Evening Star February 08, 1902
LAST OF THE BUFFALO
Congress Asked to Establish a Great Breeding Preserve
TO RAISE HALF-BREED CATTLE
Congressman Curtis Wants “buffalo” Jones to Be in Charge.
BIG BISON HUNTS
……A census of the full-blooded buffalo now known to exist in the United States brings the number up to about 800, though the account is not believed to be accurate. With the exception of the small herd in the National Yellowstone Park, all of these buffalo are in a greater or less degree of captivity, ranging from the small animal houses of the zoological parks in the eastern cities to the vast inclosures of some of the western cattle ranches. It may be said that all the buffalo are really in captivity, for even those in the Yellowstone Park are closely watched, and if, for any reason, they show inclination to stray beyond the boundaries, they are driven back by the soldiers and gamekeepers in charge. With the exception of these Yellowstone Park animals and if you in the public collections, the small and scattered herds are owned by private parties, some of them merely as a fad or as additions to well parks, others for commercial purposes.
Proposed Government Reservation.
……The United States government has never made formal attempt to prevent the extinction of the buffalo, or has assisted to any marked degree the efforts of private persons to propagate the species Congressman Curtis of Kansas has introduced a bill this winter which represents the first considerable effort to secure government aid in this direction. His bill is entitled, “A bill to set apart a preserve for the American bison and for other purposes.” The bill authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to set apart a tract of land containing 100,000 acres in the county of Eddy or in the county of Lincoln, in the territory of New Mexico, and to lease this tract to such person as in his judgment can carry out the provisions of the proposed law for a term of twenty years. The lessee the is to be given the right to fence and control the land and is it for their breeding and grazing of American bison, and for the purpose of propagating other domesticated, indigenous, native American animals. The lessee is also to be allowed to put upon this land the necessary domestic animals requisite to care for the bison and for the purpose of experimenting in the crossing of such bison with domestic cattle.
……The lessee, among other conditions, is required to deliver to the United States government on board the cars at the nearest railway station two full-blooded bison each year after the first year of the lease, the bison to be both male or both female, or one male and one female, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior. He is to be required to keep his herd of full-blooded buffalo up to not less than 100 head during the period of the lease.
To be eligible as a lessee, the party securing this tract from the government shall place upon the land within one year from the passage of the bill not less than seventy full-blooded
……American bison, of which not less than half shall be females, which bison shall be maintained for breeding purposes. The bill makes it unlawful during the existence of the lease for any one other than the owner to kill or injure any of the animals, or to hunt any kind of game within the inclosed boundary, without the written consent of the owner, and it is made unlawful also for any person other than the owner to kill, injure or dispose of any bison within the territory of New Mexico. Penalties are provided for violation of this act, and fences and other property of the proposed buffalo ranch are fully protected by special legislation.
For “Buffalo” Jones.
……While no names are mentioned in this bill, it is known that the measure is for the benefit of “Buffalo” Jones, the noted Kansas hunter and trapper, for he is the only man in the United States today who could comply with the terms of the law as now proposed, requiring seventy full-blooded animals to be placed upon the range within a year from the passage of the act.
Mr. Jones is now on the Goodnight ranch in Texas, devoting himself to experiments in producing buffalo cattle or half-breed buffalo. Charles Goodnight, the famous Panhandle cattle man, has a herd of about seventy-five buffalo, Jones has already succeeded in raising from these half a dozen half-breed buffalo cattle. These have been separated from the full-bloods, and give promise of thriving and multiplying. The half-breed animals bear a strong resemblance to the full-blooded buffalo, but they are thoroughly gentle, and have all the habits of domestic cattle. It is believed by those who have seen them that they will furnish of valuable article of commerce in their hides, which resembled the now high-priced buffalo robes, and that they will make a hardy, self-sustaining breed of animals for ranges in the extreme north and to other places where the climate necessitates the highest order of “rustling” ability.
In South Dakota and Montana.
……The next largest herd of buffalo in private ownership is one at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, which numbers about fifty. They are owned by James Philip, generally known through the cattle country as “Scotty” Philip. This heard also contains a number of half-breed buffalo cattle, produced in the same way as those in the Panhandle. Mr. Phillips herd represents the results of a hunt in the Little Missouri country about twenty years ago, when Frederick Dupree, and old French hunter, in company with a band of Indians and half-breeds, captured a half dozen calves. Mr. Dupree allowed these buffalo to range wild in the Cheyenne river country, except that he allowed none of them to stray. When Dupree died the buffalo were sold to Philip after of fruitless attempt to sell them to the United States government. These buffalo and Mr. Phillips herd have had practically the freedom which they would have enjoyed the for their nominal captivity, and may have developed to full perfection. One bull was sold out of this herd for show purposes several years ago for $1000. They are now confined in a pasture among the rough lands in a bend of the Missouri river, about eight miles from Fort Pierre. The fence which restrains them is of woven wire, 7 feet high, with post five feet apart, and over all our strong barbed wires.
……Another valuable herd of buffalo is owned by C. E. Conrad of Kalispell, Montana. He now has thirty-seven head of full-blooded buffalo in a 200 acre field, one-mile from the town in which he lives. Mr. Conrad has found that the buffalos raised in captivity fail to develop as well as those in the wild state. The striking difference is in the body between the hips and shoulders. The animal raised in confinement have shorter bodies and lack the muscle which gave the appearance of strength to their wild ancestors.
Change in a Few Years.
……It is difficult for those who remember the vast herds of buffalo which roamed the western states but a few years ago to realize that it is at all necessary for Congress to take measures to prevent the total extinction of the specie. Not over thirty years ago trains on the transcontinental railroads were often stopped to allow thousands of these animals to cross the track. Twenty-five years ago it was not unusual for the Indians and half-breeds of the northwest to indulge in the great buffalo kills from which they secured hundreds of hides for shipment to Missouri river points. It was not over fifteen years ago that it was still an ordinary occurrence for hunters to stumble across an old buffalo bull, living has solitary life in the bad lands of the Missouri river drainage. As late as 1883-4 the steamers left Fort Benton, the head of navigation on the Missouri river, loaded with great bales of buffalo hides, bought for three or four dollars a piece from the Indians, half-breeds and white hunters, while today it is almost impossible to get a well-preserved buffalo robe for less than $150, and, if the robe be unusually fine and silky, as high as $600 will have to be paid to secure it.
A Famous Buffalo Hunter.
……In the palmy days of the Buffalo hunt there were certain noted shots in the northwest who made it their business during the four months of severe winter to hunt buffalo for their hides. No other part of the animal was utilized except possibly a small slice of meat from the hump, which was practically the only food available for the hunter.
“Liver-eating” Johnson, a famous Montana scout and buffalo hunter, who is still living, has probably killed more buffalo in his day than any other living man.
……The parties led by him generally started from Coulson, on the Yellowstone river, now an abandon settlement, a few miles from Billings, Montana. They went north to the Musselshell valley, then a famous buffalo feeding ground. When a herd of buffalo was discovered the animals were
run around and around until they were confused and then the slaughter began. While the firing was in progress the herd stood in a daze, which was called getting a “stand,” and on many occasions nearly the entire herd was killed before any of the buffalo came to their senses and attempted
to escape. It is told of “Liner-eating” Johnson that on one occasion from a supply of 250 cartridges for this octagon-barreled Sharp’s rifle he killed over 200 buffalo.
……The men suffered terribly from the fierce north winds, and their only food for days at a time was buffalo meat,
possibly with salt and possibly without. The thermometer often range for weeks at a time from forty below down to sixty. The hunters never took their clothes off and have been known to disembowel the warm carcass of a slain buffalo and crawl inside to escape the piercing wind of the winter night. In the spring after the hot was over most of the men returned to the little frontier settlements with their hair hanging down on their shoulders, their clothes caked with grease, their faces hidden under tremendous growth of whiskers, but each with a bag of gold as his winter’s wages. It would take but a few days, however, to gamble and drink this money away, and then other employment for the summer was sought. These visits of the buffalo hunters to the
frontier settlements in the spring are remembered by those who have witnessed them as the wildest orgies of crime and dissipation ever witnessed in the west.
Presidents Roosevelt’s Buffalo Hunt.
……It was a buffalo hunt that first brought President Roosevelt to the bad lands of the Little Missouri country. He was then quite a young man and did not show the physical vigor which he has since developed by active outdoor life. J.A.Ferris of Medora was President Roosevelt’s guide when he made his first buffalo hunt in 1883, and it was one of the solitary old buffalo bulls, the lone sentinels of the vast herds which had been swept away by the hunters, which young Roosevelt first encountered. He was unusually fortunate and obtaining a good shot at the animal killed him with the first bullet fired. It is probable that this is one of the memorable events in his life in his own estimation, for the sensation of having killed one of these magnificent animals is something never to be forgotten and which cannot be indulged in now without paying a penalty of several years in state’s prison. President Roosevelt went undoubtedly give most kindly consideration to Congressman Curtis’ bill should it pass both houses and come before him for signature, for there is no more enthusiastic advocate of game and forest preservation than the present occupant of the White House.
The Saint Paul Globe, July 27 1902
“Buffalo” Jones’ Marvelous Career
KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 26 –
……No hunter in the world has ever killed more buffalo than “Buffalo” Jones, who has just been appointed buffalo warden for Yellowstone park. He got his name on account of being the greatest buffalo hunter of America. He used to kill them by the hundred for their hides and robes. He made thousands of dollars out of it. But when the buffalo began to disappear he repented, and now he is that animal’s best friend. He realized that, unless they were protected by someone it would be only a matter of a few years until the buffalo would be extinct. So he established a buffalo ranch at Garden City, Kan., and corralled as many buffalo as possible and domesticated them. A few years ago the ranch proved too small and he went with Charles Goodnight and established the famous Goodnight ranch in Texas. The buffalo herd was move down there, where it still remains. In the meantime the wild buffalo disappeared. Only one or two now roam large. They are in Lost park, Col.
……Buffalo Jones realized that by inbreeding the few remaining buffalo on his ranch would in the course of a few years destroy the last of the kind, and he decided to do some experimenting. He crossed the buffalo with the black native cattle. The new race resulting from the cross is known as the catalo. On the Goodnight ranch there are more than 100 head of catalo. Jones exhibited a catalo robe at the meeting of the Kansas board of agricultural last week, and the delegates were amazed. The fur is long, and as soft as a beaver. Instead of the course hair and the shaggy neck and shoulders of the bison, the catalo robe has hair the same length all over.
Unlike many hybrids, a catalo cow is as fertile as its ancestors. One of them has raised eight calves in the past seven years. These animals have been bred back and tell the latest progeny are fifteenth-sixteenths buffalo. The three-quarter bloods are the most promising from the standpoint of beef production. These animals, no matter how little buffalo blood runs through their veins, take all the habits of the buffalo.
Why Bisons Go Single File.
……Buffalo Jones says that the Creator, after surveying the landscape o’er, found no animal that could stand the blizzards of the American desert or the Texas siroccos, so he brought into existence the buffalo, and whispered into his ear not to tramp out the short grass of the plains. For this reason, he says, the buffalo, in his palmy days, when allowed to pursue his own way, always traveled single file, like the Indian. In moving from one section of the country to another the buffalo always used the old beaten paths. In this way the short grass was not tramped out. Water being scarce, the buffalo do not pollute it. Neither did he pollute his paths. This is why he never had foot- and- mouth disease, that was always healthy. A catalo, on an average, weighs about 300 pounds more than the native steer. It carries more than 100 pounds of meat in its hump, which is equal to the best porterhouse steak. The hams are light, unless the cattle strain predominates. These animals live and keep fat on pasturage on which native cattle would starve. They never gulp down the poisonous weeds, and are always in perfect health.
After saving the buffalo from extermination Buffalo Jones panted for other animals to conquer, so in 1897 he started alone to the Arctic regions after the most remote animal in the world- the musk ox. He captured five alive and turned his face southward, leading his captives tied to his dog sled. Day after day he plodded along, traveling and sleeping in the daytime and fighting off Arctic wolves at night. The Indians and Eskimos had warned him repeatedly not to attempt to take any musk ox out of those regions alive. They believed that if any were taken out they would be damned in the eyes of the Creator. They are a superstitious as well as religious people. But Jones heeded not there warning. One morning when he awoke he was horrified to find his five musk ox dead with their throats cut. The natives have followed him and put into execution their threats.
Genuine Musk Ox.
……Recently a musk ox was brought by a whaler and sold to a Chicago man. The new owner didn’t know whether it was a musk ox or not. He was afraid he had been gold-bricked. He wired Buffalo Jones to meet him at the Santa Fe train Topeka a few days ago to identify the animal. Jones met him and announced a genuine musk ox. It was then christened “Olive Jones,” after the daughter of Buffalo Jones. If Jones gets his government reserve he will try to get specimens of all the wild animals of the North America continent, such as the musk ox, elk, deer, reindeer, and mountain sheep, to put on the ranch along with his buffalo and catalo.
Buffalo Jones never tires of talking about his adventures along the plains, and in the Arctic regions. In telling of the first time he ever saw a herd of buffalo, he says:
……“The first herd of buffalo I ever saw was composed of about twenty old bulls. The gentleman with me, Mr. Schultz, first notice them coming toward us, and we secreted ourselves in a shallow buffalo wallow, having to lie very close to the ground to prevent their seeing us. Mr. Schultz was an experienced hunter, and both of us were possessed of good guns; but before the animals came within 300 yards of where we were lying, I said to my partner in a whisper: ‘Let us compromise with the monsters: if they will let us alone, we’ll let them go by.’ Mr. Schultz smiled as I trembled; I could have not hit a whole flock of barns 200 feet away. The buffalo grazed along, coming so close that at every mouthful of grass they gathered I could distinctly hear a puff from their nostrils, and their teeth grinding together. He appeared to me hideous monsters. They resembled elephants, and as they moved toward us the very earth appeared to shake. I paid no more attention to them: they were too near for comfort, and I shut my eyes, scarcely daring to breathe, when suddenly, like a clap of thunder, came the report of a gun, and I was nearly paralyzed. Mr. Schultz fired at the leader of the herd. His gun was about as large as a small cannon; the discharge was terrible. When silence was again restored, I discovered that at least one buffalo couldn’t scare me ‘worth a cent.’”
Hunting in the Arctics.
……During his hunting trip in the Arctic regions, Col. Jones had many exciting experiences. He says the natives usually try to rob a white man of all his food, but if he will stand his ground at the very outset he can conquer them. They pass it along the line ahead of him that he is an “easy mark” or a “bad man.” The “easy mark”soon finds himself destitute, but the “bad man” has no trouble. “Giving to them,“ said he, “does not by any means end with the act; you are sure to be visited by the whole of the tribe who may happen to be in the neighborhood of your camp, and these are more persistent in their clean for alms then were the original callers.
……“They possess, however, some commendable traits, by which could be emulated at times by the dominant white race to its advantage. They will divide their last morsel of food with each other, and none are allowed to go hungry as long as there is a bite left in the village. I have seen them so fearfully in want of something to eat that they would watch for a dog to scratch up a bit he had buried for future use, and choke him until he dropped it on the ground, when they would divide it among those who stood about them. If one Indian has anything, they all have, which proves that they are as free from selfishness as they are from cleanliness.
“The natives seldom, if ever, get a taste of bread, fruit or vegetables, and when they do, regard them as the greatest luxury. A simple biscuit is a rare treat for them.
……“In religion they are generally claimed by the Catholics, but some have been taught the Protestant faith. I am inclined to think, however, that they have but a limited idea of holy things, save what has been impressed upon them by the traditions of the tribe – that after death, for good Indians, there is a “Great Spirit” and a “happy hunting ground.” Many of them may be seen to cross themselves and mutter some ‘pater’ or ‘ave’ on a Sabbath morning, after which the men take their guns and go hunting, or occupy the remainder of the day in their usual routine of idleness. Many of them pay an annual visit to the Catholic priest stationed at some Hudson Bay company’s post, to have their record of wickedness for the past year wiped out. They marry and are given in marriage, but are never divorced, and, as far as I can learn, are considered virtuous; that this appeals only to those who have remained in their primitiveness and remote from civilization. There are many widows and orphans among the tribes. The widows never marry again, and it is the duty of their relatives to take care of them, but I noticed they were compelled to perform most of the work.”
Essex County Herald Aug 22 1902
SAVING THE BUFFALO
HOW THE FEW REMAINING BISON ARE BEING PRESERVED.
“Buffalo Bill” and “Buffalo” Jones Engaged In Raising “Catalo” a Mixture of Bison and Cattle – Characteristics of the New Animal.
……Thirty-five years ago William Frederick Cody was engaged in killing all the buffalo, or bison, that came with in range of his “trusty rifle.” His success in that occupation, entered into for the purpose of supplying buffalo meat for the laborers working on the Union Pacific railroad, was so distinguished that he wind the sobriquet of “Buffalo Bill,” by which title the veteran scout, showman, soldier and ranchman is best known.
Today Colonel Cody is not engaged in killing buffalo, for none is left to be slain. He is, on the contrary, occupied in an earnest effort to preserve the few remaining bison and to transmit their characteristics to the buffalo and cattle hybrid known as the “catalo.”
……The story of the vast herds of buffalo that once ranged over the western prairies and of their destruction is well known. Of the millions of the animals that once existed only a few straggling herds, kept as zoological specimens, now survive. It has been found, however, that the characteristics of the bison – their hardiness, strength, size and general adaptability to the requirements of life on the western prairies – can be successfully transmitted to the offspring of the buffalo and the various breeds of domestic cattle. To man are principally engaged in breeding “catalo,” Charles J. (“Buffalo”) Jones and Colonel Cody.
……Largely through the efforts of these two men the recent session of congress passed a new law creating a government buffalo ranch in the Yellowstone National park. Mr. Jones has been appointed warden of the ranch by the president, and he is busily engaged in stocking it with the buffalo and its descendents. The idea of forming a herd of “catalo” has long been the dominant one in the mind of Mr. Jones, and he has for number of years been engaged in demonstrating its feasibility.
COL. WILLIAM F. CODY- “BUFFALO BILL.”
……Together with Charles Goodnight, on the well-known Goodnight ranch in Texas. The effort was responded to by Colonel Cody on his own
great estate, near Cody, Wyo. Although the experiment has not been has been done to prove that the bison in the form of “catalo” – carried far enough to demonstrate its entire practicality, enough part buffalo and part cattle – if not the pure buffalo, may have a new term of existence. On the Goodnight ranch are more than 100 head of “catalo.”
……It has been found possible in a number of cases on the Cody and Goodnight ranches and in other places where small but flourishing herds of “catalo” exist to breed the animals in and in, so that the offspring are three-fourths or more buffalo and the remainder cattle. The hybrids, of what ever degree, retained the desirable characteristics of their wild ancestors, while they possess the improved quality of meat and softer hair that render the animal better for human use than the bison.
……Experiments and hybridizations of animals have hitherto been for the most part baffled by the inability of the resulting cross to perpetuate species. This difficulty does not exist in the case of the “catalo.” One of them has been known to raise eight calves in the past seven years. The “catalo” of three-quarters buffalo blood our best or furnishing the famous and desirable buffalo robes, the price of which has mounted steadily since the extinction of the original wearers. For beef the quarter bloods are the most promising, since they unite with the greater size of the buffalo the finer grained and sweeter taste of beef. Outside of the “hump” and a few other portions buffalo meat is of coarse grain and strong flavor.
……A “catalo” ways on an average about 300 pounds more than the native steer. In its “hump,” the meat of which is equal to that of the finest beef, it carries about 100 pounds. Unless the cattle strain predominates the hind quarters of the animal are apt to be lighter than those of cattle. Like its wild ancestor, the “catalo” can live and thrive on pastures that would not support cattle, since the buffalo has the faculty of feeding without destroying the quality of the ground. “Catalo” are healthy animals and avoid poisonous weeds by instinct.