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 herd 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 species. 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 abandoned 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.
Evening Times-Republican. LOC
Marshalltown, Iowa, February 25, 1902
TO PROTECT BUFFALO
Secretary Wilson Sends Letter to the Senate in Regard to Their Protection
Bill Has Been Introduced in Congress to Set Aside a Bison Preserve.
Only a Few Full Blood Bison Now, in Existence in America.
Washington, Feb. 25.—Secretary Wilson of the agricultural department has addressed a letter to the senate, in compliance with a resolution, discussing the advisability of preserving the Buffalo or American bison from extinction. Mr. Curtis of Kansas has introduced a bill in the house to set apart a preserve for American bison of 100,000 acres in Eddy county. New Mexico, for the purpose of experimenting in the crossing of bison with domestic cattle. A similar bill is pending in the senate. “Buffalo” Jones claims to have successively accomplished this cross breeding with his private herd, and the name “cataloe” has been given to the breed. In his letter to the senate the secretary of agriculture says:
“The American bison is on the verge of extermination. Scarcely a handful now remains of the millions which formerly roamed over the plains of the west. So far as the department is aware, only two small herds of the wild buffalo are in existence in the United States, one in Yellowstone Park, the other in lost Park, Colorado. In the last autumn several of the latter herd were killed and, while the department has no recent information as to the exact number of animals in these herds at the present time, it has reason to believe that the Yellowstone herd does not exceed twenty-five and the Lost Park herd eight or ten individuals’. There are no wild buffalo in Canada, except in the Peace river country, where a few woodland buffalo, believed to be a different species from our plains buffalo, still exist. A few buffalo have been domesticated and half domesticated.
“In addition to the small herds In zoological parks and In the hands of private individuals there are three important herds; the Corbin herd on the game preserve of the Blue Mountain Forest association in New Hampshire, the Allard herd on the Flathead Indian reservation in Montana, and the Goodnight herd (containing about seventy full blood animals and about 100 crossbreeds) at Goodnight, Tax. Both the Allard and Goodnight herds consist In part of cross breeds, known as “cataloes,” obtained by crossing buffalo bulls with domesticated cows, C. J. Jones, the originator of this breed, states that he has succeeded in crossing the buffalo with almost all the different breeds of cattle, but that he considers the Galloway and the Polled Angus the best for this purpose.
“Recent Information indicates that the Allard herd is being broken. Thirty-five animals were sold last year, and many others within the last few months. If the government could acquire possession of these buffalo they might be placed on some reservation under competent management and, if properly protected, could be preserved indefinitely. Unless this is done there is little or no hope of maintaining the herd in its entirety. So far as known, the Goodnight herd is not for sale, but a proposition has several times been presented congress regarding the reservation of certain public lands In New Mexico for their preservation. Under proper restrictions, this plan might result in perpetuation of the herd for some years. Should the government acquire possession of a considerable number of full blooded animals, it is possible that the absolute extermination of the species might be long delayed. To avoid danger of destruction by epidemic, diseases, and deterioration by to close in-breeding, the government herd should be divided and kept in at least two widely separated localities. This would admit of interchange of blood when necessary.”
The Washington Times May 4 1902
HOW TO PRESERVE THE ONCE MIGHTY MONARCH OF THE PLAINS
Plans for the Renewal of the Once Vast Herds of the American Bison Which Was Sacrificed to Wanton Sport and Avaricious Greed Almost Complete Extermination
To make anew the race of the American. This seems a gigantic task indeed yet it is one to which a number of cattle breeders and buffalo experts have set themselves. The buffalo as a race has been extinguished. Only a few individual specimens are left. From these individuals scattered at large over the American continent, a new race must be built up a race to equal in number and quality the one which disappeared under the fire of the “skin hunters.” How this is being done the methods that are being used to bring about the gigantic result the trials and triumphs of the builders of this race all these form a chapter as interesting it not as picturesque as that brief tragedy of the Western plains the undoing of the bison.
It is not generally known throughout the United States today that the great army of American bison that once peopled the Western plains was extinguished all at once and that only ten years ago. All at once I say for what is ten years compared to the life of a race of animals – and the American buffalo exterminated within that period. In 1881 the main herd on the plains numbered many millions and covered closely a tract of country twenty-five miles wide and over fifty miles long
In 1891 of all this vast host there was left but a small remnant of a few thousand, which fleeing from the gluttonous slaughter of the hunter sought to find a safe retreat in Canada – only to fall before the slower but not less ruthless warfare of the northern Canadians.
This wholesale slaughter seems inexcusable, viewed by the light of present Information and In great part, it was inexcusable The men who did It knew what they were doing but they did not care. They were out for pelf and pelt they got. Got it, although in doing so they had to exterminate a race; got it, although they knew they were committing in a natural history way the crime of the century.
Divided by Railroads.
The great herd of buffalo that roamed over the plains from Texas to Oregon was cut into three herds by the three large railroads that were earliest through the West by the Southern Pacific the Union Pacific and the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe. First, the Union Pacific cut the herd into northern and southern sections the larger part lying to the south. Through the heart of that region, the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe ran and destruction followed as a matter of course.
A vast army of buffalo hunters – If such does not disgrace the name – poured into the two regions. Buffalo robes brought a dollar a hide and there were many hundred thousand buffaloes. The herd was practically surrounded by men armed with rifles and revolvers and what escaped one party fell before another. Thus in less than five years the great southern section of the vast herd was gone One half the bloody job was done
It was another five years before the completion of the Northern Pacific Rail road and the northern herd enjoyed comparative immunity during that time. But the engine bell of the first train over that road sounded the buffaloes death knell. As was the case in the first butchering the vast herd was surrounded by a cordon of hunters who anxious to make their fortunes before the last of the animal were sacrificed killed thousands. In a day In two years of the great herd of over one million head, but a few thousand were left some of which escaped into Canada.
It Is believed that today there are about 700 buffaloes in America of which nearly 500 are in captivity the largest herd of about 150 being In the Yellowstone National Park.
How to Save the Remnant
The question which at present arises la the mind of every intelligent person is How are we going to preserve the remnant of this race to people anew the Western plains with mighty herds and thus save America from a part of the disgrace of her sons shameful acts?
One of the things which can be done and which from my experience in handling the buffalo I believe should be done is the collection into one place by the United States Government of all the little ends of the remnant of the herd. In this way, a herd of five or six hundred could be termed and from this as a nucleus, I believe great numbers could be raised.
It is difficult to handle them in small isolated groups and keep them from sickening and dying and moreover, it is detrimental to the character of the offspring. In nearly every case the breeding produces an inferior and smaller race. I do not believe that a small group of buffaloes will ever grow into a large herd unless that group is practically given its freedom, is allowed the run of thousands of acres. This the small park does not contain and the individual owner can seldom afford. But how easy it would be for Uncle Sam to turn one of his reservations into a buffalo breeding ground and if it be at a cost of even $1,000,000 the race is rehabilitated, does not the result far outweigh the cost?
Plan of “Buffalo Jones”
There Is another plan and one which can be carried out to a great extent without Governmental co operation. This method looks to the prolongation of the life of the race through cross breeding. The cross breeding of buffaloes is a subject that has been given much attention in the past ten years and which has been productive of some good results. The first person to apply this treatment in anything like a practical way was that most picturesque figure of the Western plains “Buffalo Jones.” This man, after buffalo, saw the great danger of their utter extermination and immediately began the work of rehabilitating the race.
He gathered a few specimens on his ranch at Garden City Kan and so successfully did he raise both the full blooded and the half blooded animate that he became independently rich from their sale. It was Jones who named the buffalo half breed the “Catalo,” a name which has clung to it ever since. He found that by breeding the buffalo with common cattle he obtained an animal in some respects superior to the full blooded buffalo, but differing from it little. The half breed partakes strongly of all the characteristics of the stronger animal and resembles it much more closely than it resembles the common cattle.
I have seen, and in fact, I have bred half breed buffaloes that could not be told from the full blooded animal except upon the closest inspection by an expert. They have fur much superior to the fur on the ordinary buffalo, yet just as large. It Is of a richer seal brown color and is closer, smoother, glossier, and finer than the pelt of the original stock. There Is a good market for these furs and a fine price is commanded by them.
Value the Half Breeds.
These half breeds cannot be used as domestic cattle, but nevertheless, they have a value besides their fur. The catalo from the bison and the polled Angus stock is such fine mixtures that are two or three large concerns in the business of cross breeding them for commercial purposes. The half breeds bring a good sum in the stock market, and their meat is preferred by some dealers to that of the common cattle. This use of the buffalo is attracting a great deal of thought from successful ranchmen at present, and half breeds and quarter breeds are being raised with great rapidity. I get inquiries every two or three weeks from people who want points on the care of the buffalo and the best method for cross breeding. I confess I am glad to see so much interest taken in the animal which I consider one of the best in the world.
But the buffalo Is not destined to become a beast of burden in many, many years – at least that is my opinion formed from what I have seen, and I have known the buffalo pretty well all my life. The wild strain in the pure-blooded bison crops out in the half-breed and the quarter-breed and it will take many generations of life in captivity to wear out that spirit. I sometimes think that after many years of cross breeding and breeding in again, there might be produced a cow that could be broken to harness and made to pull a plow.
“Buffalo Bill’s” Idea.
I have heard that Colonel Cody or Buffalo Bill as he Is known to the world, has said that the buffalo must some day become a beast of burden for the North, and surely the opinion of no one Is more entitled to consideration than that of “Buffalo Bill.” Colonel Cody believes and I do too that the buffalo crossed with Scotch cattle will be the best way to provide the great on coming population of Alaska with good, but cheap furs. The surplus bulls can provide the fur coats and their meat will be valuable also. The milk of the half breed is too coarse for use as human food, though it would probably prove of use in fattening cattle and swine and for cheese and rennet-making.
But the possibilities in buffalo crossbreeding do not end. As important as is the production of the catalo as a new valuable race, there are other things to be done in which I think, lies the true preservation of the buffalo. I refer to the renewal of the original stock through the infusion of new blood into the old – a matter in which I have conducted some experiments and which has received careful attention at the hands of my friend. Jack Lover, of the Philadelphia Zoo.
Great Extent of Territory Required for Their Growth Well-Being –“Buffalo Jones” Scheme of Uniting Them With Cattle __The Strange Result Known as “Catalo.”
I believe that it is an accepted fact that for the preservation of any race a mixture of blood is necessary. This then is precisely the case with the bison. Left in his wild state and unhampered by the restrictions of captivity, the buffalo was strong enough to perpetuate himself. Nature cared for her own. But when the enervating influences of captivity and inactivity are brought to bear, the poor bison weakens as a self-perpetuating race and at once commences to die out.
The question is: How is this to be remedied with the ridiculously few buffaloes left? We surely cannot turn them out to graze. “Buffalo Jones” tells us that every buffalo in the wild state requires at least 1000 acres to maintain itself, and should have 3000 to do It well.
We are forced then to accept but one way out of this dilemma – cross breed the buffalo with a strong Scotch cattle, and from the half breed or quarter breed thus obtained breed back to the practically pure blooded buffalo. I know that this can be done, for I have seen it done, and the result of the breeding back after two or three generations is an animal in every respect like the original bison, but stronger, more virile, larger and better adapted to the constraint of captivity. It is simply the original buffalo with an infusion of strong fresh blood, but this infusion breeds out by successive crossing with the full blooded buffalo until it amounts to but the merest strain.
The Fort Wayne Sentinel July 15 1902
Canyon City, Texas, July 17, 1902
Few Buffalo Left
The total number of buffalo or bison, both full and mixed blood, in the United States is 1143, according to a report to congress by the interior department, based on correspondence with various states. Of this number 72 are running wild, of which 50 are in Colorado and the remainder in the Yellowstone national park. The number of buffalo or bison domesticated or in captivity, including full and mixed blood is 1071. The total number of the pure blood buffalo in the United States is 980 and the mixed bloods 175. The total number of buffalo or bison in Canada is 669. Of these 600 are pure blood, running wild. In countries outside of North America the interior department estimates that there are 128 buffalo or bison, all of which are believed to be in captivity. In the United States, the domesticated buffalo appear to be increasing. -Texas Stock Journal
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 moved 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 coarse 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.”
New York Tribune – LOC
New York, Aug 10, 1902
James Henry Learns From His Grandfather of What Is Being Done For Their Preservation
While strolling in the Zoological Park with his grandfather, James Henry stopped on a knoll from which he could see several buffalo grazing.
“I have heard much about the buffalo and have seen many pictures of great herds, but these are the first I ever saw. How tame and contented they look. Not at all wild and angry.”
These buffalo are tame and contented. The animals of which you saw the pictures were wild and roamed about on the Western plains in herds of thousands and tens of thousands. Buffalo fur was so cheap that the robes made from it were the lowest in price of any in the market. But now there are few buffalo robes for sale in the stores, and they are high priced because there are only a few buffalo left.”
“What became of them?”
“They were killed off by hunters: for the fur, but more often for the pleasure of killing them.”
“Why did no one stop the killing?”
“Because, unfortunately, the authorities thought there was no harm in killing the buffalo. The railroad was being laid across the plains, and the people who were at work on the big job and the people who settled along the line of the road were molested, and their lives were endangered by the Indians. Without the buffalo the Indians would have had little to live upon, so General Sherman wrote to President Grant advocating the extermination of the buffalo. He hoped by that means to destroy the food supply of the Indians. Then great hunting parties were organized, and men came even from across the ocean to get a chance to shoot the big animals. One of the most notable of these hunting parties was arranged for the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, whose brother was at that time the Czar. Thousands upon thousands of the shaggy animals were slaughtered, and those that remained became shy and were forced into the mountain fastness. The railroad builders ceased to suffer from Indian depredations with the disappearance of the buffalo, and it was clear to all that the iron horse had driven the buffalo out of the country.
“I think it was a shame to slaughter the animals, if they were big, nice fellows like these.”
“Of course it was wrong, and people are beginning to realize that fact. The few buffalo still alive are being guarded and protected. Out in Colorado, there are now ranches where they raise buffalo, but they are not like the animals which formally roamed on the Western prairies. In the United States Senate, a resolution was passed some time ago calling upon the Sec. of the Interior and the Sec. of Agricultural to inform the Senate company buffalo still exist in the country and what is being done for their preservation. The matter was investigated closely and thoroughly, and report shows that the buffalo hunters did their bloody work thoroughly. There are now, according to the report, only 1,143 buffalo or bison, both full and mixed blood, in the United States. What a small remnant this is you may judge from the fact that when the pioneers went across the plains it was nothing unusual to see herds from four or five thousand, five times as many as there are now in existence all over the country. Of the animals which have escaped the hunter’s rifle only seventy-two are running wild, fifty in the state of Colorado and twenty-two in the Yellowstone National Park; all the others are owned by individuals or are kept in zoological parks. Here, in The Bronx, there are fifteen fine animals, and there are as many in Washington Zoo. There are a few in the Central Park menagerie, and Philadelphia has about as many as there are here. The largest herd in captivity is known as the Allard herd, in Montana. There are about two hundred and fifty head in this, and you can understand that they are well looked after when I tell you that the owner values them at $250 apiece. Another large herd belongs to Austin Corbin, who keeps them in New Hampshire. In Lost Park Colorado, there are about two hundred buffalo, and a herd of 110 in Armstrong County, Texas, is known as the Jones-Goodnight herd.”
“Are there any buffalo in Europe?”
“Yes; a few. But they are only to be found in zoological parks and menageries, for the bison is an American animal. According to the reports sent to the Sec. of the Interior, there are only 114 in Europe. Of these England has thirty-four, France one, Hungary two and Russia three.
“I am glad to know that you are interested in the buffalo, and I hope that it will be many years before the animal becomes extinct..”
The Paducah Sun-LOC
Paducah, Kentucky August 11, 1902
GERMANYS HUGE GAME RESERVES
Immense Tracts of Country Kept for Imperial Pleasure
Something that Illustrates strikingly how rich In game a crowded country like Germany is, owing to strict preservation and the great areas of forest and moor that are set aside for its protection, is shown In the list of his game killed In the Grunewald The Grunewald is the great Imperial reservation near Berlin which has just been given as a free park to the citizens. It was decided to shoot on all the game in it and in the first days’ hunt, in which the Emperor participated, 700 deer were killed. When the shooting was ended it was found that 2000 head of deer had been bagged.
The Emperor has had an opportunity to shoot rare big game lately. The Prince of Pless invited him to visit his reservation in Silesia and try a shot at the mighty Wisent bulls. The Wisent is a near relative of the huge Auerochs, which was hunted by the old Teutons and the size of which so appalled the Romans. The Czar of Russia has been trying to preserve the Wisent and in 1803 the last remaining herd was penned in a mighty reservation in Western Russia There were 700 specimens then. Now only 400 are left. They are dying out like the American bison. The Prince of Pless got a few pairs from the Czar and has done so well in breeding them in Silesia that he was able to offer the Emperor the luxury of shooting two great bulls of a species that is all but extinct The Wisent is larger and more imposing in appearance than the bison and far more dangerous to the hunter.
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 the 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 descendants. The idea of forming a herd of “catalo” has long been the dominant one in the mind of Mr. Jones, and he has for a 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 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” weighs 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.
The Brownsville Daily Herald LOC
Brownsville, Texas October 10, 1902
HIDDEN HERD OF BUFFALO.
Forty or Fifty of Them in Colorado, Carefully Corralled From Hunters
There is a herd of between forty and fifty buffalo in Colorado whose’ existence has been known only to a few men for years, and Game Commissioner Harris is one of them. They are located in one of the most inaccessible regions of the State and have never been seen by even those hardy hunters who go far from the towns in search of game. During the frequent computations which are being made every year about the number of buffalo in America, Game Warden Harris has smiled to himself, for no one ever counted in his hidden herd. He has never told any one where the herd lives, for fear hunters would proceed to destroy it.
The herd, of which Commissioner Harris has known for nearly twenty years, is composed of mountain bison, and it is in prime condition of health, owing to excellent pasturage and uninterrupted life.
The buffalo inhabit a beautiful little valley of about 40,000 acres, lying in the very heart of the mountains, completely secluded, and to which there is but a little entrance. It is the smallest of passes and almost hidden by a dense growth of tall pines, which rise beside each other so closely, that it would be difficult to get a horse through them. The buffalo could get out if they wished, but it is doubtful if they will ever make the attempt unless greatly frightened, as by the presence of men with guns or other unusual commotion.
A stampede down the narrow defile into the tree-choked gorge would result in sickening slaughter, but it is the determination of Game Warden Harris that no one shall learn of the location of the herd, until the Government has set aside all the land in the valley and around it for a great preserve, similar, on a small scale, to Yellowstone Park, where the wild animals roam at will and the bears come down from the mountains to feed upon the leavings from the hotel table.
With this plan in mind, Mr. Harris is holding his secret about the buffalo and only a few old. mountaineers beside himself know of the herd’s existence. Among the hidden band is a great bull of enormous bulk which is believed to be the largest bison on the continent of North America. –Denver Times.
The Brownsville Daily Herald – LOC
Brownsville, Texas Nov 26, 1902
THE PASSING OF THE BUFFALO.
Thousands Grazed on the Prairies and Were Shot Down by Hunters for Their Hides. Buffalo Coats Were Then Plentiful.
San Antonio Express.
“The death of the buffalo heifer, at Brackenridge Park, was very unfortunate,” said B. F. Sprotley to an Express reporter Friday. “The species are so rare now that they possess a value that few people can appreciate. Unless the few remaining specimens are well cared for and the herds increased it will “be but a few years until the last of the North American bison has passed away.
“I can remember, for it is only a few years back when the plains of Texas swarmed with that animal. In 1871, ’72, ’73 and ’74 all that section of Texas west of Fort Griffin, in Shackelford county, was the home of the buffalo in winter. As the weather North grew cold the great herds drifted to Texas when grazing was good and where winters were not so severe as the Northern woods. I have seen as many as 5000 head in one herd, and as late as 1872 the animals did not appear to dread man as they Were not hunted as they wore later.
“The cattlemen were by no means friendly to buffaloes, as they frequently stampeded cattle and made trouble for the cowboys. Then they were a temptation to the Indians who generally ended up a buffalo hunt with some kind of deviltry, frequently murder.
“The end of the buffalo began’ along about 1872 when organized bands of Indians began killing the animals for their hides, and from that time on until there was but few left the slaughter of buffalo went on. Guns were made especially to kill buffalo, and men were paid so much per month to do nothing but kill the animals, and secure their pelts. It was a common thing along about 1873 ,and 1874 to see long trains of ox wagons slowly moving east over the western prairies bound for Dallas, the end of the railroad then, loaded down with buffalo hides, a few wagons being loaded with choice parts of the buffalo meat that had been dried on the plains. There was a great traffic in buffalo pelts and meat then, both of which could be had very cheap.
“Where all the buffalo hides have gone to is a mystery to me. Only a few years ago robes of buffalo hides were used in place of rugs in sleighs and carriages. Men had overcoats made of them, the hairy ‘side out, and it was not regarded as much of a luxury to own a buffalo robe or a buffalo overcoat. The greatest cost about them was the making of the hide into a garment.
“‘Now, however, I suppose a man might travel all over Texas and never see a buffalo robe or buffalo coat. Where they have all gone to, I have no idea. There was never any attempt made by the Government to prevent the extermination of the buffalo, and it was claimed at one time that the killing of the animals was not only permitted, but– endorsed by the Interior Department, because so long– as the Indians could get plenty of buffalo meat they were bard to control would leave their reservations or big hunts and play the devil generally before they could be forced back. When the buffaloes were all-.- or nearly all killed, the Indians came more tractable, and the trouble of the cattlemen and the settlers grew less. I guess the buffaloes did help the Indians in a way and probably it is a good thing that they were killed out.
“But to a man who knows nothing of the troubles on the frontier in the 70s, it looks like useless cruelty to have exterminated the great herds that only a few short years ago roamed all over Western Texas.”