It Takes Some Luck to Find Bison at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

I’ve gone to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie twice now.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is an area that’s approximately an hour outside of Chicago. If traffic isn’t on your side, it can take up to 2 hours to get there from the city. The area itself is probably much larger than I realize, as all I’m familiar with is a rectangular track accessible to the public; But, the fact that people even have a chance to see REAL American Bison here is incredible to me.

The first time I went to Midewin, I was able to see bison… but because I was poorly equipped, I was not able to capture any “good” footage with them. I had no drone and I had no tripod. The video footage I was able to capture ended up being really blurry. And, I’d forgotten to take any kind of picture of them.

Midewin, while being mostly uninteresting aesthetically, at least has two other things outside of bison to look at. There were these domes that looked like bunkers. One of which had its door open. Looking at these round, slate grey and slightly hidden structures amidst the tall grass made it look and feel like a scene from the Walking Dead. I think I wouldn’t have been too surprised if a zombie had walked out of one.

The only other interesting thing to look at, were these large fruits on the trees called horse fruits. These curious looking fruits are known as ghosts of evolution – a species that once thrived but is now left to themselves because of one or multiple changes – such as a primary consumer going extinct.

I’d gotten a decent look at both of these before. And because of my failure to capture some good bison photos and videos the first time, this second visit was decided with that singular purpose.

I was completely prepared… but, it turns out, luck is actually a big factor in being able to see the bison. The land is vast… far more than I could tell the first time because I actually used my drone to scope out their location. I found none, even after doing a 360 degree rotation approximately 120 meters up in the sky. The bison will roam where they will… and they did not roam anywhere visible to me that day.

While it is sad that I didn’t get to see any of those fantastic creatures, I left the adventure on a happy note. And it’s because of both having made a silly video about it and being able to workout that adventure muscle.

So, a note to the bison – I’ll catch you guys next time 😉

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