Could the Message Be Any Bigger?

Since the end of our 2014 Fall Big Game Hunting Season, I have been searching for more information on our newest resident of Chisana, Alaska; Elias Tatonka Dibble. (Yes, I named and adopted him, myself!)

Elias, a young Wood Bison bull moved into Chisana, Alaska at the beginning of September this year. All alone, he seems to be comforted by our herd of range horses and although the horses do not share this feeling the humans here at Pioneer Outfitters can’t help but feel that Elias is a message and a good sign for us and all who come to experience Alaska with us.

Could the message be any bigger?

According to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park Service, the last reported sightings of wood bison in Alaska were in the early 1900s. Speaking with the old timers and prospectors of Chisana, none could remember ever having heard of a bison living in Chisana.

Now, I know there are bison in the Yukon, but I had no idea they were in such dire straights here in Alaska as I found out as I sat down to write this post for you. The first thing I did when Elias showed up was wonder, “Where from?” Looking in our Alaska Big Game Hunting Regulations, I found bison in the (GMU) Game Management Units both above and below our own (GMU-12) under “only by permit-drawing.”

Also found in this most recent search was an article in the online version of Newsweek, dated 9/29/14, Wood Bison, North America’s Largest Animal, to Be Reintroduced Into Alaska, written by Douglas Main. I found Mr. Main’s article enlightening although it also shed a different light on the dangers of a male bison than the bison biologist we contacted in Fairbanks immediately after Elias’s arrival in Chisana.

We were told when asking what to expect that only during the summer were the bison likely to be cranky (during their rut- breeding time) and what to watch for (how they held their tail). We were not told, but inferred from the talk that this arrival of a wood bison in Chisana was not as unusual or unexpected as it truly seems to be.

Could the message be any bigger?

This wondrous 1,200 to 2,000 pound animal has a lifespan of 20 years. The wood bison once ranged across northwestern Canada and were also found in Interior and Southcentral Alaska. At this time, it is believed that the free and wild wood bison are found only in Canada. There is a captive herd of wood bison being held at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Portage, Alaska as part of Alaska’s wood bison restoration effort that Mr. Main speaks of at length as well as the plans for them in the article mentioned above.

The information I found reiterates that wood bison are herd animals that have strong social bonds. We here at Pioneer Outfitters believe that is why Elias has settled into our end of Chisana exclusively; because of our horses. He is alone.

Many of you who keep up with what I am writing about have been our supporters and friends for a good long while now. As such, you know the difficulties and dramas that Pioneer has been dealt these past few years and have been at our sides throughout it all.

The bison represents abundance in one’s life with it’s presence. In our own situation and knowing now as we do that the bison has never come to Chisana before means more to us all than I could possibly put into words.

This amazing gift of Elias’s presence in our lives is truly a blessing from God. The bison’s medicine includes abundance, manifestation, protection, feminine courage, knowledge, courage, strength, survival and giving for the greater good. The bison reminds us that true prosperity comes when we are grateful for what we have; all that we have.


Oh! Remember that the online Shushanna General Store is now open and has many interesting and unique gifts and supplies for you as well as others on your gift list.

All proceeds from merchandise with the Stand for the Man in Black and Standing for Survival logos and insignias will go directly to the fundraiser.

Shushanna General Store


Related posts:

Family, It's What Matters to Pioneer Outfitters
Women in the Outdoors ~ Make a Plan
With Excited Endurance

4 Responses to Could the Message Be Any Bigger?

  1. Elias is just Awesome!!! Did you know the tonka part of his middle name means I believe Lakota? I had a dog I named Tonka because of that.
    You so needed a positive sign..what a cool one to show up.

    Love the slideshow..hope he sticks around till June! :D

    As Always

    • Lol, Yes, so I have been informed! I heard non-stop that his name “should be” Tatonka, and yes, in my research I read that it is a word we received from the Lakota people. I hope he does decide to stay with us, Ann, for us as well as sharing him in real life with you.
      Much love!!

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