It ain’t very cold out there! Actually going into August sucks no matter where you call home in North America. Things like nutritional regimes, ambient temperature and behaviors are changing. Bison in the south are more equipped for the southern plains heat than you think. The latter is a true statement with the caveat that; If_ they are prepared for harsh environmental conditions with adequate nutrition and energy reserve. It takes energy to operate normal bodily functions, juvenile growth and it takes energy to stay cool. The energy reserve is absent when the bison look thin [or hollow] and depression behaviors will follow. Bison with good reserve will endure, but look like you feel when the heat index is kicking your butt too. The big point is survivability. Given the chance, bison are boot-tuff, but can become [wine-glass weak] when there is no reserve present.
Personally, I look for adequate reserve throughout the front end. When that begins to wane, I react. I also keep tabs on my subordinate herd members because they alert me early, to what the leads and bulk of the herd are dealing with.
One trick that has served me well, is whenever things get really tuff, I focus on rotation to pastures that allow the performance of natural response or survival behaviors. This can be a money maker when late calves come into the picture. If you are uncertain of which pasture lends itself to survival behaviors, open all the gates and let the bison tell you. Soon you will know where they want to be, and why. They are_ that smart, and all you have to do is listen. Personally I contend that they were made for this place, evolved with this place, and as stewards; all we have to do is let them avail [us] of a [sense of place] to their benefit.
There are many things I love about raising bison in the southern plains.
July & August – ain’t one of them!