It was a hot 2013 July day when I first saw the wee bay colt with Whiskey. Maggie had told me Whiskey had foaled about ten days earlier so when I got to the park, that was one of my objectives, search the interior of the park between Jones Creek on the North and Paddock Creek on the South to find the illusive band with the dark roan stallion, Clinker.
Maggie hadn’t named him yet, so we decided on Ranger, it just seemed to fit the little guy. It was the year of the patriotic and military names, and Ranger was given his name for the dedicated Rangers who keep watch over the national parks of our country and particularly TRNP. He was a cute, precocious little one, showing his independence from his dam and yet he made sure he didn’t get too far from her side when the band moved.
Only a few months later little Ranger and his dam were taken by Georgia’s Boy. Ranger grew into a handsome stallion on the lush grasses along the Little Missouri River. There his rich bay coat gradually turned to gray, embellished with dapples. Georgia’s Boy finally kicked the young stud out of his band in the fall of 2016 after Ranger had reached his maturity. The following spring, he was often seen with some bachelor bison. He apparently thought any kind of company was better than nothing.
Ranger spent the next couple years hanging out with various other bachelor stallions, sometimes on the river, sometimes scouting for young fillies he could pick up or, better yet, a stallion whose band would not be too hard to steal. The old weakened Gray Ghost’s band was just what Ranger was looking for. The old stud, who had gotten the band when Gary died in 2016, was no match for the larger, stronger stallion. In August of 2018, Ranger must have handily overpowered poor old Gray Ghost. Ranger held the band for over a year, but unfortunately for him, he was not the only virile young stud looking for conquest. Roosevelt, two years younger, was also cruising for a harem. In the fall of 2019, Ranger disappeared and Roosevelt was found to have won the band. We all hoped that Ranger would reappear but he didn’t and it was feared he had died.
That fear was sadly proven to be true when, in a search for him June 11, 2020, we found what we thought were his remains. Upon further searching and finding additional evidence, NDBH and TRNP volunteers accessed the remains and determined that they did, in fact, belong to Ranger. We could not tell what had happened to him but he had died in the fall of 2019, at only six years of age. The young Roosevelt, who is presumed to be a half-brother to Ranger, now reigns over the small harem of mares and the one yearling colt, Arcola, who just might be Ranger’s only son.
Ranger run free until we meet again. 💔