Turns out in exceptionally rare cases bison come in other colors besides brown, and Comstock has all of them, giving it the oddly impressive title of most diverse bison herd in the world. “We don’t advertise, so literally no one knows that,” says Mitch Huggins, who owns the ranch along with his wife, Roxanne. “We lucked out! Ended up with three bison cows with the white gene, which is really, really rare.”
Rooms at Comstock Lodge start around $135 per night for two people; a lot of folks come for the hunting packages. If you prefer to just take pictures but still enjoy bison burgers, they’ll send you home with however much meat you want “It’s so, like, trendy now, it’s so expensive people can’t afford it,” Huggins says. “But you get rid of the middleman and come here, and ours aren’t corn-fed, they’re wild, they’re not stressed.”
During this conversation, we are careening around the property in an ATV, a two-hour ride for which the Hugginses charge $20. On this wildlife safari, you can see wild turkeys, elk, a kind of wild African sheep called aoudad, some hybrid goat-sheep, and an unbelievably good dog named Deuce. Most of the bison are skittish -- they are, after all, still wild -- but they’re acclimated enough to the Huggins’ ATVs that you can get pretty close, and the occasional calf will wander up to see what the deal is.
“And then there’s those two -- we call ’em the golden boys. When the summer really hits they’re just beautiful. Slick, shiny. And we have these two super rare pure-black bison, plus the normal brown ones,” Huggins says, pulling over abruptly to pick a flower. (“No idea!” he says brightly when I ask what kind it is. “Just pretty!” I will later learn from Sarah Sortum that it was a penstemon.) Roxanne, in a second ATV behind us, pulls over to see why he has pulled over, at which point he hands her the flower and gets back into ours. “Brownie points. But yeah, who knows what happens if we mix the gold and the black. Maybe we’ll get a zebra.”