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1882~Buffalo Hunting in Montana,  Courtesy of the Hanyes Foundation Collection, Montana Historical Society, Helena MT.

1882 Buffalo Hunting Mt


Democrat Chronicle
Rochester New York, Feb 5 1882

A bill has been introduced in the house making it unlawful to kill elk, deer, antelope, buffalo, mountain sheep or bison in the territories under any pretext whatsoever, except for food, and then only when necessary for humans subsistence.


The Buffalo Commercial
Buffalo, New York Feb 16, 1882

–By Imperial permission, a bison hunt was recently organized in the neighborhood of Balostock, in Russia, and two bison were killed and forwarded to St. Petersburg. There are considerable herds of those animals in the wild forest districts known as White Russia, and lying between Balostock and Litovsk.


The Indiana Weekly Messenger
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Feb 27 1882


(extract, describes train ride through the West)

From this point the iron road, skirting Humboldt River, past a few miles to the north. Then it bent to the east, and did not leave the stream until it reached the Humboldt range, where the river takes its source, nearly in the eastern end of the state of Nevada.

After breakfasting, Mr. Fogg, Mrs.Acuda in their companions took their seats again in the car. Phileas Fogg, the young woman, Fix and Passepartout, comfortable seated, looked at the varied country passing before their sight, vast prairies, mountains whose profiles were shown upon the horizon, and crecks tumbling down, a foaming mass of water. Sometimes, a large herd of bisons, gathering in the distance, appeared like a moving dam. These innumerable armies of grazing animals frequently oppose an insurmountable obstacle to the passage of trains. Thousands of these animals have been seen moving on for several hours in close ranks across the railroad. The locomotive is then forced to stop and wait until the path is clear again.

The same thing happened on this occasion. About three o’clock in the afternoon a herd of ten or twelve thousand block the railroad. The engine, having slackened its speed, tried to plunge its spur into the flank of the immense column, but it had to stop before the impenetrable mass.

They saw these buffaloes, as the Americans improperly call them, moving with their steady gait, frequently bellowing terribly. They had a larger body than those of the Bulls of Europe, short legs and tail, of projecting saddle forming a muscular hump, warns separated at the base, their heads, neck and shoulders covered with long, shaggy hair. They could not think of stopping this moving mass. When the bisons have adopted a course nothing can sway them from it or modify it. They are a torrent of living flesh which no dam could hold..

The travelers, scattered on the platforms, looked at this curious spectacle. But Phileas Fogg, who ought to be the most in a hurry, had remained in his seat and was waiting philosophically until it should please the buffaloes to open a passage. Passepartout was furious at the delay caused by the mass of animals. He wanted to fire all his revolvers at them.

“What a country!” He cried :Mere cattle stop trains, and move along in procession without hurrying, as if they did not impede travel!! Parblean! I would like to know if Mr. Fogg had foreseen this mischance in his programe! And what an engineer, who does not dare to rush his engines through this impeding mass of beast!’

The engineer had not attempted to overcome the obstacle, and he acted wisely. He would undoubtedly have crushed the first buffaloes struck by the cow catcher; but, powerful as it was, the engine would have soon been stopped and the train thrown off the track and wrecked.

The best course, then was to wait patiently, ready to make up for lost time by an increase of the speed of the train. The passage of the bisons lasted three full hours, and the road was not clear again in till night-fall. At this moment the last ranks of the herd cross the rails, whilst the first were disappearing below the southern horizon. It was then 8 o’clock when the train passed through the defiles of the Humboldt range, and half-past nine when it entered Utah territory,  the region of the Great Salt Lake, the curious Mormon country.


The Council Grove Republican
Council Grove, Kansas Mar 17, 1882
Influence of Man on Animals

it is quite obvious influence of man been generally inimical to the larger beast and birds. The edible species he has killed off for food; the carnivores he has killed off as competitors and enemies of his own. In Britain alone we have destroyed or driven away the uras, the reindeer, the bear, the wolf, the beaver and the wild boar; while we have almost exterminated the bustard, this deal and the white cattle of Chillingham, and have lately reintroduced by artificial means the long locally extinct capercailzie. The red deer survives only by careful preservation; the fallow deer is doubtfully indigenous; the pheasant is a acclimatized alien. So, in New Zealand, the Maories had destroyed the moa before white men reached the island; in Mauritius the dodo only just live on long enough to be inaccurately described; in Bering Strait the peculiar Marine mammal allied to the manatee was killed off by the earliest European explorers. The walrus and the seal even now threatened to become extinct; the European seas are getting fished out; the bison and the peccary will soon be driven out of America; the wapiti is even now becoming scarcer every year. In short, man is and has always been exterminating all the larger animals everywhere and we may even question how considerable a part he may have borne in the destruction of some among the great extinct creatures of the quaternary period. He has almost certainly killed off the reindeer in its wild form, and he may have assisted the glacial epoch in killing off the mammoth, the cave bear, and the woolly rhinoceros. Wherever man appears, the large feast and birds begin to disappear. It is only against small creatures that he is helpless, in exact proportion to their smallness. He can do little against the sugar cane rat or the ordinary mouse; still less against the army worm or the seventeen year locusts, and almost nothing, it would seem against the phyiloxera or the Colorado beetle. In when he comes to deal with the microscopic organisms which invade his very veins as Yellow Jack or typhoid fever, it appears that his best chance lies in actually introducing a small colony of the enemy in attenuated and comparatively innocuous forms into his own system. On the other hand, it does not follow that universe civilization or the general establishment of the highest existing type of man over the whole world will necessarily lead to the total extinction of all the larger birds and mammals. There can be little doubt that many must go – the lions, tigers, pumas and jaguars, which indeed are already disappearing: the hippopotamus, the rhinoceros, the bison and perhaps even the whale, which are not likely to be artificially preserved. But many have been and will be spared, because here again the action of man differs widely from that of the lower animals. Alone among carnivorous creatures, he has intelligence enough to preserve some of each useful kind for breeding: not quite alone among herbivores and trugivorous species, he keeps a little of each edible plant for seed. It seems probable that certain highly specialized early types, such as the sabre-toothed lions, have become extinct through the too absolute perfection of their carnivorous structure. They were peculiarly adapted for killing the large mammals of their own period: and when they had succeeded in killing off the whole race, they died out themselves for want of food, because they were too specialized in their enormous saber like teeth in heavy heads to compete with other and lighter types of  cats such as the ordinary lions and tigers, and the pursuit of smaller prey like deer and antelopes. But when man has once reached the pastoral stage which really marks the difference between what we call natural and artificial selection. Man, the hunter, scarcely differs much from other animals in his influence upon the general fauna, except, in so far as he picks off the very best and largest of each kind; with pastoral and agricultural man we rise to a new level, where the useful kinds are definitely and consciously selected and favored, instead of being ruthlessly destroyed. Henceforth animals and plants survive, not because they are inedible, but because they are edible.

Pall Mall Gazette


The Benton Weekly Record
April 13, 1882

……The Forest and Stream has recently disseminated among the newspapers of the country of circular filled with the statistics of the wholesale slaughtering of buffalo, deer antelope and elk – notably in Wyoming and Montana – four their pelts alone. The circular also mournfully points out the prospect of a speedy extermination of the game – little and big of the country – a less efficient steps are forth with taken to check the promiscuous killing of it both for sport and profit. Certainly such a prospect is to be regretted: – but after all only of sentimental way. In all the states and Territories of the Union the statutes make ample provisions for the protection of game – big and little – yet in hardly any of them do those protective laws serve any other purpose than to cumber the books enclosing them. All game laws are contrary as well to the conditions of their country as to the ideas of the American people. Any rigid enforcement of them is visionary and impractical, and, moreover, would never be tolerated in any section of the country. Legislatures pass them generally to humor harmless would-be sportsmen – the class of men who write for and subscribe to such papers as the Forest and Stream – and verbose, foolish philanthropist of New York City Bergh order. There is little thought or intention of there being kept when they are enacted.
……To enforce them properly would invariably require an additional taxation, which so purely sentimental an end could by no means justify, such laws even if moderate and abstractly wise would soon come to be regarded by the people pretty much in the same jealous light as the selfish game statutes protecting nobleman’s parks and moors in Scotland and England, have been viewed by the masses of those countries. Would it not been be running directly counter to expediency and popular sentiment for either government or sportsmen’s societies to attempt the surveillance necessary for the observance of any such laws?
Wild game, also, naturally gives place to domestic animal life as unoccupied regions are settled up and made to minister to the wants of civilization. No sentiment or sentimental legislation can alter this law of nature, which especially applies to the democratic land tenure system of the United States. What we have said above is general, but when that practical operation of game laws is considered with reference to vast, sparsely settled sections like Montana and Wyoming, – in wild portions of which it is often difficult, nay almost impossible to protect human life, and the rights of private property – then their feasibility is even more questionable and visionary.
……To check the buffalo and pelt hunters in these Territories and their promiscuous slaughters would demand almost all the military resources of the War Department, and even then it would be impossible to disabuse the mind of a frontiersman, above all other citizens, that all the game within reach of his rifle did not belong to him, to do with as he pleased. But as bearing upon its game protective remedies the Forest and Stream circular also contains the text of the bill now with the committee on Territories of the House of Representatives, introduced by Mr. Post, of Wyoming, which is preposterously absurd, whether treated sentimentally or practically, if viewed seriously and with reference to its becoming a law, to be enforced by the general government, instead of being styled as it is “ A bill for the protection of wild game in the Territories of the United States, “ it should be called “A bill for encouraging infringements of United States laws in the Territories, “ A portion of it reads as follows:
……“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to kill or destroy any elk, deer, antelope, buffalo, mountain sheep, or bison in any of the Territories of the United States, at any time for any purpose or under any pretext whatsoever, except for food, and then only when necessary for humans subsistence, being governed in amount and quantity by the reasonable necessities of the person or persons killing the same: Provided that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the killing of such quantity as may be needed for domestic market supply, for purposes of human subsistence only.
……Sec.2 That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to have in his or their possession for the purpose of transportation out of any of the Territories of the United States, or from one of said Territories into another, any of the animals mentioned in this act, either dead or alive, or the skins or pelts of any such animals; and if any such animals, or the skins or pelts thereof, be found in the possession of any transportation steamboat, or railway company, or of any person or persons for purposes of transportation, whether the same be in transit or otherwise, it shall be the duty of the United States Marshal to seize said property and arrest the owner thereof if he can be found, and upon judgment being rendered against the owner thereof said property shall be forthwith destroyed.
……“Sec.3. That it shall be unlawful for any person to deal in, or to buy or sell, or have in his possession for the purpose of sale, trade, or barter, any of the animals mentioned and described in this act, or the skins or pelts thereof.”
Either great pressure must have been brought to bear on Post by the pseudo philanthropist and sentimentalist, and he introduced this measure only with reference to its lying dead in the statute book if passed – or else he is the singularly guileless delegate not to know that at the present time, in these big-game Territories, numberless infractions of the most important United States laws have to be put up with because Congress provides national government officials with appropriations only large enough to enable them to peculate bare their living expenses. Most of the people of Montana, we believe, rejoice in the disappearance of big-game, for so long as buffalo, antelope, etc. range about, the Indians will have excuses for vagabondizing, petty thieving and cattle killing.


Independent Record Helena Montana May 12 1882
The latest out is canned buffalo, killed in Montana, shipped to New York, and canned and reshipped back here for sale.



San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, California Sep 2 1882


Arrived at the track, the attention of the spectators was divided between the speed programme in the array of blooded stock. Under the latter head a most attractive competition marks the various entries, inasmuch as each of the classes lays strong claim to pure strains. Even a casual inspection attest the success which California stock-raisers have met with in their efforts to secure thorough bred stock. The great demand for stalls and quarters for such stock as has not yet arrived gives promise that this department will be adequately and fittingly represented. The exhibit is not as yet complete, but it is confidently expected that by to-morrow all the stalls will be occupied, and the result will be one of the largest stock exhibitions ever witnessed in the State. As it is, the stock quarters received their quota of public recognition to-day, and the keenest interest was manifested in each of the classes. Among those whose attention was engrossed with the merits of the exhibit was a prominent San Francisco stock broker, using the word stock in an inflated sense, whose office is on California street. He was evidently actuated by a desire to disprove the fallacy that stock brokerage, as above used, is incompatible with stock raising. Having approached the quarters of the Durhams he gazed in mute admiration at a large bull, and casually remarked that it looked very much like a brindle bison. The person in charge assured him that the bull was in reality an almost extinct species of bison, and that the calves by its side were the result of a cross. The broker was at first incredulous, and pointed to the fact that one bull was minus the proverbial hump, whereupon the keeper replied that the theory of evolution was best shown in the case of the bull, who, in the stages of improvement, had lost the hump. The broker was enthusiastic, and he was last seen expatiating to a select crowd upon the marvelous effect of cross-breeding in stock.


Harrisburg Telegraph
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Sep. 9, 1882


In the long course of ages the climate gradually became colder in the Valley of the Thames, and vast numbers of reindeer wandered over the area which had formerly been occupied by stags, uri, and other animals. There remains lie scattered through the river gravels and loams various height above the level of the Thames, from Oxford and Abingdon down to London. The numerous remains, for example, found in digging the new calvary barracks at Windsor, belonged one-half to the reindeer and the rest to the bisons, horses, bears and wolves. They had evidently been washed down from a ford higher upstream, which these animals were in the habit of using year-by-year. The vast herds of migrating reindeer in Siberia and of bisons in North America cross the rivers very generally at the same points year after year, and are followed by the same kinds of beasts of prey, which bring up the rear and prey upon the stragglers. The lion, too, is proved, by the discovery of his remains in the gravel beds of London along with reindeer, to have shared in the attack on the reindeer, horses and bisons, as it is now to be seen among the antelopes in tropical Africa. Could we follow it to its fonts in the Woodlands than occupying the site of London, we should see it spring upon other animals, such as the Irish elk or the young of the woolly rhinoceros, mammoth, or hippopotamus. And could we penetrate to the banks of the streams, guided by a thin column of smoke rising above the tops of the trees at Hackney or Gray’s Inn, we should come upon the rude shelters of the river-drift hunters- the men selecting blocks of flint in chipping implements out of them, the women preparing the meal of flesh, and the children looking on and breaking the silence of the evening with their shouts – on those very spots where now is to be heard day and night the voice of our great city. Man is here, as before, the rival of the lion in the chase.

Prof. Boyd Dawkins, in Contemporary Review.


The Weekly Yellowstone Journal Sep 30, 1882
A hunting party left here Sunday with the avowed intention of slaughtering a hundred or two buffalo. When they returned, the most effective search of their game bag revealed only one, solitary prairies dog,


The Atlanta Constitution
Atlanta, Georgia Oct 21, 1882

BEN, the big bison so well known to all visitors in Central Park, New York, died Monday night. Ben was presented to the park by General Custer, who captured him at Smoky Hill.

The prisoner reached the menagerie on May 1, 1868. Some of his offspring are now in European menageries. Ward, the sculptor selected Ben for his model of the bison.

I searched for John Quincy Adams Ward’s bison sculpture and was not able to find anything. I did find several of his works, like The Indian Hunter, which is very famous.

I also reached out to the NY Historical Society for any information on Ben. Waiting for their   reply.