The Independent Record March 4, 1879
AN ACT to protect bison in certain counties in Montana Territory.
Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Montana:
Section 1. That any person who shall willfully shoot, or otherwise kill, for the period of ten years from and after the passage of this act, any buffalo or bison, within the Counties of Madison, Jefferson, Deer Lodge and Lewis and Clarke, Montana Territory, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail not less than two months and not more than six months, or, both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
Sec.2 That the possession of the green hides, or dead bodies, or any part thereof, of any buffalo or bison, by any person, or persons, within the limits of said counties, shall be taken as prima facie evidence that such person, or persons, are guilty of killing the same.
Sec.3 Any person in forming on any person violating the provisions of section one of this act, upon the conviction of such person, be entitled to one-fourth of the find collected.
Sec.4 It is hereby made the duty of the Judges of the District Courts held in the respective counties of Deer Lodge, Jefferson and the Lewis and Clarke, to give in charge to the grand juries of said counties the provisions of this act.
Sec.5 This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its approval.
Approved February 21st, 1879.
The Waterloo Express March 6, 1879
How the Indians Hunt the Bison
Before the horse came into use Indians were obliged to chase the bison on foot, and even at that present day there are many celebrated hunters who are able to run down a bison on foot and kill it with a lance. The mode however, which is generally adopted in the chase by mounted hunters, a chase which offers the greatest results, and exhibits the wildest enthusiasm and excitement. Armed merely with tiny and flint headed arrows, the native hunter mounts his horse, and goes off in chase of the bison.
……When he comes up with the animals, he selects one, usually of fat and well conditioned cow, presses his horse to her, and prepares his bow and arrow. The well-trained horse needs no gilding, but keeps close to the right shoulder of the bison, and a little behind it, so that it may not run upon the horns of the animal if it should happen to stop suddenly and turn its head. This plan, moreover, just bring the rider into the proper position to deliver his arrow in the most deadly manner, i.e., directing that just behind the shoulder. When an arrow is discharged by a practiced hand, it often passes entirely through the bison-he falls mortally wounded, and, tenacious of life as the animal is, soon breathes is last. Leaving the arrow in the wound in order to mark the owner of the dead animal, the successful archer dashes on in pursuit of another animal, and does not cease until he has expanded all his store of arrows.
It is the pride of the native hunter to kill a bison with every arrow, and not shoot twice at the same animal. The young hunters are fierce and anxious rivals in this sport, knowing that the results of the day’s hunt will be the talk of the whole village, and that on their success or failure will much depend the estimation in which they are held.
……Even in those parts of the country where the bow has been almost entirely superseded by firearms, it is equally a point of honor to kill the bison with a single shot and to claim a slain bison for every bullet. In such cases the hunter takes little pains in loading his gun. He carries his powder loose in his pocket or bag, scoops hastily a random quantity into the gun, drops upon it, without any wadding, a bullet wetted in the mouth, and the loading is complete. The muzzle of the gun is uppermost until the moment for firing when the gun is dropped, aimed and fired simultaneously without being brought to the shoulder.
Chicago Daily Tribune July 22 1879
Chicago Daily Tribune Aug 6 1879
Message from Sitting Bull
September 5, 1879
DOMESTICATING THE BUFFALO
……Efforts are being made, along the route of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, to domesticate the bison or buffalo of the great plains. The hide of the animal is said to be superior in value to that of the common domestic cattle for manufacturing purposes, while the meat is as good. The bison has always been crossed with domestic stock, and the new breed is highly spoken of, though we doubt its superiority for dairy purposes. A proposition has been made to the National Government, by the Railway Company, to establish a huge corral or enclosure for the vast herds of buffalo, and feed and domesticate them for common use.
……If this can be successfully done it will add enormously to our stock of available cattle, as wild herds far exceed the domestic cattle of Texas in numbers. Our resources for hides and meet would be increased at once on a prodigious scale, and we should no longer depend upon the cattle of the Buenos Ayres pampas for our hides, we should have such a resource as this to look to. We trust that the efforts will be made under some sure auspicious, whether Congress shall reject the offer or not. Unless something of this kind be done, these vast herds of buffaloes will be wasted away by the Indians and white hunters in pursuit of their hides for robes.
……It should be understood that this is a work of time, labor, care and study to domesticate any wild animal, more especially one like this, accustomed to the most unrestrained freedom, and always traveling plains together in herds. That it can be done we do not doubt – indeed it has been done on a small scale – and if it were achieved it would lay the foundation of a great and permanent trade, both for the railways and the dwellers of the plains. That the, domestic stock can also be improved by crossing with the buffalo has been demonstrated by experience made in Kansas. Thus we shall produce an American stock of cattle differing from any in Europe and perhaps better certainly as good, in supplying food for man.
……If the domestic stock were allowed to run loose on the plains it would soon become as wild as the bison. The domestic cat does, and so does the common goat when set free. Hogs allowed to run loose in the forest to feed on acorns become half wild. It is clear therefore, that the domestic animals were originally as wild as the buffaloes, and have been tamed. So we think the buffalo could be if corral and fed. The success of such an enterprise would at once convert Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado into vast cattle-raising regions, and give of prodigious impulse to business, both for the supply of meat-markets of the Union, and for the command of the trade in hides, and in such materials as glue, whips, sandpaper, etc. made from the horns, hoofs, etc.
……If we suffer the herd of buffaloes to pass out of existence without utilizing them in this way a great loss will be inflicted on many industrial interests, and we shall be compelled to seek out other and more costly methods of turning the great plains to some practical account. This is the shortest in easiest one that has yet been offered, and as it requires no large expenditure of money, no labor is planting of trees or building of roads, we think it ought at once to be acted upon, so that the plan could be put into operation with the opening of spring. The markets of the Atlantic States could then be a supplied with buffalo meat even more cheaply than common beef, as we should have the herds sent to market alive to be sold and slaughtered here at our doors. If we lose such an opportunity as this, one that offers so many advantages at so little expense, and that would open the way to a vast and permanent interest on the great plains, we shall deserve to be set down as extremely shortsighted.-Germantown Telegraph.
The Inter Ocean, September 27, 1879
GAME- There was a good demand, and the market ruled firm. Quotable at $4.50 per doz for partridge, and [email protected] for prairie chickens: some in poor order for less, Mallard ducks quotable at $2.50, and small at $1, while teal were salable at [email protected], Small snipe dull at [email protected] per doz, and jack sellable at $1.00. Live wild pigeons $1.50 per doz. And feathered at 75c. Bears saddles quotable at 12 ½ c per lb. Smoke buffalo hams quotable at 12 ½ c per lb in a small way. Venison saddles sold at [email protected] per lb for choice short cut, and 10c for long cut, when in prime order. Hams, [email protected] per lb. Venison carcasses quotable at [email protected] per lb.
The Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov. 28, 1879
A Valley Valuable for Agriculture Purposes
-The Indian Problem
Special Correspondence of The Tribune.
……Miles City, M.T., Nov. 18 -the Yellowstone Valley is more of a terra incognita than almost any other portion of our country. It has been within the past three or four years only that the first steamboat ascended this river. Gen. Reynolds undertook an expedition for that exploration of this region in 1859’-60. His published report was on the whole unfavorable to the country,-the chief objection being, as he conceived, a lack of moisture. He admits finding of fine level valley, but considers it in the main rainless and barren. As he came in sight of the Yellowstone Valley, approaching it from the south, near to where old Fort Sarpy was then standing, he says the plain was literally black with buffalo. A better acquaintance with that country and his surroundings would have enabled him more accurately to appreciate the cause for the lack of verdure of which he complains. The presence of such immense herds was of itself evidence of something to feed upon: and, besides, plainsman say that such herds never lead the vicinity of desirable water till everything in the shape of herbage is extinct.
……But, after all, one is often led to inquire whether the conditions extending over a vast portion of our country are now what they were twenty years ago. There can be little doubt that the rainfall West of the Missouri River has vastly increased in amount within that time, and is now rapidly extending its line to the westward. Whatever may have been the condition of things as to verdure, or the lack of it, when Gen. Reynolds was here twenty years ago, there is certainly no lack of it now. Since Reynolds’ day both Generals Sherman and Sheridan have been here, and given lar juster use of the country. The Valley of the Yellowstone is not wide, probably not more than from three to fifteen miles: but I doubt if any other equal area in the whole country will prove more productive when submitted to proper culture. The first real effort in that direction has been made the present year, and is more than satisfactory. The cases of success are not exceptional, but universal. I have not heard of any crop being a failure.
……Mr. J.C. Guy, one of the Country Commissioners of Custer County, informed me last evening that he made up planting of oats on ninty acres of the spring-breaking, sowing the last about 25th of May. With most in different appliances for threshing, he saved something over 4,000 bushels. And a small attempt at wheat did equally well. Our Illinois farmers would not expect any better yield on sod broken the same spring it was sown: and, what will seem singular, and perhaps incredible to them, these oats are now being sold in this market at four cents per pound, or a $1.28 per bushel. Everything in the line of garden- vegetables has grown two sizes quite out of the question in Iowa or Illinois. Fruit is as yet untried to any extent, but the presence of the wild grape, plum, and cherry would indicate that the tame varieties may be expected to follow.
……But, when the production of the cereals becomes sufficient to answer the demands of local consumption, then this section will become as it ought of be, a stock-growing region: and in that respect where can it be excelled? I doubt if anywhere on this planet. All that has been said of it in that respect is true. This Yellowstone Valley, with the clear-flowing tributaries to its river, will someday, and that not distant, be a paradise for cattle and sheep. But someone says: It’s winter-it’s long, tedious winter! I don’t know how that may be. My tarry here has only been just three weeks to-night. Within that time I have read of snow in Chicago, and much farther south than that. I have read the order for the sleighs to come out in St. Paul. And yet here nearly every day of that three weeks has been as mild as June. I don’t know why it is, and only state the fact just as I find it. And, when the best informed tell me that no material change in this respect need be it expected till about Christmas, I am beginning to take stock in the statement. All agree and persist in saying that stock live well here during the winter, without any food prepared by the hand of man.
……But, whatever this section of our country is, or is capable of becoming, either as a stock or grain production region, the Indian problem confronts you whichever way you turn. Put your finger upon any correct map of Montana, and you will find it dotted all over with Indian reservations,-some large, some small. All the best portions are occupied, or largely so, by reservations; and one cannot help feeling that they are occupied to but very little purpose. In most instances, many hundred acres are allotted to each individual Indian, squaw, and papoose. And yet not one solitary acre of the whole is devoted to cultivation, or any useful purpose. The Crow reservation on the Yellowstone is in point. It is about 200 miles in one direction by 150 in the other. Gen. Miller assures me that a more desirable section of country can scarcely be found anywhere: and still the whole is occupied by less than 2,400 Indians, big and little, and none of it cultivated. And not only do they occupied to no purpose themselves immense tracts of country, but they are a terror to those pursuing the arts of peace upon lands in any proximity to them. That they will, as a rule, exterminate civilized life whenever it can be done without detection no one intelligent upon the subject doubts. The policy of allowing these savages to roam over such vast portions of country, to prey upon human life and peaceful industry, would not be tolerated for a day if it was left to stand upon its naked merits. The best and about the only real good we have ever done the Indians, was when we compelled those in the Indian Territory to localize and do something for themselves. The same policy applied to those north of the Platte River would be followed by the same results. But the appropriations of money made for them are so easily reached and appropriated by others, and the Indian affords such a vast opportunity for sentimentalist to display their goodness, that the subject is one of the most difficult and all our National affairs to handle in a sensible way. Their superior right to the soil is urge to with great persistence. If that argument, and all that pertains to it, is good now, it was just as good the day the first settler set his foot upon the Continent, if it is wrong to make peaceful homes, and farms, and cities on our soil now, it was then.
……The fact is, the Indian has tried to escape the general doom of earning his living by the sweat of his brow, has got beaten at it, and won’t surrender. Work he won’t, and, as a rule, he never will, and he thinks the white man who does is a dog. That we should deal justly with him as with whoever else, nobody doubts. But to let him occupy the land, and make the white man support himself and his Government and the Indian beside, is it fair. If he’s a lost Israelite as many think, he’s badly lost. But, whatever and whoever he may have been in the distant past, nobody who sees him now can doubt that he is a savage, wicked, idoistrous being, with absolutely no traits of characteristics which any sane person could desire to perpetuate in another race J.S.W.