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After The Swim -N.A. Forsyth- Montana Memory.org 1908

After The Swim -N.A. Forsyth- Montana Memory.org 1908


The Inter Ocean Jan 12, 1908

Will the Buffalo Survive?

……The American bison, or so-called buffalo, is peculiar to this continent. Its story is inseparable from that of the Indian and of the American pioneer.
It provided food, clothing and even fuel, for the explorers and early settlers of the great plains. If it had not been there their work would have been more difficult and their hardships greater. It had a vital part in “The Winning of the West.”
The bison once roamed in countless herds over the Western prairies and was found, probably in a slightly different species, nearly to the Atlantic coast. The buffalo was certainly counted upon as among the potential resources of the pioneers of Georgia. It is mentioned in that accurate pamphlets by which General Oglethorpe promoted that enterprise.
……How these herds were swept away has often been told. It is useless now to waste indignation over the destruction. Some of it was necessary. Most of it, and especially in later days, is now admitted to have been wanton destruction, for immediate profit, of animals which should have been preserved for intelligent use.
E.H. Baynes and a careful and comprehensive article on the subject in Country Life in America finds that there are now in existence about 2000 bison – 1000 in the United States, nearly as many in Canada, and the rest in European zoological collections. The largest herd numbers about 450 and ranges the Peace river country in Canada. The only other wild herd is the small one of about twenty in the Yellowstone park.
The largest herd in the United States, on the Austin Corbin Blue mountain estate in New Hampshire, started with thirty-five head seventeen years ago, now numbers 175, and would be ten times greater if none of the increase had been removed. There are many other private herds of twenty-five or more.
……Zoologist and cattle breeders are substantially agreed that with the stock in hand the bison could be preserved and would increase indefinitely, if a number of small herds were established, under proper protection and control, on as many suitable ranges, in widely separated parts of the country. The bison is a hardy animal, and in every case where it has been given a reasonable chance it has thrived and increased.
The first step in this direction, aside from the herd in the Yellowstone park, has been taken. Last year a suitable range was fenced in on the Wichita forest and game preserve in Oklahoma and was stopped with fifteen head presented to the nation by the New York Zoological society, which is now seeking to establish another herd on a range to be fenced in on the Flathead Indian reservation in Montana.
Of course, the final question is whether these efforts will pay. Can the bison be made sufficiently useful to man to warrant its preservation on grounds other than those of sentiment?
……Mr. Baynes answers with an unequivocal affirmation. The bison is, of course, valuable now- worth on the average $300 a head on the hoof. But would the bison have an ordinary mercantile value if their wants became fairly numerous?
Given a suitable range they are easier to rear and less expensive to feed than common cattle. Their flesh resembles beef, and their hides are valuable both for fur and leather. The cost of heavy wool which they shed in the spring could, with proper appliances, be sheared as those of sheep are. This wool has been tested in the mills and found useful for many purposes.
……Furthermore, Mr. Baynes has proved that they can be domesticated and put to the draft and other uses of oxen. For such use, it is advisable to take the calves from their dams at two weeks and rear them on cows milk. As draft animals, their action is quicker and their strength greater than that of a common ox.
If the European settlers of America had not been able, for any reason, to bring cattle with them, it is certain that they would have set about domesticating the bison at an early day. That this task was not undertaken before was plainly a case of overlooked opportunity. There seems to be no good reason why it should not be undertaken now, and that the bison made to survive with last distinct and in view.


The National Tribune of Wa. D.C. Jan 16 1908

A.M.P., London, Ky., writes: In a recent issue of the National Tribune you described the new animal called the “zebula.” It is the same as the cattalo; and, if not, what is a cattalo?
A cattalo is the animal obtained by crossing the buffalo with domestic cattle, and it is credited with possessing the best qualities of both parents.



The Inter Ocean March 29th 1908

1908 Census of pure bloods

Yellowstone Monitor

Glendive, Montana , April 02, 1908



One of the most interesting features of the society’s annual report is the bison census, which was made by Dr. W. T. Hornaday and completed on January 1. Its summary shows the existence at this date of 1,722 pureblood American bison in captivity throughout the world, and 325 (estimated) running wild. Of the latter 25 are credited to the Yellowstone Park and 300 to the region southwest of Great Slave Lake in Canada. In the United States, there are 1,116 bison in captivity, of which 506 are males and 610 are females. Of this total 203 are calves that were born in 1907. Canada now contains 476 captive bison, of which 214 are males and 262 are females, 98 of the total being calves of the vintage of 1907. Europe contains 54 male and 76 female bison, of which 22 are calves of the past year. The grand totals for the world, of captive bison are 777 males and 948 females, and of these 323 were born last year.

In 1903 there were living in captivity a total of 1,119 American bison. It thus appears that since 1903 the total net increase has been 603 head. If these bison were all owned by national or state governments the future of the species would be far more secure than it now is with these animals in the hands of sixty-four different owners. The temporary tenure of private ownership constitutes a great danger to the species and renders the establishment of several national herds imperatively necessary.




The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Mar. 29 1908


Society Will Provide Herd if Government Buys the Land


Cross Between the Domestic Cow and the Bison, Known as the Cattalo, Produced.
……The buffalo, which a few years ago threatened to become extinct, is now rapidly on the increase, according to the last census of the animal’s family SOUTHERN FRONT OF THE PURPOSED RANGE throughout the world. Not only is the number of
buffalo increasing but it bids fair to increase in much greater ratio in the future because more than one government has gone into the business of raising bison.
……The United States Government is behindhand in going to the rescue of the bison, but is doing something, and is now under persuasion to do more. Sen. Joseph M. Dixon of Montana has a bill in Congress appropriating $30,000 to pay the Flathead Indians for five allotments of land on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana, and to use the land for buffalo range. It is proposed to have a range of almost 20 square miles or about 18,000 acres.


 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Mar Gov to buy Flathead Range Mar 29 1908The popular belief that the bison will not breed in captivity or when confined to a certain pasturage has been well exploded. The bison probably will breed much better on a range under the protection of man than when running wild. This has certainly proved true in recent years. The wild herds of the Athabasca have been decimated by wolves, while the protected or captive herds of the United States have increased in surprising numbers.

Pablo herd ready for shipment to Canada
Pablo herd ready for shipment to Canada

……A herd of 39 buffalo placed on a range in the Flathead district of Montana in 1884 has grown to about thirty times its original number, counting the bison that have been sold and killed. The little herd increased so well that it’s owners Michael Pablo and Charles Allard, were able last year to sell 628 buffalo to the Canadian government. The bison brought $250 each. The Canadian government appropriated hundred and $157,000 for their purchase. In addition, to be 628 there were perhaps 300 head of bison previously sold. The history of the Pablo-Allard herd, the largest single herd in the world, proves that the bison need not become extinct if given proper opportunities for self-preservation. Man, instead of being an enemy to the bison, is an aid to its preservation when he is inclined that way. He can protect the buffalo from the great danger of Texas fever, spread by the deadly cattle tick of the grazing lands of the West, and can guarantee the bison calves against slaughter by wolves and other wild animals.
……No better proof that the bison will breed in captivity can be furnished than by the experience of the Zoological Park in New York City. Out of 23 bison last year there came a herd of 10 calves. Practically every female bison produced a calf. This was under conditions that were far from ideal, and there is no doubt that the bison will breed much better if given a larger freedom on a big range, but with the care and protection of man.

2,047 Bison in the World
……There are now 2,047 bison in the world, according to a census compiled by William T. Hornaday, president of the American Bison Society and director of the New York Zoological Gardens. Mr. Hornaday has gone to great pains to compile his census and has inquired in every corner of the globe that might have a buffalo.
Several countries in Europe have American bison but in small numbers. The total of bison now alive would make an insignificant fraction of a single one of the vast herds that roamed over the plains of America. The American Bison Society has a photograph of the plain where the whitened bones of buffalo lay piled as far as the eye can see. These bones are the supposed remains of the last big bison slaughter of Chief Poundmaker. They are a huge testimonial to the vastness of the herds of the past. The largest single herd of bison is now in Canada. This herd consist of 398 head, moved last year from the Pablo Allard range in Montana. Michael Pablo still has about 240 bison on the Montana range, and all but about fifteen of these will be shipped to Canada. James Philip of Fort Pierre, S. Dak. Has a herd of 158 bison, which is increasing rapidly.
……The next largest herd in the United States is in the east. It is that Corbin herd in the Blue Mountain Forests Association’s range, at Newport, N.H. There are 136 bison in this herd. All the other herds in this country are small. New York City has about forty head, not including fifteen that were presented to the government last year as the nucleus for the Wichita Buffalo Range, in Oklahoma.
Raising buffalo is of regular business with some ranch owners of the West. The estate of C. E. Conrad in Montana owns eighty head. Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch, which gave a show at Brighton Beach last summer, owns thirty-six head, and Major Lillie, of Pawnee Bill’s Wild West show, has nineteen on his ranch in Pawnee, Okla. Charles Goodnight of Texas has seventy head, and his herd is growing rapidly.
The herd in Yellowstone National Park did not increase much last year. Only five calves were born. The herd now consist of sixty-one head, not counting about twenty-five that run wild. The American bison has done well in Europe, where the herds have been large enough, in the Duke of Bedford’s Park there are now thirty-four bison, nine of which are calves. Prince Hohenlohe’s little herd in Austria was increased from eighteen to twenty-three last year.

Increase of Bison.
……The increase of bison is best shown by the figures for the years of 1903 and 1908. The number of captive bison increased in the last five years in the United States from 969 to 1,116, and from 41 to 476 in Canada. The Canadian increase was partly by the purchase from the United States. The total of captive buffaloes in America is now 1,592, against 1,010 five years ago. In Europe, there are now 130 American bison, an increase of about twenty in five years.
……It is estimated by the Northwestern mounted police of Canada that the herd of about six hundred wild bison in Athabasca has been cut down to about three hundred by timber wolves. The bison in that section do not travel in herds large enough for the bulls to protect the young calves against the wolves. It is estimated that there are about twenty-five wild buffalo in the United States, all in Yellowstone National Park.

Cattalo a Cross Between Domestic Cow and Bison.
……An entirely new animal, known as the cattalo, is now being grown in the West. It is a cross between the domestic cow and the bison. Buffalo Jones, the pioneer breeder of the cattalo, has been authorized by the United States government to use the western side of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado as a range for experimenting on the crossbreeding of buffalo and domestic cattle. There are about three hundred and forty-five of these hybrid cattle now living. There are not all half-breeds, but are of various degrees of relationship to the bison Charles Goodnight, who has a big bison ranch at Goodnight, Texas, has also about one hundred cattaloes. They are bred from one-eighth to one-sixteenth bison. Unlike some hybrids, the cattalo is usually fertile and will perpetuate itself. Only one case has been reported of an infertile cattalo, which was male, one-half Hereford. Of eight calves born last year on the Mossom Boyd Company’s ranch in Ontario, Canada, three were bison calves, the product of a one-quarter bison bull and one-quarter bison cows.
……There is one living link between the American and European bison. It is a cross between an American and European bison and is a healthy specimen at the London Zoological Gardens. The American Bison Society is doing its utmost to guarantee the perpetuation of the bison, as a typical American animal. It is ready to give the government a small herd of bison to put on the Flathead Indian Reservation range if the government will provide the range and maintain it. The climate and other conditions there are highly suitable to the development of the buffalo, as proved by the experience of the Pablo Allard herd. It is believed that a herd of twenty or thirty buffaloes would soon multiply itself to large numbers if the range of 18,000 acres were fenced in and provisions were made against the ravages of the Texas cattle fever tick. The proposed range on the hills, too steep for any purpose other than grazing. The supply of grass would be sufficient the year round without providing hay. There is an abundance of water and timber enough to provide shelter for the bison. The grazing would support almost 2,000 bison, according to some estimates. The American Bison Society wants the government to get possession of a large herd, as the members of the society believe the future of the buffalo would be safer in the hands of the government than in the hands of the sixty-four owners who now possess all the bison in the world.



The Indianapolis News

Indianapolis, Indiana July 25, 1908

Cyclopedia of Agriculture.


The third volume of Prof. L. H. Bailey’s “Cyclopedia of ‘ American Agriculture” is devoted to ‘ animals and includes Information, concerning all kinds which have, either a direct or indirect influence on agriculture, good or bad. From the silkworm to the buffalo and from the bee to the turkey the range is large, but each species has received careful study and consideration, the results of which are here set forth by expert investigators. Starting with the domestication of animals this volume presents its information in an orderly manner, running through physiology, breeding, feeding, diseases and. management, exhibiting wildlife and its relation to farming, manufacture of both meat and dairy products, and then follows with a separate discussion of each of the animals in which the farmer may be interested and by which he may be affected. Of course, cattle, horses, sheep, swine, and poultry receive the most attention, but the dog is not neglected. nor is the cat. To the layman, it may seem a little surprising to find fish, frogs, shellfish, and turtles included in this list, but it is clear that they all have their place of greater or less importance. Nor is it all dull, dry and statistical. The chapter on birds, as well as that on bees, may be read with interest by any lover of nature, and the possibilities of the cattalo the cross between the domestic cow and; the buffalo present a large field for speculation as to its influence on our future meat and leather supply. Of special value to the individual farmer is the consideration, of the diseases and treatment of the commoner animals of the farm, the possibilities of their improvement by breeding, and the detailed information concerning the most advanced and scientific methods of the manufacture, shipment, and storage of dairy products. Altogether this volume, as were the two preceding volumes, is a valuable addition to the library of the progressive farmer, and should have a generally beneficial effect on farm administration in America. The fourth volume, which will complete the set, is to be devoted to a general discussion or the farm and the community as expressed in history, biography, bibliography, education, statistics, and economic and social questions. (New York: The Macmillan Cornpany.)