Best of Great State: Where the Buffalo Roam and are auctioned off to the highest bidder

WICHITA MTS. WILDLIFE REFUGE, OKLAHOMA -- They were meant to run free so when you put a bison in a tight space Ranger Ralph Bryant says they don't like it.

"They're older bulls and they're pretty agitated right now," he says looking above a pen containing 3 nervous animals.

But every year now for much of the past 40 or them, managers and volunteer cowboys round-up as many bison as they can, then sell the ones they don't want.

Tough cowboys come from all over the U.S.

Some of them buy for the meat.

Tommy Hope was thinking he might like to buy some of the smaller animals to help train cutting horses.

The refuge offers some of the best animals out there.

"They're just good quality," he says. "And it's a historical thing too."

Buffalo are quicker than cattle and they have more fight in them too.

Managers and volunteers station a man at every gate.

Auctioneer Rudy Glover works fast on a cold afternoon.

Refuge Biologist Walt Munsterman will sell nearly 170 head in a couple of hours.

Around 600 of the rest will go back to what they do best as soon as possible.

"Munsterman cautions, "It's just a whole different ball game when you handle bison."

The American Bison of the Wichitas roam across 60,000 acres of rugged grassland.

They are a genetic treasure, descendants of a species that came very close to vanishing.

From here, their hoof beats spread out.

The annual Wichita Mts. Wildlife Refuge Buffalo Auction takes place October 20th.

The sale starts at noon.

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