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Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch

Learn about the American Buffalo, and read how Carol Klein maintains her bison ranch in Missouri.
  • The Kleins relocated to a 40-acre homestead in Missouri, where they began Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch five years later.
    Carol Klein

    Getting started with bison

    When Leon Klein, a crop duster, and wife Carol, a teacher and social worker, moved from California to 40 acres in southwest Missouri, they had a goal.

    “Leon wanted a big yard that he could land his plane in,” says Carol.

    There was a buffalo farm on the way to the lake house they were building.

    “We drove by that buffalo farm almost every day,” says Carol. “It intrigued us.”

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • They ended up selling the lake house after it was built, and used the money to purchase their first 15 buffalo.
    Carol Klein

    A new endeavor

    They ended up selling the lake house after it was built, and used the money to purchase their first 15 buffalo.

    The herd increased, and the couple decided to buy more farmland across the road, expanding their 40 acres to 160 acres.

    Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch was born.

    “I adore the buffalo,” says Carol. “I tended to the animals, and Leon did a lot of the tractor and pasture work.”

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Today, the farm consists of 70 buffalo and nine calves.
    Carol Klein

    Sticking together

    Leon passed away in April 2010 from cancer, but Carol has kept the ranch going.

    Today, the farm consists of 70 buffalo and nine calves.  

    “I can’t imagine being without them,” says Carol. “They are family.”

    She enjoys spending time with the buffalo every day, and rides the four-wheeler out to the pasture to sit with the herd.

    “I will sit in the middle of the girls and let them come up and lick my hand,” says Carol. 

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Carol enjoys spending time with the buffalo. Every day, she rides the four-wheeler out to the pasture, and sits with the herd.
    Carol Klein

    Being with the buffalo

    One cow (female buffalo) in particular that is always happy to see Carol is Tootsie, a buffalo that Carol had to bottle feed as a calf.

    “Tootsie stayed by the house for almost a year while she was a calf,” says Carol. “I had to turn her out with the rest of the herd once the neighbors called because she was playing with their dogs.”

    Today, Tootsie is eight years old, and will still greet Carol out in the pasture and nuzzle her nose under her arm.

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • According to Carol, pulling calves or treating for illness is very rare.
    Carol Klein

    Buffalo care

    “Buffalo don’t require a lot of care, just a lot of management,” says Carol.

    According to Carol, pulling calves or treating for illness is very rare. She only needs to really sort them three or four times a year when she takes some in for butcher. She does not tag the buffalo anymore unless she needs to for a sale or auction.

    Carol says the biggest chore is usually haying in the wintertime, and working the land.

    “If I do need help, there are people around who will come out,” says Carol. “Getting the help I need makes it possible for me to continue raising the animals.”

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • One of the things Carol loves most about raising buffalo is having visitors come to the ranch.
    Carol Klein

    Visiting the ranch

    One of the things Carol loves most about raising buffalo is having visitors come to the ranch. While at the farm, people can view the buffalo and feed them treats.

    “People enjoy coming out to see the animals, and I love talking about them,” says Carol.

    All of the buffalo at Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch were either born on the farm, or bought as calves.

    “Since I spend time with them every day, and we routinely have visitors, they are used to being around people,” says Carol. 

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch also sells grass-fed bison meat.
    Carol Klein

    Bison meat

    Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch also sells grass-fed bison meat.

    “I have a degree in health education, so I’m very proud to raise an animal that provides healthy meat that’s low in fat and high in protein,” says Carol.
    “It’s about the most nourishing meat you could eat, and it tastes great.”

    Carol mostly sells bison meat by word-of-mouth to friends and neighbors, but she also advertises on eatwild.com.

    She explains that buffalo are an economic value, and if no one ate buffalo meat, then no one could afford to raise them. Only one of 10 bulls is used for breeding stock, the majority of them are for meat.

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Carol is also the president of the Missouri Bison Association, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the bison industry.
    Carol Klein

    Missouri Bison Association

    Carol is also the president of the Missouri Bison Association, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the bison industry.

    The association holds two auctions each year, and in June 2015, it will have its first summer conference in Joplin, Missouri.

    “Being a part of the association allows producers to obtain more information, receive newsletters and create contacts with others in the industry,” says Carol.

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Buffalo have a pecking order, which is about hierarchy and status. Even though Carol is able to be near the herd on a four-wheeler, she would never go on foot.
    Carol Klein

    Buffalo facts

    1) Pecking order: Buffalo have a pecking order, which is about hierarchy and status. Even though Carol is able to be near the herd on a four-wheeler, she would never go on foot.

    “They have a pecking order, which they take very seriously,” says Carol. “I tend to stay away from the bulls, and always stay on the four-wheeler to appear bigger when among the herd.”

    2) They are good jumpers: The fence at Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch is seven strands tall instead of five, because of the animal’s jumping ability.

    3) Buffalo and bison are the same: You can say buffalo or bison—same animal! Sometimes using bison is necessary when referring to the American Buffalo, otherwise just saying “buffalo” could be misunderstood for a Water Buffalo—which are not the same! Milk and cheese come from Water Buffalo, and meat comes from a bison (American Buffalo).

    4) Lower gross: It takes three years before a female buffalo can have a calf, and three years before you can butcher a male buffalo. BUT the average buffalo lives to be about 30 years old!

     5) Weight: A mature bison bull will weigh approximately 2,000 pounds while a mature bison cow will weigh approximately 1,100 pounds.

    6) Calving: Bison usually give birth between the months of April and June.

    7) Bison in North America: According to the National Bison Association, there are about 400,000 bison in North America, and more than 90 percent of those animals are on private ranches.

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014
  • Visit Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch's website for more pictures and information about buffalo.
    Carol Klein

    More about buffalo

    Visit Oakcreek Buffalo Ranch's website for more pictures and information about buffalo.

    You can also check out the Missouri Bison Association and the National Bison Association for more information.

    Date Published: July 28, 2014
    Date Updated: July 31, 2014

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