A question we get asked a lot these days, so want to clear it up for everyone.
Scientifically, the true name for the North American Buffalo is "Bison" - but because our history has so ingrained in us the name Buffalo, we still use it today. True Buffalos are the Cape Buffalo and Water Buffalo of Africa and Asia. There are two subspecies of the North American Bison: the plains bison and the wood bison.(pictured below)
Like buffalo, bison belong to the Bovidae family, which includes more than 100 species of hoofed mammals, called ungulates — buffalo, bison, antelopes, gazelles, cattle, sheep and goats.
I found a great simple (with pictures...hooray!) way to describe the difference......
Is a bison a buffalo? What is a bison?
Whether you ask the question ‘what is a bison,’ ‘what’s the difference between bison and buffalo,’ or ‘is a bison a buffalo,’ the answer remains the same…….. American buffalo are bison. American buffalo meat is bison meat.
The confusion arose when Europeans first encountered these majestic animals. Our American bison looked to them most like their ‘water buffalo’ back home. That was the point in which American bison began being referred to as buffalo.
Just as humans, on a genus and species level, are Homo sapiens, American bison are Bison bison. The Bison bisoncategory is further broken down into two widely recognized subspecies, the plains bison (Bison bison bison) and wood bison (Bison bison athabascae).
The plains bison tends to be smaller with a more rounded hump and the wood bison is the larger of the two, having a taller squarer hump.
The wood bison is one of the largest species of bovid in the world. Wood bison tend to thrive in hilly, wooded areas whereas plains bison are the bison you think of from the movies, thriving throughout the Great Plains of North America.
Neither of these subspecies are related genetically to the water buffalo of other countries. At Bear Mountain Bison we have both plains and wood bison in our herd. Thank you to Bear Moutain Bison for the best description I could find - http://bearmountainbison.com/your-health/bison-vs-buffalo/
We as a family chose to start eating Bison as our red meat of choice because of the health benefits. We decided to create BUFF.ca to share our new love of Bison and because we LOVE pepperettes! We purchased a farm to raise our own Bison in 2015 because we became passionate about all things Bison. The taste of the meat, the health benefits, the fact that they are grass fed and finished and that they are just truly majestic animals.
Buffalo/Bison meat is tender, low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. Our supplier, one of few federally approved Bison meat processing plants in Canada provides us with quality bison meat produced without interference from artificial growth stimulants and unnatural production practices. These Bison are raised in optimum conditions, roaming magnificent spaces in complete freedom, without any stress factors in order to promote their growth and health.