Moose Drool Beer from Montana’s Big Sky Brewing Co.

“The Bison won a historic fourth straight national title last year, and they’re looking to make it five-in-a-row,” Hoeven said. “I’m looking forward to enjoying some authentic Moose Drool Beer from Senator Daines when the Thundering Herd rolls over the Grizzlies on Saturday. Go Bison!”

“Every Montanan knows that a bison is no match for a grizzly bear – I’m confident that Saturday’s game will be no exception,” Daines stated. “I look forward to cheering on the Griz to victory this weekend and enjoying a nice celebration dinner of Dakota Growers pasta following the game.”

The game will take place at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome in Fargo on Saturday, December 5 at 2:30 p.m. CDT and will be broadcast on ESPN 3.