A hunt for the European bison, especially because of the rank of its trophies, is a hunting experience of the highest quality. One glance of this primal inhabitant of forests will suffice to fill us with due respect for it. The European bison is the largest European hoofed mammal, and symbolizes strength and power – a male’s weight can reach up to 1,000 kg, whereas a female’s up to 600 kg.
Despite its mass and unquestionable importance, the European bison was on the verge of extinction. Several decades ago the fate of the species literally depended on a dozen of individuals. As a result of the acts of war in the mid-20th century, only a dozen individuals with breeding capacity survived. Fortunately, thanks to immense sacrifice of naturalists and hunters, European bison have survived, allowing Poland to become the world’s breeding center of the European bison.
European bison are demanding with respect to their habitat – they require vast forests, in particular moist mixed forests with the so called original character, i.e. backwoods. The animals live in flocks of up to a dozen of individuals composed of bison calves and cows. Adult bison bulls live in separate, smaller flocks or they live alone. It is during mating period that the bulls join the cows. Mating among European bison is quite untypical as males do not bellow but emit growling sounds expressing their annoyance called chruczenie. Horns, a characteristic decoration of bison, grow very early and in the first year of their life can reach the length of up to 10 cm, and similar length in the following years. As the horns will get rubbed off and shorten throughout the life of a bison, one cannot assess the age of an individual by the length of the horns.
The program of Białowieża European bison restoration implemented in Poland, is a showcase initiative aimed at saving an endangered species. The present population of wild European bison in Poland is numerous enough to carry out culling. Each year a dozen of individuals is appointed for culling. Giant, medal-worthy bison bulls, which form spectacular trophies, can be shot on several hunting grounds. Bison’s head trophy of this largest European mammal is a special and highly recognized element of each, even the most extensive hunting trophy collection, and a great reason to be proud for the hunter.
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