Former living mascot for NDSU is let loose to retire on the prairie

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT
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Corso the bison was an orphaned calf before becoming the NDSU football team mascot.

He's recently been living at the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, but he now has a new home out on the prairie.

Corso found a new home Monday at Fisher's Bar 33 Ranch. He was brought from the zoo in Wahpeton, N.D. to Selfridge, N.D. to welcome him into retirement.

Corso calmly stepped out of the trailer to see his new home.

"Everybody's going to miss him, but we know he's going to a great place. It's his new home and he couldn't have a better home," said zoo curator Tom Schmaltz.

Schmaltz said he and Corso have a special way of understanding each other.

"He would let me know. He'd come up and push on me and that was my queue to take him over, away and as long as I hung on to the lead rope, that was like his security blanket. As long as I had his lead rope, he was content," said Schmaltz.

Schmaltz said he's been watching Corso grow up since he was just one day old.

"So from 38 pounds to 17 - 18 hundred pounds,” said Schmaltz.

But he said he fully trusts Ernie Fisher to care for him because of his passion for his own animals.

"When you grew up with this and you nurtured these animals. I mean, you get emotionally bonded, you feel responsible, you have that sense of accomplishment," said Fisher, bison caretaker and owner of the ranch.

After seven years in the limelight, Schmaltz and Fisher are excited for his next phase of life.

"Just let him be, let him be a buffalo now. Before he was an attraction, so let's let him be himself," said Fisher.

And Corso seems excited about it as well.

Corso has a long journey ahead of him this year. He was let out beside buffalo earlier Monday and will be introduced to them one by one until he is acclimated. After that, he'll get to roam around with his friends in the pasture.