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About Blue Mountain Bison

About Blue Mountain Bison
The Ranch
Blue Mountain Bison ranch is owned and operated by the Jonjak family, established in 1989. Paul, Mark and Katherine all are co-owners of Blue Mountain Bison. The Jonjaks have been involved in agriculture since the nineteen- thirties. Paul was raised in an agricultural business and he raised Mark and Katherine in an agricultural business.

It started as an idea and concept born out of love of nature and the west. Paul Jonjak throughout his youth went on trips throughout the Rocky Mountains hunting and developed an appreciation for the wilderness and the variety of big game that inhabited the western states. It brought on the idea of finding a ranch in the Rockies and was quickly followed by how to support the ranch if he bought it. Since he already had an appreciation of wild game, why not raise bison or the American buffalo on the ranch?

Paul and his son Mark went about the research required to develop the business plan needed to set the idea into motion. They talked to other bison producers about how they raised their buffalo. They visited many bison ranches to check out their handling facilities, working pens, corrals and fences. They joined the only two buffalo associations at the time the American Bison Association and the National Buffalo Association. Mark and Paul also researched by reading all available material on buffalo or bison everything from general information about care, such as feeding to bison genetics related to breeding. They took all the information they acquired and developed a business plan based on the information they researched.

The ranch that the family decided to buy was located in the foothills of Colorado. The ranch had over 5000 acres of prime native grass and lots of bio-diversity. In no time at all the corrals and handling facilities were done and the fencing was up around the whole perimeter of the ranch and we were ready for our first bison to be brought to the ranch.

Our bison ranching philosophy remains the same now as it was then. We believe in Conservation, preservation, maintaining the natural conditions of the ranch, encouraging bio-deversity and developing a quality, diverse, and naturally strong bison herd.

Mark had researched the genetic history of bison and realized the importance of obtaining rare and unique bloodlines. Our bison have been purchased from all over North America from national herds such Teddy Roosevelt herd, Custer, and the National Bison Range to private herds from all over the United States to isolated herds in Canada. Paul also realized the importance of obtaining top-quality animals from the best of the best show "The Gold Trophy Show and Sale". The only show of its kind in 1989.

We started with a just a few animals and continued to bring in animals until we had over 450 animals roaming on Blue Mountain Bison Ranch. We purchased two Grand Champions bulls in 1991 "Thunderbyrd" and 1992 "Sasquatch" and many award winning animals throughout the years. We have never stopped actively searching for rare bloodlines to buy and continue to purchase top-quality animals.

To market the animals we started to bring animals to the Denver Gold Trophy Show and Sale. We also sold bison hunts at very high prices, because few people offered bison hunts. We also sold breeding stock and continue to sell diverse-quality breeding stock today. Culls were sold to people who wanted them as meat. From 1990-1995 it was a good time to be in the bison breeding market. Times change and Blue Mountain Bison has continued to grow as the market changes.

Katherine and her husband Brian Plahn came in to help run the ranch in 1994 and are still running the ranch today. We continued to bring animals to the Denver "GTSS" but also attend a new show and sale the "Black Hills Classic" in South Dakota. We were able to continue to win trophies, they sold high, and they were animals that we had produced at Blue Mountain Bison. Since the first year we have brought animals to Denver we have won over 40 awards. We produced a Reserve Grand Champion Male in 1995, Rock Creek Bison purchased him he went on to produce more Grand Champion males, females and trophy winners than any other bull in the last ten years.

It was about that time that we decided that we could not maintain our philosophy with the number of animals that we had. We decided that we needed to sell over 300 bison to go back to our roots. We moved those animals and had a core herd of 150 awesome quality diverse animals. We moved back to marketing hunts.

In 1997 the family approached the local county for their interest in purchasing a conservation easement on the ranch. The conservation easement is protection against development and in some cases you can work with conservation's groups that will pay you to obtain those development rights. You keep the land and manage the land in same fashion you have always done and the land is protected against uncontrolled growth. Just over 3000 acres are protected forever from development on the ranch. Paul worked very hard to get this accomplished. We also donated over $700,000 of the conservation easement.

In the years, 2000-2003 there was a down turn in the bison breeding market, but the meat market was still seeing a 20% increase each year. A three-year drought and 2002 being the driest year ever recorded bison ranching was a hard business to be in. Blue Mountain struggle through those years and the future is once again bright.

Blue Mountain purchased "Pretty-Boy Floyd" a two-time GTSS winner in 2000 and 2001. Along with our core herd of descendants of the first buffalo we have purchased. We have our own distinct bison line. Today we continue to produce top-quality bison, market buffalo hunts and are actively involved with buffalo associations. Paul has served as President of the National Bison Association and Katherine is currently serving on the State Association Board. The ranch is still family owned and operated, together we have stayed true to our original intent and look forward to the future with bison.

For more information on purchasing bison or bison meat, or on bison hunts, contact our Business Manager, Katherine Jonjak

{mailbox}Email Katherine or Call (303) 823-0640

or Write: Blue Mountain Bison, P.O. Box 1460 Lyons, CO 80540