C.A. Kendrick Buffalo At Water
The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750–1920
By Andrew C. Isenberg
Although some ranchers continued to experiment with crossbreeding bison and cattle well into the 20th century, most found that the way to profit from the bison was to sell them – or more accurately, the right to hunt them – to wealthy sport hunters. In 1902, a rancher in Montana allowed to sport hunters to kill six of his bison bulls – for a price. Later, one of those hunters, Howard Eaton, acquired a number of bison himself. In 1904, he sold to bison to a visiting German aristocrat and his son, who stalked and killed the animals on Eaton’s ranch. The going rate for a bison in 1904 was reported to be a thousand dollars. Some sport hunters refuse to kill bison, however, and tell they were assured that the species was safe from extinction.
Institute Trustees Hold Their Monthly Meeting Jan 9, 1904
Growth of Various Departments Shown in Director Hooper’s Report
Valuable Gifts Announced
Progress of Work on the Museum Building
An Additional Appropriation Necessary
In the natural science department Dr. Alfred G. Mayer, curator, 256 specimens have been added to the collection, 27 being due to gifts, 148 to collection and 82 to purchase. The most valuable of these gifts are a male and a female bison received from the New York Zoological Society.
The Bismarck Tribune
Bismarck, North Dakota Feb. 29 1904
HILL RAISES HERD OF BISON
One of the few successful attempts to prevent the entire disappearance of the American bison, erroneously called the buffalo, must be placed to the credit of J.J. Hill, who has during the past thirteen years, with great patience and perseverance, succeeded in proving that under certain conditions the buffalo will breed in captivity, and the stock thus spread is equal if not superior to its wild progenitors.
It is thirteen years ago that Mr. Hill conceived the idea of stocking North Oakes farm with buffaloes, and six of the finest of their kind were secured at great expense and placed under the care of the farm superintendent. (He actually bought the Pettigrew herd of 19 hd) The animals did not at first take kindly to close confinement and the results of the first breeding season were far from satisfactory. The second season, however, saw a small but healthy addition to the herd, and every year since that time has witnessed the gradual increase in number and improvement and quality of the stock until at the beginning of this year there were twenty-six buffaloes in all at North Oaks farm.
Of these one has died and one was destroyed, but at the present date two additions to the herd since this loss occurred have brought the number up to twenty-six again and a further increase this spring is looked forward to.
Mr. Hill has not only succeeded in breeding full bread buffaloes in captivity but has also met with remarkable success in the interbreeding of buffaloes with domestic cattle, and now there exists a distinct breed of cattle which combines all the hardihood of the buffalo with the qualities of Galloway kine; and as the hardiest and most faithful of dogs, the bull terrier, is of mongrel dissent, being the offshoot originally of a bulldog and a fox terrier, so these cattle are expected to prove that equals if not the superiors in every way of the finest domestic stock.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn, New York Mar 5 1904
BUFFALO JONES’ LECTURE.
Game Warden of the Yellowstone Tells of his Lifetime With Wild Animals
Colonel. C. J. Jones, better known as “Buffalo Jones.” The game Warden of the Yellowstone National Park, and an author, hunter, scout and explore, delivered an interesting lecture last evening before the Men’s Club of the Church of the Pilgrims. Remsen and Henry streets. His subject was “A Lifetime With Wild Animals,” and he told of some actual experiences and thrilling adventures during his career. Colonel Jones is known as the preserver of the buffalo, and few persons are more familiar with the haunts and characteristics of North America’s wild animals. Colonel Jones includes in his topic on wild animals a reference to the American bison or buffalo, which he has been so successful in domesticating, that he drives 18 in harness and shows lantern slides of an actual photograph. Mr. Jones is known as the originator of a new race of animals known as the catalo, of which he showed several views. The idea of infusing the blood of some of the Hardy buffaloes into the American cattle struck him one day, and after many disappointments, he finally accomplished the purpose and named the cross catalo, cat, from cattle, and alo from buffalo. His trip into the arctic regions in search of the musk ox was in interestingly described.
The study of animal life and lore is so simple, said Colonel Jones, that one can almost understand what some of the animals are saying. Animals have instincts and they require little or no teaching from their mother, but the mountain lioness teaches her cubs to step in the exact tracks made by the dogs and by her, so that when the hunter comes across several tracks in each direction he is almost sure to be confused, unless he knows something about the characteristics and instincts of the mountain lion. He showed a magnificent picture of an American rattlesnake, the most dangerous pest in the rugged West. He said he and his partner had discovered that the buffalo has fourteen ribs on each side, where as all other animals of the same family have twenty-six.
“They are the most nimble animals I have ever seen, as far as their hind legs are concerned,” said Colonel Jones, “and I never saw a mule who could fan the air faster than the American bison “ when Colonel Jones went into North Canada in search of the musk ox, he said the Indian natives objected to having any of these rare specimens taken from their territory, as it was their belief that all other animals would follow. “They believe the musk ox is God of all animals,” declared the lecturer.
“I often wished I could go off on an old-fashioned wolf hunt in Russia or Siberia, as you all hear about, but, gentlemen, I don’t want any more of it. They came so close to me that I had to take my ax to them.” The speaker then took his listeners into Yellowstone Park and its wonders by exhibiting some rare views which Colonel Jones, as the government game warden, could alone secure. He said travel in the park was growing so enormously that the hotels are doubling their capacity. Then he showed views of a terrace, of natural water and sediment formation, that had with years assumed the shape of a pulpit. It was called Pulpit Terrace. Some fine views of the Yellowstone geysers admitting steam and water from the earth which such force that the roar could be heard for five miles, were shown. Yellowstone Lake, 8000 feet above New York city, was shown by the stereopticon. Colonel Jones secured a fine photograph of the den of a mountain lion under some timber which had been covered by willow sprays. In front of this animal, retreat were the carcasses of nineteen elk which had been devoured by the lion.
“They lie in wait for an elk to come along,” he said, “and then spring upon the gentle creature until she drops. Then the lion digs out the liver of the elk. They are the greatest destroyers of game and can seldom if ever, be seen in the day time in the park. The coyote is another of the worthless indestructible animals of the park who kill the elk and mountain sheep in great numbers. They have a howl which will greatly aid the hunter in capturing them if he can imitate the noise which they make and make them think that another coyote is near. Of course, no hunting is permitted in the park, although it is necessary to shoot the coyotes and mountain lions occasionally. They have all sorts of bears in the park but, as a rule, they are quite tame. When a bear gets bad he drives the cook out of the kitchen and helps himself.
“You wouldn’t believe it, but we spank those bears when they do that. I get a block and fall and attach it to the heavy bough of a tree, leaving a loop on the ground, and when the Bears steps into the slip news we hoist him up head downward, get a good switch or stick and spank him severely. We crack him over the nose and then over the hind legs and actually make him think we are going to beat him to death. Then when he is lowered we have no fear. The last one I spanked, when turned loose, made a record mile down the side of Mount Washington and we never had any more trouble.”
Colonel Jones told briefly about the president’s trip to Yellowstone about a year ago. He found President. Roosevelt on the side of a hill, about sunrise.
“Ha, ha, “ said he, “I’ve got you now and I am going to shoot you,” said the warden.
“Wait a second,” said Mr. Roosevelt, as he threw back his coat, showing a large hunting knife. Then Warden Jones press the button and took a fine snapshot of President Roosevelt, which he exhibited last night. It would take a week for Colonel Jones to relate the many amusing anecdotes in his career. The views alone required much time to exhibit. He has been a feature of the Sportsman’s show in Madison Square Gardens which closes to-night.
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, California, Mar 13, 1904
Dr. Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), this Sioux Indian, author of “Indian Boyhood,” has nearly completed a book of the Indian hunter and the animal people, including stories of the Wolf, the bear, the bison, the Eagle, the Big Horn, and many others, from the point of view of the wild Indian.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn, New York, Mar 19, 1904
THREE OUT-DOOR BOOKS OF UNUSUAL INTEREST
Big Game Hunting Described by Dr. George B Grinnell
The Vanished Buffalo Herds
Necessarily, Dr. Grinnell’s monograph on the bison is mainly historical, for almost, if not quite, the only, wild herd of these animals now in existence is in the Yellowstone Park. A small number of the animals, which from long habitat in a timber country have come to be called the wood bison or buffalo, are found in the remote corners of the wilderness to the eastward of the Canadian Rockies. It does not seem possible that forty years ago the buffalo roam the country between the Missouri and the Rockies in such countless numbers that it was thought impossible that men then living would see the end of the vast herds. Yet that is exactly what took place within thirty years. The number of living wild buffalo to-day, we are told, is probably not greater than the herd of European bison– erroneously termed aurochs — so carefully preserved in the forest of Lithuania by the Russians Czar. Our author retells briefly the story of the American bison: he has so utterly departed from the vast stretches that once knew him that he has ceased to be an animal that comes within the sportsman’s consideration. There is no place in the United States where he can be hunted. He has forever passed into the history of big-game hunting in this country. When the first transcontinental railroad was built his doom was sealed. The railroad brought the market hunter and the Skinner and before them, the great herds wasted rapidly. And the worst of it was the frightful waste. Out of the immense numbers killed only about one-fourth of the hides reached market. Our author says that after 1883, for a band of about 5,000 which had been looked on one of the Sioux reservations, there were no buffalo left in the northern country, except a few scattering individuals.
The bison has been successfully crossed with the domestic cow, but there is no especial incentive for perpetrating such a breed. The progeny our hardier than the domestic cattle, but changed conditions have brought very close the end of the time when vast herds of cattle will roam over the ranges. They will be herded in smaller lots and fed hay during the winter.
The Wichita Daily Eagle
Wichita, Kansas, Apr 17, 1904
HERD OF BUFFALO
To Be Seen With the Buckskin Bill’s Historical Wild West Show.
Several magnificent specimens to be seen with the Buckskin Bill’s Historical Wild West of the now almost extinct American bison. Only a few years ago countless millions of these animals roamed over the plains of North America. They had an absolute title to and possession of as many thousands of miles as the Indians had to their hunting grounds. They were the invincible monarchs of the plains and prairies and a veritable storehouse for the Indian. The buffalo supplied him with almost all the necessaries of life; from the lighter hides, when tanned, he got his leggings, shirts and lighter garments; from the heavy tanned hides he made his wigwam and moccasins, also his blankets; from the sinew of the back he made his thread and bowstring’s; from the horns, his spoons and many small vessels. The bones furnished him tanning instruments, and from the various parts of his flash almost his entire sustenance. But with the destruction of the buffalo, the Indians’ independence left him, and he is now a ward of our government.
The buffalo never could have been subdued but for the extension of the railroads across the continent. Their territory had been well nigh inaccessible, but railroads made transportation cheap and it immediately followed a demand from all over the world for the beautiful, soft and warm robes of the buffalo.
The supply had to equal the demand. Millions of hides annually were sent abroad, and other millions were used in our country. The slaughter became so widespread and of such proportions, that almost utter annihilation became simply a question of a brief period of time. Consequently, the American bison is now one of the rarest and most expensive of animals, and of the few now in existence this exhibition owns the choicest specimens, and at each and every performance of the Wild West a genuine Indian buffalo hunt will be given. Will exhibit at Wichita Monday, April 25.
New York Tribune
New York, New York Apr. 20, 1904
PAIR OF EUROPEAN BISON’S HERE.
The steamer Bethania of the Hamburg – American Line brought on Monday for the New York Zoological Park the first pair of European bison ever landed in America. These animals are now rare in captivity. This species is the nearest living relative of the American bison but is clearly distinguishable from it by its long, densely haired tail and the great length of its legs in proportion to the length of its body.
These animals were purchased of the Prince of Pless and came from his small captive herd in Silesia, Southeast Germany. Their purchase price was $2,300, exclusive of transportation charges. The offer of the animals came to the Zoological Society last winter very unexpectedly and was promptly accepted by cable. But for Royal protection, the European bison would long ere this have become extinct.
The Indianapolis News
Indianapolis, Indiana Apr 28, 1904
The woods of northern British America are still infested by hundreds of a queer species of bison, known as the “woods buffalo.” It is much larger than the bison of the plains, which formerly abounded in such numbers.
The San Francisco Call
San Francisco, California – May 9, 1904
The Criminal Bison
As a species of hardened criminals among placid herbivorous animals, none is worse than the bison, or American buffalo. Toward man and beast and even among themselves these vicious, vindictive and agile brutes, whose half-brothers on other continents do not fear even the terrific onslaughts of lions and tigers, are in a state of almost continual warfare. Eagerly cropping grass from a meadow or luxuriantly wallowing in the swamp mud of their ranges, a herd of these giant, brown, ponderous-headed, shaggy patriarch makes a scene of peace and contentment. Yet they are among the wickedest robes and most aggressive fighters ever seen in a zoo. Sullen and ugly, they often become furious to madness without the least provocation and frequently attack one another with serious or fatal results.—McClure’s Magazine
The Red Cloud Chief
Red Cloud, Nebraska June 10, 1904
LAST BUFFALO HUNT OF THE PONCAS
The Ponca Indians are about to elect their tribal chief in the traditional manner—with a buffalo hunt, and for that purpose have purchased three bison. For the sentimentalist, there is in this statement the pathetic reminder that both the buffalo and the Indian are almost extinct, and that the. coming hunt will probably be the last to be witnessed on the western plains.
There are a little more than a handful of the Poncas left; if the white man ever found a good Indian, which some claim to be an impossibility, the Ponca was a near approach to that ideal. The tribe was part of the Sioux nation, and the original home was near a branch of the Red river and Lake Winnipeg. The Poncas have always enjoyed a reputation for being very peaceable. They were driven from their Red river home by their old enemy, the Chippewas, who forced them beyond the Missouri river. Following them up closely, the Chippewas drove them away once more, when they joined the Omahas, which alliance has had the effect of preventing their annihilation.
Although a part of the Sioux nation, the other tribes kept up a relentless war upon the Poncas, as did the Pawnees, Osages, and the Kansas Indians. What these wars left, smallpox and the white man’s vices nearly finished, and from a total of about 6,000, there are only about 600 now. The remnant was placed on a reservation, near the mouth of Niobrara river, in Nebraska, and here their ill-luck followed them. This time it was not their Indian enemy, but the federal government which failed them. Uncle Sam neglected the terms of the treaty made with them, and once more they became nomads, forced to the hunt for subsistence. They nearly starved to death, and, as if destiny had something worse in store for them, they were forcibly removed to Indian Territory, where the unwholesome water killed off their animals and depopulated their ranks. Subsequently, they returned to their friends, the Omahas, and then to their home in Nebraska.
Forty years ago, when Chief White Eagle was chosen, there were about 6,000 in the tribe. Only eight survive of those who hunted the buffalo at his inauguration. The Council of Advisers consists of ten, and since he can no longer draw the necessary quorum he has retired, and his son, Horse Chief, takes his place at the head of the tribe.
In accordance with the traditional laws of the tribe, the chief and his advisers are selected in a buffalo hunt. The coming hunt will bear little resemblance to that of forty years ago. Then the arena was the boundless plains; now it is to be an inclosure 3,000 feet long and 1,500 feet wide. Then it took place with herds innumerable; now three bison from the Goodnight ranch, in Texas, will furnish the sport
It is intended to make a show of the hunt, and Indians from the tribes in Indian and Oklahoma Territories have been invited. Some have already arrived and erected their tepees. One of the western railroads expects to run excursion trains down to Bliss, O. T., so that the sightseers may be able to witness the event.
While the Poncas are keeping the details of their plans secret, there can be no doubt that the hunt will not compare with those of the days when there were millions of buffaloes on the plains. In those days a buffalo hunt was, in a measure, one of the most dangerous sports man or horse could enter into. Those who have taken part in these hunts have described them as being unsurpassed in the excitement they produced.
The Indians on their fleet ponies pursued their prey with swiftness, and the spectacle of an immense herd, sometimes a mile long, pursued, and it might be said, with equal justice, pursuing the hunters; dust enveloping the hunters, horses running close without being guided, and apparently entering into the spirit of the hunt as much as the riders was an experience never to be forgotten. So fascinating did the chase become that the more it was indulged in the keener grew the enjoyment, until, as some hunters will confess, it finally became a passion. In the eagerness of the chase every muscle quivered, every nerve was at its fullest tension, every faculty was keenly on the alert, and the excitement brought with it the glow of health and the vigor of youth. When the firing began the reins were dropped over the horse’s neck and not touched again by the rider until he was through firing. The horse had to avoid obstacles in his path without suggestion from his rider. If there was a hole in the ground, he must detect it and jump over it; a rock, he must overcome it in the same manner. He was the pilot, and his only duty was to carry his rider safely and surely without being told what to do.
Time was, within the memory of many living men, who are not so very old, either, when the American bison, or as he will perhaps always be called here, the buffalo, existed in the western country in numbers incalculable. Between the eastern range of the Rocky mountains and the Mississippi river they roved in herds so large as to seem impossible to one who never saw them. There is a well-authenticated story that the garrison at Fort Kearney actually fired their canon at an immense herd once to prevent them taking the fort in a rush. Many officers and cavalrymen who were stationed on the frontier years ago tell of traveling for a month at a time and never being out of sight of their countless numbers. The bison was particularly numerous in Kansas at one time, owing to the fact that the buffalo grass was there most plentiful. At times the plains were a solid, moving mass of monsters; as far as the eye could see they were visible in enormous numbers. Trains were often delayed while a herd crossed the tracks of the Union Pacific railroad.
At one time they roamed all over the country. Naturally migratory, the Indians knew their wandering habits and followed them. They were in those days of the greatest value to the Indians. They supplied nearly all of their food, and millions were slaughtered each year for the sustenance of the red man. Not only did the buffalo supply food, but furnished the robes and hides for clothing and dwellings.
The practical extinction of the buffalo was not due to the Indian but to the white man. While the Indian never killed more than was needed, the white man slaughtered relentlessly. Then, too, the white hunter, when he was a hunter and not merely a tenderfoot out on a sporting excursion, would simply take the fur hid and leave the carcass to the wolves. He was very wasteful, and the “sportsman” who spent a day killing off perhaps hundreds, would not touch the meat, although the knowing ones found the buffalo steak superior to that of the beef of commerce.
Buffalo hunting was a science and was only to be engaged in safely by those who thoroughly understood the methods of their prey. In the hunting, as has been stated, the horse was a quantity of no insignificance. In killing these animals the hunter rode boldly into the fleeing herd, his horse running only as fast as the buffaloes. Then, selecting the animal desired, he fired directly behind the fore shoulder, as this was the tenderest place, and a shot entering at this point was most likely to strike a vital part. This threw the buffalo down, and after the hunter had exhausted his ammunition, or had selected a sufficient number, he returned and killed those he had already wounded that were left lying on the prairie.
With the Indians, the hunt was much more simply conducted. They did not always penetrate a herd, but often followed it and picked off the animals in the rear. The hunt for which the Poncas have made such elaborate preparations will, of course, be a tame affair compared with the hunts in the days gone by, and, of course, the sixty braves let loose upon them will not at first attempt a killing, or the sport would be of short duration. In any event, the last buffalo hunt is one of great interest, and as the beasts are now scarce and costly, it may without fear be called the last. Then, also, the breaking-up process of the Indian relations is nearly completed. In a few years the hostile red man will be a legend, he is fast succumbing to civilizing influences; his hunting grounds are blossoming with populous, thriving towns. The Poncas are most likely about to inaugurate their last chief, as well as to hunt for the last time the monarch of the plains.—Philadelphia Ledger.
The Evening Star
Independence, Kansas Jun 14, 1904
BISON OF THE OLD WORLD.
First Specimens of the Mighty Aurochs Ever brought to America
Now in New York
Two great beasts have just been added to the collection of animals and nine New York Zoological park which are as interesting as they are rare. They are the European bison or aurochs. The latter name was given originally to another food animal, but usage has changed its signification. Never before has a living specimen of these grand be used been brought to America.
Even within the historic. These so-called aurochs roamed over the whole of Europe, just as the American bison formally peopled our western plains. When Charlemagne held sway this was accounted a worthy be used of the chase and all parts of Germany, but man’s power and increase have put an end to all such conditions. Now but a small remnant are left alive, guarded by soldiers of the czar of Russia and other potentates.
A good size aurochs stands over six feet high at the shoulder and has much the same appearing home and shaggy mane as its American cousin.
The two specimens at the Zoological park appear than and week after their long and trying journey, but they will soon become sleek and full-bodied.
One may see three or four shaggy headed American bison come up on their side of the fence and be met by the mighty aurochs, and there they stand, sniffling at one another’s muzzles – historically the most
picturesque creatures of the two sides of the earth, which in a few years will have vanished forever from the site of man. The memory and tradition only are left of the vast herds which bought for supremacy with the primitive Anglo-Saxons, and the other thunderous crowds which blew startled before the onslaught of the wild red-skins.
Holbrook Arizona, July 09, 1904
Old buffalo hunters of the western Kansas prairies used to tell of having seen and pursued white buffalo. There were white buffalo albinos, such as are found at rare intervals in all the families of the animal kingdom; but the number of those which existed in fact and of those which existed purely in the imagination, says the Kansas City Journal, were in wonderful disproportion.
In 1873 old Ben Canfield, who roamed the plains with his tall, gaunt wife for a companion, followed a herd of buffalo from the northern edge of what is now Oklahoma to the sand hills of Nebraska, thinking to kill a big white bull which he had seen in the herd. After three weeks of patient stalking, Canfield did kill the bull only to find that the whiteness of its appearance was due to a coat of whitewash.
An explanation of this phenomenon would not be needed by people familiar with the natural lime beds of western Kansas. The habit of the buffalo is to roll or wallow in every pool of water or mud hole to which he comes. Canfield’s buffalo had simply been rolling in a bed of native lime, which, when dried in the sun, coated his hide with a kind of plaster.
No doubt these lime holes account for many of the “white buffalo” so often reported by hunters.
The Bourbon News
Paris, Kentucky, Nov 25, 1904
BUFFALOES ON INCREASE
The Latest Census Places Number at 1,223 or 29 More Than Were Reported Four Years Ago
A census of all the American buffalo, or bison, now living has been completed by Mark Sullivan, of Boston. He conducted a similar census by mail four years ago and found that the number of bison in existence numbered 1,204. The latest census fixes the number at 1,223, an increase of 29 in four years.
The largest group is in the Pablo- Allard herd, on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana. In this are 330 head. The next largest is the wild herd west of the Great Slave Lake, northwest Canada, numbering 200.
The James Philip herd, Fort Pierre, S.D., numbers 100, and that J. J. Hill group, at Cardigan, Minn., 18.
In the Banff, Rocky Mountain park, are 45, in the Yellowstone park 70, at Winnipeg, Denver and other city parks 30, and at the Goodnight ranch, Texas, 50.
The Galveston Daily News
Galveston, Texas, Dec 7, 1904
SPARE BIG-GAME, ALSO.
Set Aside Forest Reserves as Refuges for Bison, Etc.
I call the attention of the Congress again to the report and recommendation of the commission on the public lands forwarded by me to the second session of the present Congress. The commission has prosecuted its, investigations natively during the past season, and a second report is now in an advanced stage of preparation.
In connection with the work of the forest reserves I desire again to urge upon the Congress the importance of authorizing the President to set aside certain portions of these reserves or other public lands as game refuges for the preservation of the bison, the ____ and other large beast once so abundant in our woods and mountains and on our great plains, and now lending toward extinction. Every support should be given to the authorities of the Yellowstone Park and their successful efforts at preserving the large creatures therein: and that every little expense portions of the public domain in other regions which are wholly unsuited to agricultural settlement could be similarly utilized. We owe it to future generations to keep alive the noble and beautiful creatures which by their presence add such distinctive character to the American wilderness. The limits of the Yellowstone Park should be extended southward. The Canyon of the Colorado should be made a National Park, and the National park system should include the Yosemite and as many as possible of the groves of ___ trees in California.
The Morning Astorian
Astoria, Oregon, December 15, 1904
BUFFALO COME HIGH
Pawnee Bill Has a Big Herd of Buffalo
RAISED ON HIS OWN RANCH
Oklahoma Is the Paradise for the Buffalo Supposed to be Extinct.
Pawnee. Dec. 14. Some three or four years ago when’ Pawnee Bill bought up all the loose buffalo obtainable and declared he would raise buffalo meat for the market the eastern papers termed It the “Buffalo Trust,” and many of them declared it all “ad” for his big “Wild West show, and that the project would never be successfully carried out. The people of Pawnee and the writer are now fully aware that the buffalo ranch has been a success, as there is now a large bunch of as fine young buffalo as was ever seen, being corn-fed on his ranch south of town, and will be slaughtered and shipped east for the holiday trade.
The Waldorf-Astoria hotel of New York City has already ordered two hind quarters – which heads the list of orders from many of the large hotels and cafes throughout the U.S. Even Canada has placed one order; the King Edward hotel of Toronto having placed an order for a 36 – pound roast to include the “hump” which is considered by all old Buffalo hunters to be the most delicious and nutritious part of the carcass.
Evidently, someone who placed the order for the King Edward has been an old buffalo hunter.
“Pawnee Bill,” says his receipts from the ranch will be close to $30,000, and that each year’s receipts will increase.
The average price per pound of buffalo meat is about $1.25 — the loin and short ribs springing a $1.50 per pound – while the plate and stew bring $1.00. The robe brings $75.00- the heads when mounted, readily bring $75.00 to $150.00 each, according to size and quality. Both the heads and robes are very handsome when taken at this season of the year, as they have their heavy winter coat.
Oklahoma in years past was the Paradise of the buffalo. Here is where the heaviest growths of buffalo grass are found: which to the buffalo is equal to the richest timothy to domestic animals. Pawnee Bills’ ranch lies in the heart of this excellent range, and he has proven beyond a doubt that the buffalo can be raised for slaughter at a profit.
The Anaconda Standard
Anaconda, Montana, Dec 21, 1904
An Oklahoma breeder of buffalos is advertising the fact that he has just made his annual killing and is prepared to ship to a limited number of customers meat of exactly the character quality that furnished the Indians hereabouts the piece de resistance of their feast before and for some years after Lewis and Clarke hit the trail to Oregon. The Oklahoma buffalo butcher sees the price of turkeys and raises them out of sight. His rock-bottom prices are: Loin and porterhouse steaks, $1.50 a pound: round steak $1.25 a pound: roast, $1.50 a pound, and tongues, 2.50 each.
This ad has attracted the attention of the curious in eastern cities, and inquiries have been made of hotel keepers as to the probable geniuses of offer. The New York Evening Post declares, after investigations, that “in virtually every large city to-day and order for buffalo meat, if placed a short time ahead, is usually obtainable, and usually at a price lower than that quoted by the Oklahoma man.” At frequent intervals, the story is resurrected and printed that only about 2,500 buffaloes remained in the United States. The figures vary slightly from printing to printing, but the impression is given that the buffalo is doomed, and will presently be as scarce as a genuine $500,000 Carnegie note. The fact is, the buffalo is a very Hardy animal, and there is no valid reason why a man with the desire to brief them for the market should not indulge his fancy. Several herds are owned in this way by men who do not understand the art of advertising, but who find a steady demand for the animals.
Still, the Evenings Post’s assertion is news out this way that “if statistics were available, we should be pretty sure to find out that the ‘abandoned farms’ of New England are raising more bison for the eastern markets than the whole West is producing. It is only another curious illustration of this shifting about of industries to fit environment, and of the slow-moving about of pegs – the round into the round holes and the square into the square holes.”
The Evening Post is one of the most conservative and conscientious newspapers in the country, and its veracity may not lightly be impeached. That New England is racing bison on anything like an extensive scale will not be disputed here. But the standard has heard enough of them to know that some buffalo stories belong to the same literary classification as fish stories.
Lawrence Daily World
Lawrence, Kansas Dec 27, 1904
A curiosity of the plains is the buffalo wallows. There has not been a buffalo in them for thirty years, but they are the same today as they were generations or even centuries ago. They are no longer frequented by cattle, of course, and therefore not freshly worn, but they remain to this day barren and black amid the vast plains of living green. In the spring they stand full of water until the advancing summer sun evaporates it, and then they are barren and black again. They are perfect circles some large as the circus ring, and their basin are packed firm and hard by the tread and roll of many generations of the bison. Another recollection here of this extinct race is the buffalo birds, which abound in great numbers. Their function now, as in the time of the bison, is to pick insects from the backs of the cattle which feed on the plains. Sometimes twenty or more feed on a steers back, while the steer calmly, and with evident pleasure, munches buffalo grass. –Kansas City Star