TULSA, Okla. – Perryman Ranch has announced that Yvnvssv Hetke, the oldest male white bison in North America, died last month. The announcement was delayed in order that the remains could be buried secretly to prevent theft. Several Native elders visited the site following the burial. He was found deep in the thicket at the west end of Perryman Ranch, near Coal Creek, the morning after the October full moon. The veterinarian who was called in said he died of natural causes, apparently from old age. In the wild, bison (American buffalo) live to be about 25 years old.
Yvnvssv Hetke is Mvskoke (Muscogee) for bison, white. He was about 30 years old, and had lived on the Perryman Ranch 20 years along with the Ranch’s herd of longhorn cattle, descended from the original Perryman herd driven here from Alabama around 1830. He was owned by Robert W. Trepp, Loca’pokv Mvskoke, and Martin R. Shackelford, Osage. Shackelford passed away in 2006. Perryman Ranch is owned by Monetta Trepp, the daughter of the late Edith Perryman Johnson. Robert Trepp is active in Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal affairs.
Although he was known to eat almost anything he could reach, his favorite treats seemed to be apples, pears, and oranges, all of which he ate whole. He was also known to keep company with his choice of “girlfriends” in the longhorn herd. He was steered before the Ranch acquired him, and left no offspring. He “escaped” the Ranch twice, once dragging 1/8 mile of barbed wire fence into Elwood to lead the longhorns north, another time leading the herd west through the residential neighborhood toward US-75.
The Perryman Ranch preserves the 1910 ranch home Rachel (Dot), Cozetta, and Edith, the daughters of Mose Perryman, and Alice and H. Dale, children of Lula Dunbar Perryman Jordan, as well as the 1898 barn and an even older sandstone root cellar. 80 acres of Mose Perryman’s allotment of Muscogee tribal lands are preserved by Mrs. Trepp, his only surviving grandchild.
The Ranch is managed by Wes Dickinson, his wife CoCo, and son, Luke. Dickinson was instrumental in acquiring the white bison for the Ranch.