May 16, 2014 in Features

Furry beasts’ gentle side on display on bison tours

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Dude, the bull at Win-Tur Bison Farm near Springdale, Washington, stands 6 feet tall at the hump and weighs about 1,700 pounds.
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When Jessie Turney and Andrew Winter moved to Eastern Washington from Wisconsin, they brought their love for bison, and their bison, with them.

The couple opened Win-Tur Bison Farm, south of Springdale, to share the love. “Bison tours” start Friday for the season.

The 26-acre farm eventually will sell some meat, but its main focus is agritourism, Turney said.

Win-Tur is home to 13 bison, plus six calves expected “any time now.” Its bull stands 6 feet tall at the hump, weighs about 1,700 pounds, and is still growing, Turney said. Females stand about 5 feet tall.

The bull’s name is Dude. The head cow goes by Puddin’.

The couple got to know the bison while helping Turney’s parents run their roughly 350-bison farm in Wisconsin. Ten animals made the trip west by truck.

“There is something that is just so powerful about them, and yet somewhat gentle,” Turney said. “They’re feisty animals, but they just have a lot of personality.”

Bison tours involve a 10-minute video presentation in a barn along with talks about the history and lives of bison, plus a question-and-answer session.

The best part, Turney said, is when visitors get the chance to feed the bison pressed alfalfa “grass cubes” from across a fence.

“You get to actually get up close and personal and scratch them on the nose and feed them a treat,” she said. “You get to experience what kind of critters they are.”

Adrian Rogers

Where: 4742 Highway 231, seven miles south of Springdale, Washington.

When: Tours start hourly from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors and children (5 and younger free); no registration required. Cash or check only.

Consider stopping: In Loon Lake, Springdale or Reardan for food and restrooms. The bison farm has neither.

More information: www.winturbisonfarm.com or (509) 258-6717.


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