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Bison Producers

Bison Census 1996 – 2021


The 2021 census reported 149,539 bison on 989 farms and ranches. This reflects and annual compound growth rate of about 5.2% since the bison census was first taken in 1996 when 42,235 bison were reported on 745 farms and ranches. The 2021 census reported a 25.3% increase in bison numbers over 2016 levels. All provinces except Manitoba reported an increase in bison numbers.

Bison Population

1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

2021

2021 % Change

from 2016

BC

6,245

8,964

12,656

9,206

6,504

14,888

+128.9%

AB

22,782

79,821

97,366

57,483

54,907

65,405

+19.1%

Sask.

7,006

34,781

57,395

39,334

40,418

52,860

+30.8%

MB

4,621

13,473

19,609

14,116

14,025

11,725

-16.4%

ON

2,344

3,755

4,106

2,320

1,843

2,974

+61.4%

QC

2,236

4,192

4,322

2,380

1,538

1,682

+9.4%

Atlantic

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

79

n/a

n/a

National

45,235

144,950

195,728

125,142

119,314

149,539

+25.3%

There were 989 bison farms and ranches that reported bison in 2021 compared to 975 bison farms in 2016 – an increase of 1.4%. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario reported an increase in bison producers with the remaining bison producing provinces showing a decline.

Farms and Ranches Reporting Bison

1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

2021

2021 % Change

from 2016

BC

57

98

121

71

55

48

-12.7%

AB

334

950

869

571

445

472

+6.1%

SK

175

562

597

352

303

308

+1.6%

MB

73

157

166

108

86

82

- 4.6%

ON

46

58

71

60

49

52

+6.1%

QC

56

58

69

45

34

26

-23.5%

Atlantic

n/a

n/a

3

2

2

n/a

n/a

National

745

1,887

1,898

1,211

975

989

+1.4%

The average herd size increased by 23.8% to 151 head in 2021 compared to 122 head in 2016. British Columbia showed the largest increase in bison population as well as average herd size.

Average Herd Size

1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

2021

2021 % Change

from 2016

BC

110

91

105

130

118

310

+162.7%

AB

68

84

112

101

123

139

+13.0%

SK

40

62

96

112

133

172

+29.3%

MB

63

86

118

131

163

143

- 12.3%

ON

51

65

58

39

38

57

+50.0%

QC

40

72

63

53

29

65

+124.1%

Atlantic

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

National

61

77

103

103

122

151

+23.8%

Note: Census Data are collected in mid-May during the bison calving period. It is uncertain as to how may of the 2021 calves are included in the census.

Contact the CBA:

306-522-4766

info(at)canadianbison.ca