Touring the Heartland: Cook’s Bison Ranch in Wolcottville, Indiana
In 2017, we attended the Heartland Owners Club North American Rally in Goshen, Indiana. There were organized pre-rally tours scheduled that we signed up at registration time. Touring the Cook’s Bison Ranch in Wolcottville, Indiana, was one of them. We enjoyed this particular tour because we felt more in our element with nature. We learned about the American Bison; something we’ve been interested in throughout our travels in Idaho, South Dakota, Montana, and Utah. We never thought they’d be there in Indiana as well.
When we arrived with our group, we all converged in their community hall to learn about how the ranch evolved, their family history and a bit about the bison themselves. We also enjoyed a bbq lunch picnic-style that included tasting bison meat.
As told by Peter Cook, in 1939, his Grandpa married and bought a house with a barn on an 83-acre land parcel for $5000. Now, three generations later, the has ranch evolved into Cook’s Bison Ranch raising 500 heads of bison. Peter and Rachel described the life of bison; what they required as far as space, their diets, off-spring, etc. They described their vision and dream of continuing the living legacy of the American Bison. We’ve been told they have a bison ranch in North Dakota as well.
After our sit down discussion of the bison, we were divided into three groups and boarded tractor-drawn haywagons to make our way into the bison pasture to get an up-close and personal view of the herd. This was the closest proximity we’ve ever been with them. We even hand-fed them bison feed pellet nuggets as their mid-afternoon snack. Though slow in their meanderings, they are mighty and strong creatures.
As you can see in the photo above, we had a great opportunity to see the mothers nursing and minding their calves. Such great majestic creatures certainly didn’t mind our presence. They came right up to the wagons for their tasty nugget morsels.
Cook’s Bison Ranch offers open tours on most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Open tours are offered from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Their Open Tours do not require a reservation or a minimum number of people however, we recommend calling ahead to ensure availability. Sometimes, they may be closed for private tours or events and major holidays. Cook’s Bison Ranch is closed most Sundays but may accommodate a scheduled group reservation.
The Ranch also offers live musical entertainment, party and special event packages for groups of 20+. Visit www.cooksbisonranch.com for more information.
So, if you’re attending one of the Heartland Rally’s up in Goshen or if you’re in the Elkhart, Indiana, area, this is something you really should go to. You and your family will appreciate this awesome experience and learn about these beautiful and amazing animals.
This article was written by Dan & Lisa Brown of Always On Liberty.