Pawnee Bill's efforts to protect bison went well beyond his own private herd.
He lobbied Congress in 1906, encouraging the US government to set aside 26,000 acres near the Wichita Mountains to create a federal wildlife refuge. Though he initially failed to get a bill through Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt himself was interested in Pawnee Bill's proposal. With support from the American Bison Society and President Roosevelt, Congress appropriated funds and the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve was created. Fifteen bison (six male and nine female) were selected from the New York Zoological Park to create a new herd at the preserve in present-day Oklahoma.