Don Murphy’s dude ranch east of Eatonville probably is the only place in Washington State outside of Woodland Park Zoo where the deer and the buffalo play. Murphy always has a half dozen deer around the place, and this week he acquired three buffalo, two cows and a bull, from the National Bison Range in Montana, which at 17 months of age and 700 pounds in weight are less than half grown.
Like cows, they are ruminants, but there the resemblance ends. For while cows are inclined to be slow, awkward and contented, the buffalo are unmistakably wild animals, quick, agile and belligerent.
Individuals are sold the animals by the national buffalo refuge only if they agree not to kill them for at least five years, and Murphy plans to build up a herd and serve buffalo steaks.
The deer are brought to the Murphy ranch by the State Game Department for refuge. They are motherless fawns, cripples and other deer not up to being on their own, who recuperate on the ranch, then are liberated.
Besides the deer, the dog Skipper and Tweet the canary, also are on hand for the sociability.
Images courtesy of Rich and Ruthie Williams.
Click on images to enlarge.