Skip to main content

North America’s Oldest White Bison Dies

Yvnvssv Hetke, the oldest white bison in North America, walked on in October.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

At about 30 years old Yvnvssv Hetke, the oldest white bison in North America, outlived the average age of most wild bison who have a life expectancy of about 25 years.

According to the Native American Times, Yvnvssv Hetke—Muscogee for bison—was found the morning after the October full moon at the west end of Perryman Ranch, in Jenks, Oklahoma, where he had lived for the last 20 years with a herd of longhorn cattle. A veterinarian determined he died of natural causes.

Yvnvssv Hetke never met an apple, pear or orange he didn’t devour whole, and was owned by Robert W. Trepp, Loca’pokv Mvskoke, and Martin R. Shackelford, Osage, who walked on in 2006.

The Native American Times also reported the bison led a good life, having been known to have a number of “girlfriends” among the longhorn herd, which are descendants of the original Perryman herd driven to Oklahoma from Alabama around 1830.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Yvnvssv Hetke left behind no offspring, but did leave behind a legacy of “escapes” from the ranch. One time he dragged an eighth of a mile of barbed wire fence into Elwood in an attempt to lead the longhorns north and another time he tried leading the herd west through a residential neighborhood toward US-75.

His death wasn’t announced right away so he could be buried secretly, but several Native American elders did visit the site to pay their respects.