The Virginia Enterprise
Virginia Minnesota May 11, 1906
FATE OF EUROPEAN BISON.
Revolutions in Russia Cause Decrease in Number of These Animals.
An interesting side effect of the rebellion and perhaps revolution of which we. read in Russia is the possible speedy extinction of a species of animal which for many years has been jealously protected by the czar. In times of national peace and contentment, the European bison lives in the imperial forests of Lithuania, presumably unmolested; but whenever there is a rising in Poland and the rebels take to the woods they use this herd of bison as a part of their commissary and kill them for beef.
For many years, says Forest and Stream, there has been a gradual lessening in numbers of this herd, which by many zoologists is thought to be due to inbreeding; yet there are others who believe that the decrease in this protected herd, which 50 years ago numbered nearly 2,000 and which lives wild in its native habitat, is too rapid to be accounted for solely by inbreeding, and must be due to destruction by man, notwithstanding the efforts made by the authorities to protect them. Statistics of the Bielowitza herd in Grodno show that between 1833 and 1857 these bison increased from 768 to 1,898, but from this time on the decrease has been constant until in 1892 the herd numbered less than 500.
The butchery of human beings in Russia, which is reported to be taking place on a scale quite unparalleled in times of peace for the last hundred years, stirs the emotions of the world; yet zoologists will view with keen regret the diminution of the European bison, which for hundreds of years has been preserved from extinction only by the very hand that brought its numbers so low.
Of the herd of these bison which inhabits the mountains of the Caucasus, in the province of Kuban, we know little or nothing, but the same causes which seem likely to bring about the absolute extermination of the herd in Grodno will be operative in the Caucasus, and the race seems likely now to receive a blow from which it can never recover.
On one or two estates in Europe and in a few zoological gardens, there are living specimens of these bison, but their number are very few, Perhaps the little herd belonging to the prince of Pless is, the most numerous.
Marion Kentucky Aug 23, 1906
Saving the Bison
New York City’s Herd to Again Hear the Call of the Wild
Millions That Once Roamed Over the Western Plains
Four years ago in response to a resolution of the senate Secretary of Agriculture Wilson submitted a report beginning with these words The American bison is on the verge of extermination Scarcely a handful now remain of the millions which formerly roamed over the plains of the west. At that time only two small herds of wild buffalo were in existence in the United States one of twenty live individuals in the Yellowstone and one of ten in Lost park, Colorado. It looked as If the bison would soon be as extinct as the dinosaur. His friends in and out of congress began to agitate in his behalf. Their appeals have moved the heart of the great white father at Washington though it took four years to do it and he has adopted a herd of tame buffaloes which he purposes to make wild. This herd is the gift of the New York Zoological society. It consists of twenty animals in good condition. From its cramped quarters in Bronx park New York, it will be transferred probably in October or November to a range of twelve square miles in the Wichita forest and game preserve in southwestern Oklahoma. The new agricultural appropriation bill provided $15,000 for the fencing of this range which will furnish good grazing ground, permanent water and shelter from storms. Here the buffaloes will enjoy the conditions under which their primitive ancestors thrived and if their spirits have not been too much subdued by long captivity they should not be slow in hearing the call of the wild.
The agricultural department hopes to have better luck with the bison than it had with the burros recently sent to the Philippines which although shelter for them was provided, stayed out all night in a tropical storm and were drowned in their pasture “The blamed fools didn’t have sense enough to get in out of the rain the official herder reported.
It is computed that there were fully 10,000,000 buffaloes in North America before the white man came. The whole of this great shaggy population used to travel in a circular route through the continent, all keeping more or less in touch with one another during this slow but continuous migratory existence. The Indians killed no more than were annually replaced by birth and no game laws were needed to keep the bison census up to its high level. With the coming of the paleface, Indians and buffaloes alike melted away.
Apart from sentiment, the buffalo is a valuable animal its meat is excellent, so closely resembling beef that it Is difficult to detect the difference and no scandal has yet placed it under suspicion. The buffalos skin makes a fine overcoat and an unequaled carriage robe. Heads of the bull bison bring high prices for decorative purposes.
Private preservation and even domestication of the bison have been tried in New Hampshire with considerable success. The Blue Mountain Game preserve, founded by the late Austin Corbin, now has a herd of 160 buffaloes, and many calves have been sold and given away. From this herd same the parents of the animals which the Bronx zoo has presented to the government. Buffaloes are wonderfully healthy animals, and their warm ___ make it possible for them to withstand the most intense cold without discomfort. _____ in New Hampshire they require no shelter in the dead of winter.
One New Hampshire breeder, who states he made a big profit out of his small herd, figure the cost of hay for the five years which a buffalo require to reach maturity at $__.
A full grown buffalo is worth from $350 to $500, dead or alive. One man can easily take care of 300 buffalo in the winter and have time left for other things. In the summer the animals take care of themselves. This New Hampshire breeder finds that if the calves are properly weaned his herd increases as rapidly as a herd of ordinary cattle. He has broken two bull calves to the yoke, has trained them to draw a heavily loaded cart over the mountainous roads of the Granite State and will exhibit them.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Sept 16, 1906
Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Information for Sportsmen
How the Government Advises the Hunters When and Where They May Seek for Game
…..Uncle Sam now maintains in Washington a Bureau of information for sportsmen. It is a branch of the biological survey, Department of Agricultural. Just in advance of the fall shooting season it issues, each year, a little pamphlet containing the revised game laws of the United States and Canada, also tables showing the close seasons for various kinds of game, the cost of hunting licenses to residents and non-residents, laws as to shipping game or carrying it home, and so on. This autumn’s issue of this booklet, besides giving all of this information, will contain a digest of the new game laws passed within the year.
……To thwart the vandal, the poacher and the pot-hunter, and preserve the native game for the true sportsman, our Federal Government, our states, and the Canadian provinces are now striving to outdo one another, and as a result, the true sportsman is bound to profit.
……Thirteen game preserves have been set aside by Uncle Sam up to present writing. Congress this year established one in the Grand Canyon forest reserve in Arizona, and another in South Dakota, where the Secretary of the Interior is now negotiating lease 3500 acres of land for the purpose. In Oklahoma 57,000 acres have been set aside as the Wichita game preserve, wherein deer, elk, antelope, and bison, also many game birds, will be protected from the ruthless extermination. For the erection of a buffalo inclosure here $15,000 is to be immediately expanded. The Bronx Zoological Association, of New York, has promised the government some eighteen or twenty bison for this preserve. A herd of the small San Joaquin valley elk has been established in a preserve within the Sequoia National Park, California. Lately, it was discovered that of this once abundant native species, which up to some years ago ranged over the southern San Joaquin valley, less than 150 individuals were left by the game vandals. An attempt to capture those by driving them into a corral was made last fall, but only twenty were safely caught and placed in the preserve.
Hunters Camp, Wisconsin Woods
……The Yellowstone National Park is our greatest federal preserve. It now contains 1,500 antelope, 100 mountain sheep about 100 bison in numerous deer, elk, black bears, beaver and smaller game. For a new bison refuge in the park, Congress appropriated $15,000 and the necessary inclosures have now been built. A herd of twenty-one of these animals, purchased a few years ago for this inclosure, has already increase to fifty-six, and besides these, there are some forty or more wild bison, ranging in the park at will. There are more elk than any other species of big-game in the great preserve. Formally, the greater number of these animals left the park in winter to feed in the lower ranges of neighboring states, but now they are fed in the preserve during the cold months and are becoming remarkably tame. In fact, several different species venture close to the buildings of the park and even upon the parade ground of Fort Yellowstone. The experiment with big-game in the Yellowstone has demonstrated how readily are big-game can be saved from extermination whenever Congress shall authorize again preserve in other national parks were forest preserves. The hunting season in the Yellowstone Park is always closed. No firearms are admitted inside its boundaries. If the civilian insist upon carrying a gun into the park, he may do so by first having it sealed against use.
The federal preserve for the sea otter is maintained on Afognak Island, off the southern coast of Alaska, and in general preserve for all sorts of animals – foreign and native – is constituted by the National Zoological Park, in the District of Columbia. Six small islands, furthermore, had been set aside as federal bird preserves in Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, in North Dakota.
……A vast game preserve of more than a half million acres has been lately provided by Wyoming, which does take the lead among the states in movement to preserve our native game. A number of other states have game preserves, but none have gone this far. This year that Canadian government has set aside again preserve of sixteen sections in the province of Alberta, while on the Gaspe peninsula, Québec, a large part of 2,500 square miles has been given over for the same purpose. Québec
had already another preserve of about this size, as has also Ontario.
……The collection of valuable big-game in preserves, such as those of our national parks were forest reserves, naturally attracts the greedy poacher, for whom Uncle Sam’s game wardens and forest rangers are forever on the lookout. These skilled and experienced vandals, who lived in the vicinity of the game refuge, do no illicit killing in summer or autumn when they make their five dollars a day as guides for hunting parties of Easterners in the outside territory. But as soon as the snow falls deep in winter they skulk through the forbidden areas, often on snowshoes, and evade the guards, whose paths of patrol are closed by the elements. The best specimens of elk, deer or other big-game raised by the care of Uncle Sam are too often selected by these despoilers. The typical poacher of this stripe, when put at bay, is as desperate character as he is a dead shot, and lone warden, ranger were soldier, if cautious, would hesitate to challenge a group of such offenders.
……Our states are protecting their big-game by a tightening their laws, as needs be, from year-to-year. New Jersey has just extended her “close season” for deer until 1909, which means that until then no deer may be shot in the state. The shooting of deer of all kinds is forbidden also in Connecticut until 1911; in Illinois until 1913; in Massachusetts until 1908; in parts of New York until 1907; in Rhode Island until 1908; in Tennessee until 1907; and in Utah until 1909.
……In Indiana, Iowa and Oklahoma deer hunting is illegal “all the year” without stipulation as to when resumption of the sport will again be allowed. On Long Island deer-shooting is permitted only on the first two Wednesdays and Fridays after the first Tuesday of November, and in Vermont only from October 22 to 28. It is illegal to kill female deer and fawns in Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada and Texas; also deer without horns in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska; deer in red coat and fawn is spotted coat in Michigan and fawns in New York.
……In addition to these restrictions as to deer many states forbid hunting the year round of either big-game. Thus there is no hunting of elk allowed at any time of year, now, in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming. All of these states except Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oregon are now closed the year round also to hunters of antelope, as are Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota in Texas. Likewise, there is no longer any shooting of the once abundant mountain sheep in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah or Wyoming, or of mountain goats in Arizona or Nevada.
……Moose and caribou hunting are forbidden the year round in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota and Vermont, while caribou shooting is forbidden in Nevada and Maine, the latter stayed allowing the hunting of moose bulls, but not cows or calves. Bison or buffalo hunting is forbidden all the year in Colorado, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota, the law being easily enforced, inasmuch as there have been no wild bison spared by the big-game vandals. Washington state forbids the shooting of any time of female moose, caribou, antelope, mountain sheep and mountain goats, while Montana extends the same protection on female elk in Nevada to female antelope.
……The extent to which the deer, elk, antelope mountain goat and mountain sheep have been ruthlessly slaughtered, as have the moose and caribou also, can be judged by this brief summary of prohibitory laws, started by the states wherein these animals once roamed in thousands. The game preserves would seem in offer some prospect of their regaining their foothold. What has been thus accomplished with the bison offers this gleam of hope. This noble animal was practically extinct twenty years ago. I heard of the remaining is the No Man’s Land strip was _____killed out, through a indifference at Congress, the ___ surviving is the Yellowstone Park were almost exterminated by poachers. A larger herd survived in Canada, but it has been sadly reduced in _____ by the wolves, and today it is reported that the calf tracks are no longer seen by those who occasionally came upon the trail of the herd. The wolves attacked the calves only, and if they wanted in thus killing them off from year to year the herd is of course doomed. Today the only herds outside of the government preserves which remain intact are several remaining in private hands. There are now, all told, only about 1,000 bison left alive in the world.
……But the fact that the herd in the Yellowstone preserve has more than doubled — has increased, in fact, from twenty-one to fifty-six – within a few years, is in augury of why it can be done for the bison elsewhere in the country. The American Bison Society, of which President Roosevelt is the head, is diligently studying the problem, and the saving of the most picturesque of our native animals ______ to be_______.
……Uncle Sam is also co-operating with private enterprises in the work of bison preservation. A large tract of government land has been leased of a nominal rental to James Phillips, better known as “Scotty” Phillips of Pierre S.D., with the understanding that the area is to be used as a range for his private herd of bison. Another tract, in Arizona, on the western edge of the Grand Canyon, has been admittedly least to C.J.Jones _ “Buffalo” Jones – who is not only rearing bison, but making experiments and crossbreeding them with Galloway cattle. The hybrid resulting from this cross is named by Mr. Jones the “cattalo”. He recently brought to Washington a “cattalo robe,” as skin about 8 feet square, covered with a glossy, soft, blackish-brown hair, not quite as long as the fur of a bear. The Bulls of the cattalo hybrid like the jacks of the mule species are sterile as are also the quarter-blood cattalo bulls; but the ‘eighths’ are fertile, according to Mr. Jones.
……The final knockout blow to the pot-hunter as far as legislation would put him down and out was given this year, when Mississippi passed of statute completing a chain of non-export laws which now surrounds every state in the Union. In other words, now that Mississippi has at last fallen in line, every state now prohibits the export of game of one kind or another outside of the boundaries. Development of cold storage and extensions of railroads throughout the West in the early seventies allowed and apparently inexhaustible supply of game to pour into the Eastern markets, so rapidly did this commerce increase that some of the Western states, devastated by the pot-hunters, sought self-defense in steps to restrict shipments of game beyond their borders. In 1896 a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States established the right of the states to do this. Then the states fell in line one after the other, but in spite of these non-export laws the pot-hunters continued to thrive.
……Enormous quantities of deer, other big-game and birds were poured into the big cities, and the states not endowed by nature with deep forest of natural refuges for either big-game. The state authorities found it impossible to detect forbidding shipments of game to points outside their borders until Congress came to the rescue by prohibiting all interstate commerce and big-game and certain game birds shipped in violation of the state laws. This bill also required the proper marking of game, under heavy penalty for violation.
……Government “spotters” have since watched the consignments in the express companies, and many convictions have been thus emerged. Fines of $100 or more have been imposed in nearly half of these cases. Venison and other game has since been illegally shipped in greatly diminished quantities. Concerns employing pot-hunters are now afraid to express their game and have been driven to adopt other means of transportation so unsatisfactory and expensive that the illicit business in export game is almost on its last legs. Non-export laws are now in force also in practically every province of Canada. The result is that in the two countries there remains but slight danger that the game of the region will be exterminated by wholesale slaughter for the purpose of feeding the epicures of some distant city, and with the result of cheating the true native sportsmen out of the birthright with which nature and endowed him. All of the states and territories west of the Mississippi, except Wyoming and Iowa, prohibit that carrying away across the state line of any game, and New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi and Tennessee have made the same requirements. The remaining states prohibit the taking out of certain kinds of game only, South Carolina forbids export of game intended for sale.
Another blow aimed at the pot-hunter has been the ”non-sale” law. ______ acts have now been passed by forty-two states. Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Michigan prohibit the selling of all game, _____ever ___, if protected by the state laws, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas prohibit the sale of protected game taken in the state. Laws which prohibit the placing on sale of certain kinds of game have been passed by all of the other states except the Virginias, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana and Indian Territory.
……Thwarting the pot-hunter still further are the “non-resident licenses” now required by thirty-six states. Before he can shoot any or certain kinds of game in those states the non-resident must pay a fee ranging from $19 in a number of states to $36 in Wyoming, the latter figure being the same as enacted in British Columbia and Newfoundland. In sixteen states even the residence must now pay a fee, ranging from $.75 to $3, before being allowed to hunt. A new kind of hunting license has recently been adopted by several states to restrict hunting by persons who are not citizens of the country. Thus Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Utah and Wyoming provide that all hunters who are unnaturalized residents of the state must obtain the same license required of non-residents. Massachusetts has special$15 license for resident aliens, Washington a $30 license for nonresident foreigners, and Manitoba a $100 license for all hunters who are not British subjects, in Maine, South Dakota and Wyoming non-residents are not permitted to hunt big-game unless accompanied by qualified guide.
The St. Mary Banner
Franklin Parish of St Mary, La. Nov 17, 1906
PRESERVE THE BUFFALO.
Ernest Harold Baynes Talks on “Our Grandest American Animal.”
Ernest Harold Baynes gave a talk before the Society of Arts on the “American Bison: Our Grandest American Animal.” Mr. Baynes is secretary of the American Bison Society, president of which is Theodore Roosevelt and which count among their members the governor general of Canada. The object of .this society is to promote a public sentiment that will influence congress to provide for the perpetuation of the American bison. At present there is a bill before Congress providing for the appropriation of $15,000 for the maintenance of a herd.
Mr. Baynes said that the bison was the most numerous of all mammals of modern times. The numbers that at one time lived on this continent was in the millions, and it seems remarkable that they could have become almost exterminated in so short a time. There are but two wild herds of buffalo in existence today, one in the, Yellowstone National Park and another in Canada. There are a few private herds, but all of these are, with-out exception, for sale to anyone who will pay a reasonable price.
Before the white men who are responsible for this depletion invaded the West the Indians killed the buffalo, themselves, and depended upon the buffalo generally for their living.
When the white men came they began killing the buffalo, and the Indians were instructed to kill as many as possible and to bring their hides to the trading stations. The white hunters also took up the slaughter and there are white men living today who have killed 10,000 buffaloes with one rifle. There is on record a case where 1500 buffaloes were killed in fifteen minutes by a hunting party. Whole herds were exterminated at one time by driving them over precipices, and by corralling and slaughtering them by the wholesale.
Many people ask if the preservation of the buffalo is of any practical value. In an attempt to answer this question satisfactorily, Mr. Baynes has trained two buffaloes to work in harness or under yoke. These animals were exhibited at the Sportsman’s Show last fall and are doubtless remembered by many people. They have been found to be very tractable and fully as strong as oxen.
Mr. Baynes showed various lantern slides of the domesticated buffaloes drawing various wagons and carts and in one case drawing a snow plow through snow up to their shoulders. The buffalo hide is very much more valuable than cow hide, and it has been found possible to weave their fur or wool into coarse cloths. Another valuable use for buffalo is in crossing them with our cattle, and so forming a race that is much stronger, healthier and less susceptible to cattle diseases. The hair of these crosses is also valuable, resembling very closely fine bear fur.—Boston Transcript.