Okalhoma Postcard 1923 Brahman Cow X Bison Bull
The News Leader
Staunton, Virginia Jan 3, 1923
The birth of two bull buffalo calves during November was reported to the biological survey of the United States department of agriculture. One was at Wind Cave preserve, and one at Sully Hill preserve. This makes a total of 104 buffalo calves born this season on the four preserves, which are known as the National Bison range, Niobrara reservation, Wind Cave, and Sullys Hill. The death of one calf at Sullys Hill is the only one reported of all those born.
La Grande Observer
La Grande, Oregon Jan 8, 1923
Wild Buffalo Still Exist
The Canadian government has taken a census of a herd of wild bison which pastures in the far Northwest of the Dominion in the Peace River region and it is found that there are 5,000 to 6,000of the animals. These are the only survivors of the great herds which once roamed from the Alleghenies westward, except those which have been placed in parks or on protected ranges. It is surprising to learn that there are any survivors in the free state. For a time it looked like the buffalo might become extinct, but that result is no longer feared. In fact, some herds have become so numerous that it has been necessary to slay a portion each year.
The wanton slaughter of the buffalo has been lamented often, yet their presence as incompatible with the immigrants who sought out their grazing grounds in which to found homes. The animals served as food only in emergency. The remnant which is found in Canada exists, doubtless because it is far removed from the settlements of man. If the day arrives when man wants for his own then, pastures they too will be sacrificed.
The Independent Record
Helena, Montana Jan 9 1923
BISON FROM PARK PASS THROUGH ON WAY TO CLEVELAND
Livingston, Jan. 8. – Two items of expressage, weighing a ton each, arrived from Gardiner yesterday afternoon, en route to Cleveland, Ohio.
Carefully crated, with three bales of hay for refreshment along the route, two nig buffalo from Yellowstone park, were traveling toward their new home, the Brookside zoological gardens at Cleveland.
The animals were docile enough they could not be otherwise, in such close quarters. But it was no small task to move them from one train to another. Half dozen men with muscles stretched and straining, moved the heavy crates from the car to the trucks, which had been raised so that they were level with the car floor.
“It might have been worse,“ one perspiring man declared, when at last the crates were re-loaded on the eat bound train. “Two years ago they sent a couple of fellows down from the park, and the crates were so high they wouldn’t go into the car, and we had a lovely job, you bet. “
The Minneapolis Star
Minneapolis, Minnesota Jan 9 1923
Short Jacket Gains Favor For Winter
By Interactional News Service
Paris, Jan. 7. Generally speaking, the short jacket seems to have gained the upper hand over the long coat this winter.
Two reasons have made madame choose the fur jacket instead of a great coat. It is much lighter in weight and infinitely less expensive. Shaved caracul, with bands of gray Iamb, makes a charming short jacket, and there are others in brletschwarntz, gazelle, monkey, bison and pony. Gray squirrel and moleskin probably claim the greatest number. Moleskin is best suited to incrustations, gathers and little folds.
The jackets are mostly hip-Iength straight in cut and drawn in about the hips with a belt, many of them in metal, closed by an old fashioned buckle.
The Richmond Item
Richmond, Indiana Jan 10, 1923
A WASTEFUL NATION
The story of the settlement of this country and the growth of this nation has been largely one of extravagant-waste. When Indiana was settled, on the prairies, farther west, there roamed enormous herds of buffalo.
The middle west was covered with wonderful forests. The streams ran limpid and clear with pure water. The land was wonderfully fertile.
In three or four generations, a great part of this natural wealth has been wasted, prodigally, almost criminally. This generation has begun to pay the cost.
The cost of living is more than ten times what it was in the early days. The forests have gone. Valuable water power, that then existed for the taking, has been lost in the same process. The bison is almost extinct, and most of the other wild game has become nearly so.
All scientists agree that our coal and oil supplies are being wasted. The soil’s fertility was exhausted long ago, and must now be artificially renewed. One of the greatest needs of the American nation is the spirit of thrift. We need it, everywhere. And the more we have of it, the more surely we shall prosper as a nation. If we ever hope to reform the awful extravagance of our state and national governments, we must first begin to practice thrift in our own homes. If the American” people once adopt habits of thrift, they won’t continue to stand for pork-barrel politics in their governments.
The Anaconda Standard
Anaconda, Montana 14 Jan 1923
When Paradise of the Red Hunters of Mountains and Prairies Suffered Invasion by Pale-Face Game Hogs Who Killed for Mere Blood Lust
The country now embraced within the states of Montana and Wyoming, lying along the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, was a wild and rugged wilderness when it first revealed itself to the eyes of the early white explorers nearly 125 years ago, and it was, for half a century thereafter, a. paradise for hunters; that has been equaled by few regions of the earth. Even the menace from hostile Indians failed to keep big game hunters from Europe away from this land of wonders, and for a hundred years most of the noted sportsmen of the world came once or more to kill buffalo, elk, antelope, bear, moose, goat, sheep, mountain lions, lynx and other game which abounded. The home of these, wild things was characterized by the huge backbone and lofty altitudes of the main range of the Rockies and numerous spurs, and by the vast, free sweep of prairie that rolled away eastward to the horizon. It is a land of splendid distances, and so clear is the air that, by moonlight on a fine night, the rugged contour of the greater mountains can be clearly seen at a distance of 125 miles.
It is now a tradition in this region that a century ago the winters were longer and more rigorous than now, with heavier snowfall. The great mountain ranges were sheathed in glacial ice; their flanks covered with dense, sunless forests of giant cedar, many varieties of fir and pine, tamarack, larch, and spruce. Fringing the myriad rivers and their smaller tributaries were groves of silver-leafed cottonwood, quaking asp and willows. Of course, the trees and the flora of the mountains are the same today as then, but, due to the plow and overstocking of the ranges with cattle and sheep, the prairie has suffered an unbelievable change in this respect.
SPRING IN THE MOUNTAINS.
In the spring and summer, the mountains and foothills of the Rockies are a never-ending garden of bloom. Kinnikinnick, the tobacco of the primitive Indians, weaves thick, green mats, patterned with crimson berries, over the ground. Under the heavy shade of trees in the forests, in the rich mountain mold, spring forth an infinite variety of flowers sweet-perfumed lily bells of pale pink, known sometimes as twinflower; briar roses, shading from white to crimson, grow in fragrant thickets. Purple clematis loops its garlands from limb to limb, and the delicate violet-colored blossoms sway in the breeze. Wild hollyhock, tall and stately, tufted with, masses of pale pink and lavender blossoms form a jungle beneath the protecting and over-lacing boughs of the great, forest trees. There are also orchids of many kinds, forget-me-nots, bluebells, purple and yellow asters, brown-eyed mountain lilies, pale queen’s cups, gentian flowers, columbine, violets, white and yellow; pink syringa, flaming Indian paintbrush and white summer “snowfields” of cone-shaped squaw grass, Another lovely flower of the Rockies is the bitter root, which grows close to the ground and has an exquisitely silver-rose-colored blossom and a root which was .much esteemed by some Indian tribes as a food.
Each season each degree of altitude is marked by its changing bloom. First, one variety is found in sheltered valleys; later it is found on the slopes of hills. Then, as the warmth of the sun increases, it goes higher and higher until its last elevation is reached near the timberline. Even on the bald mountain peaks are found green cushions of moss with fairy flowers of white and pink. In addition to the trees and flowers, there are many kinds of edible berries. Wild strawberries, raspberries, buffalo berries, chokecherries, sarvisberries and many other varieties of luscious fruit attain perfection. There are also nutritious roots, like the camas, pomme blanche and Oregon grape, which is early days were used alike by Indians and white pioneers.
LORDS OF THE WILDERNESS.
The lord of these mountains, who extended his domain, along the rivers of some distance from the foothills, was the great silver tip or grizzly bear, huge and ferocious. His tribe has about disappeared, except from the remotest fastnesses, but there are remaining many of his smaller cousins, the brown and the little black bear, who both lived in the utmost fear of their warlike relative. The mountain lion, wildcat, lynx, wolf, coyote, mountain sheep and goat and the moose were all mountain dwellers. Black and white-tail deer, antelope and elk were also found, in the mountain ranges and on.the plains. The streams were thick with colonies of beaver, with otters, mink, marten and other small animals. The little furry folk of the trees squirrels and chipmunks were a chattering crew, while the marmot whistled from the rocks, where dwelt also the coney and weasel.
The Lewis and Clark journals refer to “vast herds of buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope” near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri. In writing of these animals, they say “the deer alone are shy and retire to the woods, but the elk, antelope, and buffalo suffer us to approach them without alarm and often follow us for some distance.”
But all of the animals of the wilds – plains and mountains – the buffalo was monarch. These, in unreckoned hosts, roamed the plains and the foothills of the mountains, but from the first coming of the white man, they became victims of an incessant and increasing warfare made against them until the last had disappeared.
INDIANS AS HUNTERS
Twice every year the Indians sallied forth on their spring and autumn hunt. Certain favorite feeding grounds of the buffalo were held in possession as hunting grounds through many years by one tribe, and the right to hunt there was defended to the death. In those days the chase not infrequently ended in warfare. Not only did the buffalo cause hostilities among tribes, but it is said that they also were the cause of internal strife. It is handed down that the Assiniboines, or Sioux of the mountains, separated from the plains Sioux, which formed the main body of the tribe, because of a dispute between the wives of the two rival chiefs, each of whom insisted in having for her portion the entire heart of a fine cow slain in the chase. Thus began a feud which split the Sioux nation into independent, antagonistic tribes.
Although the buffalo were hunted by the Indians and supplied them with almost every article of utilitarian nature, the great herds were never appreciably depleted by the red men of the plains. The utmost economy was used and practiced by them in their use of the buffalo and virtually every portion of the animal’s body was turned to some account.
One writer, describing a trip across the plains in early days, says:
“Several hunting parties of white men crossed our trail at different times recently, going from the hunting grounds in the badlands at the north to Colorado and on into New Mexico. There were usually from 10 to 12 men in each party, mostly Englishmen, all well armed and mounted, and having a dozen or more mules packed with stores and camp equipage. The number of men and the good firearms no doubt had much to do with preventing Indian attacks. They boated of having had good sport in killing buffalo, placing the number of animals they had slaughtered at 1,000. They had been slain in pure wantonness, just for the “fun of the thing.”
EXPLORERS FOR SCIENCE.
Among the early travelers in. the Rocky mountain region were a number of noted men whose object was not sport or slaughter of game, but scientific research. Among these were Michaux, Lewis and Clark, Long, Bradbury, Brackenridge,” Wyeth, Maximilian, Catlin, Audubon and others. The first of these was Maximilian, Prince of Wied; who went to Brazil in 1815 and spent two years there, studying the native tribes, animal and vegetable life. On June 24, 1833, he reached Fort Union, at the mouth of the Yellowstone river, where, he was hospitably received and entertained by the factor, Kenneth McKenzie. He, spent the greater part of a year, publishing his observations in his book, “Travels in North America,” which forms a most valuable contribution to the literature of the old West.
John James Audubon, the celebrated naturalist, undertook a trip to the upper Missouri in 1843 with four assistants and found the country so prolific of interesting specimens of animal, reptile and bird life that he regretted the necessity of making an early return to the East, which he found necessary. His journey lasted eight months and the fruits of his studies are to be found in his three volumes on “Quadrupeds of North America.”
WEST’S FIRST GAME HOG
In contrast to the men of science was Sir George Gore, a native of Sligo, Ireland, and a picturesque and eccentric character, whose extensive travels in the Northwest a period of three years seem to have been sheer love of adventure and lust to kill. His adventures are set forth as follows by that unfortunate young historian, Lieut. J. H. Bradley, who met an early death in the battle of Big Hole in 1877:
“In 1854, Sir St. George Gore, a wealthy Irish bachelor, ascended the Missouri river from St. Louis for a protracted hunt in the wilds of the West. He was accompanied by a party of 43 men with a numerous train of wagons loaded with abundant supplies, and with the famous Jim Bridger as guide; It was probably the largest and best appointed purely pleasure expedition that ever penetrated the western wilderness.
“Following up the valleys of the main and North Platte river, hunting” as he went, he finally crossed to the mouth of Tongue river, where he built a fort for the protection of his men and remained for nine months, trading with the Indians and pursuing his hunting projects. The destruction of game by his party was so great that the indignation of the Crow Indians was excited and they sent a remonstrance to the Indian department. They said they objected to the wholesale slaughter for so-called sport, the carcasses being left to rot on the prairie. From a letter of Col. A.J. Vaughn, then Indian agent on the Upper Missouri, to the superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis, Mo., dated in July, 1856, it appears that 105 bear, upward of 2,000 buffalo and innumerable elf, antelope and deer had already fallen victims to the first real game hog of the West. At least, in retaliation, the Indians drove off about half of his horses in one raid and the following winter, while he was wintering between Fort Union and Fort Berthold, made a clean sweep of the remainder.”
UNPOPULAR AT FORT UNION.
Sir George was not received with much warmth at Fort. Union by Major Culbertson, who was not favorably impressed with the reports he had heard of the nobleman. However, the factor agreed to have two flat-bottomed boats built for the hunter, who wished to descend the Missouri in them to St. Louis. The American Fur company also agreed to buy Sir George’s wagons and equipment at some stipulated price.
When the boats were finished, there was a misunderstanding as to the terms of the bargain, and the Irishman fancied that, because of his remoteness, the company was trying to take advantage of his necessities. He seems to have been mercurial, reckless and easily stirred to passion, and heedless, of the consequences, he would not accept the terms offered. He accordingly burned his wagons and all the Indian goods and the supplies not needed, in front of the fort, guarding the fire from whites and Indians who might have salvaged some of the articles. He even waited till the irons of the wagons and carts cooled, and then threw them into the river. His cattle and what horses: he had left he sold or gave away to vagabond hangers-on at the post.
BUTCHERY SUCCEEDS HUNTING.
There were, it is true, plenty of white men who hunted western game as did the Indian, for meat and trophies, but the final extinction of all wild game on the prairies was accomplished by the most cowardly and inhuman methods. The secret of tanning and dressing the buffalo hide has never been acquired by the white man, says Col. Sam Gordon of Miles City, who gives the following account of the commercial failure incident to the slaughter of the buffalo:
“A concern in Michigan had experimented with buffalo hide tanning and had succeeded in producing a robe that was fairly pliable. Buffalo coats and robes were in demand. An average Indian-tanned robe was worth in the states from $10 to $15. Agents were sent out to the frontier to employ good shots to kill buffalo, and, as a starter, they were paid $2 a hide on the prairie. The only limit to the kill in the beginning of the slaughter was the resistance offered by the buffalo’s thick hide and heavy skull. The heaviest caliber rifles then to be had were quite often found inadequate to the task of dealing certain death, but inventive genius came to the rescue and perfected an extra heavy Sharp’s rifle, against which nature’s armor was powerless to protect, and the doom of the bison was signed and sealed.
“By ‘this time the business had become systematized and the labors of the chase divided, so that the first-class hunter carried a half-dozen ‘skinners’, in his outfit and established a permanent camp somewhere in the vicinity of the ranging buffalo herds. “The hunter was, nine times out of ten, an improvident, unreliable ‘cuss’ whose only recommendation was his ability to shoot. Such men never had a cent to equip themselves with, but found no difficulty in getting ‘staked’ to a team, wagon and harness, gun and ammunition, camp outfit and grub for the party, an investment of from $800 to 1,000 in addition to which the principal agreed to pay the hunter the going price for the hides, piled where killed, to be gathered by him in the spring, and, as an additional evidence of the lunacy that afflicted otherwise intelligent business men at this time, they did not hesitate to make cash advances during the winter on this suppositious killings.
“In the spring it was generally found that the killing had been largely overstated; that the hides had been poorly handled and left to rot in pools of snow and water and those that were recovered and brought in, when shipped to eastern tanners, were in such bad condition that they rarely paid the freight from Miles City eastward, leaving the bulk of the original investment a permanent debt to experience.
“The winter of 1880-81 was the record breaker in buffalo killing, owing, no doubt, to the very deep snows of that winter, making it impossible for the herds to move. It was estimated that 250,000 were killed in Custer county, Montana, alone.”
It was not only the slaughter of the buffalo, as it affected their food supply that stirred the bitter hatred of the Indian for the white man. All plains tribes of Indians were deeply religious, and to them, aside from killing to supply their material needs, animal life was sacred. Their myth and legend are all rich in the lore of the wild animals, especially the beaver, the bear and the buffalo. Scarcely a religious rite was practiced by them in which the buffalo did not play some part. Among the Piegans, the virtue of the prospective mistress of the Sun lodge the medicine woman who was high priestess was tested by peeling a buffalo tongue. Also, the feast of consecrated meat, not unlike one of the Christian ceremonies, was composed of buffalo tongue, which were held sacred to the sun.
The Indians ultimate ideal, that spiritual Elysium of perpetual and eternal bliss, was a great sunlit country inhabited by the creatures who had shared the earth with them, chief among which was the buffalo. Their heaven was to be a replica of what the mountains and plains were before the coming of the white man a paradise where nature had developed her best in all things for her children who were native to it.
The Beloit Gazette
Beloit, Kansas Jan 17, 1923
COWBOY’S WEAPON THE RIFLE
Never had the Popularity of the “Gun” Which Was Universally Given the Pistol.
In describing the weapons of the cowboy of the Western range, Philip Ashton Rollins in his book says: The rifle, when carried, was conveyed, not by the cowboy himself, but by his horse, which bore it in a quiver-shaped open-mouthed scabbard, into which the rifle went up to its stock. This scabbard sometimes hung from the saddle born, but more commonly was slung butt forward, in an approximately horizontal position along the near side of the animal, and passed between the two leaves of the stirrup-leather. The rifle was thus eschewed, because, being heavy, it interfered with ready saddling and unsaddling: and being bulky, it materially detracted from the riders comfort.
After the early ‘70s the rifle, regardless of its make, was usually called a “Winchester,” though this particular term, because of its similarity to the name of a well known condiment, was occasionally paraphrased into “Worcestershire.” Failing these titles, the weapon was styled merely “rifle.” It. except in the case of the rifles specially designed for bison shooting and called “buffalo guns,” never was termed “gun,” that word, save for the single exception noted, being concentrated to the pistol.
“Scatter-guns,” otherwise shotguns, were occasionally produced by tender foots; but they, unless with “sawed off” barrels, loaded with nails or buck-shot, and in the hands of express messengers, served for the westerner only as objects of derision.
Missoula Montana Jan 21, 1923
Greeting for Governor Dixon
‘In 1909 there were approximately 1,100 head of bison left in the United States. Today the buffalo number over 400 head on the Flathead bison reserve.”
He told of the establishment of this reserve, saying that the Flathead Indians were traded out of 19,000 acres of land, the cost being $1.25 per acre. Dr. M. J. Elrod of the university surveyed the location, the governor said, and he was instrumental in getting an appropriation of $40,000 from the federal government to pay for the land and for fencing it in.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Jan 21, 1923
BUFFALOES IN U.S. GROW IN NUMBERS
3654 in Country Now as “Compared to 969 in 1903, Statistics Show
American Bison Society Responsible for Added Interest in Animals
The Indian and the bison, both aborigines in this land of ours, at one time were early in danger of becoming extinct at the hands of the white man. The American Government saved the Indian by setting aside land as Indian reserves that the red man might live.
Now comes a report, paralleling the saving of the American Indian from a possible total extinction, to the effect that the buffalo has been saved from similar fate, largely through the efforts of the American Bison Society, organized in 1003. The report of the society, which was issued by M. S. Garretson, secretary, following the annual meeting recently held in New York, states that the United States Government and private herds of buffalo are increasing each year arid are in a healthy condition.
Throughout the United States there are, including government and other herds, a total of 3654 buffaloes, where in 1903 there were only 969. Of this number, the current total of government herded buffalo, according to the latest statistics, is 1282. Including the bison in Canada, there is a total of 11,904 of these bovines in North America.
Nine Buffalo Preserves
The United States Government and private interests also have done much to save these wonderful creatures from extermination. The government now owns nine buffalo preserves, the largest herd, about 600 head, being in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The Montana bison range has about 400 head and is the second largest. This preserve was established by the American Bison Society, which placed 40 head there originally. A substantial increase for the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve in Oklahoma is reported. From 15 animals, this preserve has increased its stock to more than 200.
About twenty years ago, the buffalo was to be found in only
twenty-four States of the Union, whereas it is now roaming in about forty. Many cattle ranchers have become interested and own small buffalo herds. This has resulted in many of the bovines being crossed with domestic cattle, producing what is commonly known as the “catalo.” This name was invented by the celebrated ranger, the late Colonel Charles C. Jones, known from coast to coast as “Buffalo Jones,” and was obtained by taking the first three letters of “cattle” and. the final three letters of “buffalo.”
And so it is that the bison, for which we have named one of our important American cities, is in no danger of extinction.
The Montgomery Advertiser
Montgomery, Alabama Jan 24, 1923
RESTORING THE BUFFALO HERDS
Commenting upon the purpose of the American Bison Society to preserve the remaining herds, the Christian Science Monitor says :
Coupled with the protection of the Buffalo, or bison, is the movement to establish and stock preserves and feeding places for antelope in their natural habitat in the mountain states of the far West, as well as to assure the protection, by law, of other big game – species. The work already accomplished along these lines testifies to the consistent adherence to a high ideal. . It is no more than vaguely hoped, probably, that any material return will result from the undertaking. One purpose of those engaged in it is to restore, especially in the section known as the “Great Plains” country west of the Missouri river, a picturesque denizen which once counted his tribe by the millions, and the scattered remnants of whose herds were sentenced to extinction.
It is noteworthy that among those actively participating in the undertaking are many men and women whose homes are in the eastern sections of the United States, students of natural history and friends of the animals in whose behalf they have enlisted. And it is worthy of consideration that the efforts of the American Bison Society constitute but a part of a great reconstructive program along similar lines being forwarded in the American Union and in Canada. The beaver is being brought back to his former haunts in the Adirondacks and Catskills. In the south and in the north sanctuaries are being provided for migratory birds. In the homes and schools the young people are being taught to offer shelter and food to feathered and hairy visitors when winter makes their lot a precarious one. Kindness and consideration are being instilled by the efforts of those who realize the rights of all those dumb creatures which have too long been destroyed or neglected.
Those who are learning these lessons do not expect a profit, in dollars and cents, from the generosity and – protection which they extend anymore than the protectors of the American bison and antelope hope to be repaid by the growth of the herds. They will be abundantly rewarded by the satisfying realization of good deeds done willingly and graciously.
The public really wants to preserve its native species, but it relies upon leadership to show it the way. On the whole conservation legislation and administration have made creditable progress in recent years.
There isn’t much that the public as a whole can do about the buffalo, except to applaud those who are carrying on the work of consolidating herds and protecting them. But the public is gratified at the work of conservation, for it remembers the countless evenings of delight afforded it by that literature about the west which tells so many romantic tales in which buffaloes play a part.
The story of Buffalo Bill alone– it is the American buffalo classic, we think — is a memorial to the bison of the old west. But the story of Buffalo Bill is a reminder that we must take care to save the remainder of what once was an enormous herd.
The Cullman Tribune
Cullman, Alabama Jan 25, 1923
SAVING WILD LIFE
Lovers of woodland life will be heartened to learn that efforts for the conservation of the bison, or buffalo, as we more commonly say in America, have succeeded to the extent that there are three thousand more of the animals now than two decades ago. The fact is of chief significance as showing what can be accomplished by way of preventing the extinction of valuable or interesting species of wild life. If the states with the cooperation of their citizens will do half as much for the preservation of birds and game as the national government has done for the bison during these last twenty years, a stupid and shameful chapter of our history will be rewritten in happier terms. Atlanta Journal.
NEW BREED OF STOCK COUSIN TO THE BISON
(By Associated Press)
FORT WORTH, Feb. 5 The first cousin of the buffalo has appeared on the Texas range. He’ll be known to the livestock world as Vernier and he’s a second cross of the cattle and the buffalo something once considered impossible. The first Vernier seen at the Fort Worth Stockyards and the packing houses came from the ranch of J. B. Slaughter in Garza county. The buffalo bulls came from the famous Goodnight buffalo herd in the Panhandle, and the cattle from the Slaughter ranches. The first cross were the cattaloes which are more or less common in certain cattle raising districts The second cross have been termed “Vernier”. The is a new name in the history of breeding.
Minneapolis, Minnesota Mar 21, 1923
HUGE BUFFALO A PARK TERROR
Corp. Hope and I set out one morning from the patrol station In Yellowstone park, going after elk and buffalo pictures. Heading in the direction of Hayden valley, we encountered two buffalo cows and their calves crossing a half-bare opening, in the trees near the mud geyser.
We came upon the main herd farther down the valley. It was old Tuskegee, reputed to be the largest specimen of the bison Americanus in existence, whose picture I most cared for. The old fellow is estimated to weigh over 3,000 pounds, is covered with a net-work of scars from his life-time of fighting, and has only one eye and the remnant of a tail left. He has been seen to give battle to three pugnacious bull elk at once and has killed numbers of them in single combat.
March 29, 1923
A Western Father presents his twelve-year-old Son with a new Gun,
Oh, where is the game, daddy? Whore is the game
That you hunted when you were a boy?
You’ve told me a lot of the game that you shot;
No wonder such sport gave you joy.
I’m old enough now to handle a gun;
Let me be a sportsman, too.
I’d like my fair share of clean out-door fun,
And I want to shoot, just like you.
But where are the birds, daddy? Where are the birds?
I can’t put them up anywhere!
You had your good sport with the wild flocks and herds,
And surely you saved me my share.
And where is the big game that roamed around here
When grandfather came here with you?
I don’t see one antelope, bison or deer.
Didn’t grandfather save me a few?
Why don’t you speak up, dad, and show me some game?
Now, why do you look far away?
Your face is all red, with what looks like shame!
Is there nothing at all you can say?
What! “The game is all gone?” There is “no hunting now?”
No game birds to shoot or to see?
Then take back your gun; I’ll go .back to the plow;
But, oh! daddy, how could you rob me!
Fredericksburg, Texas June 2, 1923
The Why And Wherefore of The Buffalo
By P. J. Clifford in the Independent.
Next to the Indian, the thing that most interested me when I first went West was the buffalo, the great American bison. His swift disappearance from plains has kindled many sentimental notions, but his extinction as a free roving animal was quite inevitable as will be shown.
In days before the white left his heavy markings on country, the buffalo easily maintained their numbers, though occasionally reduced by severe winters. But men in the most bitter winters their immense numbers were protection, as the weaker ones could shelter themselves in midst of the herd, which formed a wall of living, warm fur about them.
The buffalo by nature is extremely wild and practically untamable; vicious in the extreme except when under a year old. Take the so-called “tame herd” of the Yellowstone Park the work of guarding and caring for them is classed as one of the most dangerous a man can be engaged in, riders as well as the horses frequently bearing scars from the vicious horns of some ugly old bull. There would be more accidents but for one trait which the buffalo has in common with the rattlesnake, in that he gives warning before strikes. When a buffalo is angry he starts wringing his diminutive tail.
In front view the buffalo appears as a magnificent animal with his massive head, beautiful curving horns and towering shoulders, but when you see it all taper off into the undersized hindquarters with that little insignificant tail, one feels though the Creator began a wonderful idea, but lost interest before finishing it.
In one trait the buffalo differs from practically all other animals, he faces the storm,__ it a winter blizzard or a summer breeze. There are two reasons for this habit, the primal one being the continual fighting of the bulls to settle leadership of a band of cows. This developed the head, neck and shoulders, Nature, therefore, placed on these parts more protection in the way of thick heavy wool, to withstand the shock of battle. It is natural, then, for this buffalo to present this armor to fierce blizzards of the plains. The second reason and perhaps the more vital is the prairie fire, the great scourge of the plains. The smoke of the fire can often be seen at long distances, or the first warning may come by a changing wind: by facing the wind, the herds become natural fire alarms.
The prairie fire is not like the scene shown in pictures. When it hits the hills it may go up swiftly, but it works down slowly, thereby retarding its flight. It does not roll across the land with great long flaming frontage, as so often shown in pictures. I have had a “head-fire,” as it is called, sweep by me twice; each time it has come in a huge wedge shape, the point a mass of flames with a rolling, strutting sort of movement; then perhaps along the side-fire there develops another “head-fire” that sweeps by at a higher rate of speed and throws the former head-fire into a side-fire. Occasionally, a gust wind may cut the fire off close to the ground, and then you will see a huge flaming ball of the fire sail into the air some hundred and fifty feet, truly a terrifying sight, and never to be forgotten.
This will show that it is possible to avoid a prairie fire if one keeps an eye peeled toward the wind, possessing a keen nose and mounted on any kind of a good saddle horse. If you detect the fire in time, ride a little toward it and to the right or left of the on-coming head-fire jumping your horse over the side-fire you will be perfectly safe. Of course, there are many “ifs” in this, such as a tremendous wind with heavy dry grass making the side-fire so large one cannot get through it with any degree of safety. At any rate, it is clear why the buffalo continuously has his nose and eyes out to the wind. When they see, the first wisp of smoke rise, over some distant butte, or sniff the pungent odor, away they go on their wild stampede toward the fire, but the right or left. This they had to do, or they would never ha\e reached their immense numbers. There have always been fires on the prairies, and I have never found any old-timers who have seen buffalo burned in the prairie-fire; but I myself have seen mules, horses, cattle and even coyotes burned reasons in them. one
In crossing the buffalo plains, of especially of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, one sees hundreds of acres of pox-marked land, nearly always on slopes, and generally near drinking places. These were the old dusting beds of the buffalo. Standing with hind legs spread apart, a shoulder flat on the ground; the buffalo rubs and rips into the sloping earth. Tiring of this he lies down and rolls but he never rolls over, the high arch of his shoulders preventing. Sometimes he varies this exercise with plunging at top speed into a cutbank, ripping and tearing with all his strength. This may be only a form of amusement, though it is more likely a subconscious habit for training his body to withstand the shock of future battles; the habit is indulged in mostly by the younger bulls.
The buffalo grazed many miles from water and followed the deeply worn trails which one can still find in places. They followed these trails to avoid walking on the slick buffalo grass, which tired them unduly and lamed their feet. Old Texas cowpunchers tell of the troubles they have had, driving cattle over the buffalo grass; the beast would become so lame that they could scarcely be forced along.
This grass has a bad effect even on a motor car. I have driven one over it for long distances, with only a compass to guide me, and always had to have extra water with us, as the auto would overheat. Once we dropped into a buffalo trail, breaking our rear axle, and there we were 40 miles from nowhere, with mighty little drinking water, as that in the radiator was heavy with alkali. We walked the rest of the day and all night and the soles of our shoes became so smooth and slippery that skates and skis were as sandpaper in comparison. Our feet incessantly slipped the wrong way. We tried sliding down some of the slopes backward but it did not help much. Then we cut creases across the soles of our shoes, which helped a little. We saw a band of antelope, who gazed curiously at us then circled round to the right out of sight. A coyote would come occasionally into view, sit down on some bluff and gaze complacently at us, seeming to know we had no firearms.
The great plains Indians took their steady toll of the buffalo the year around, the vast herds being practically their only support, while many Indian tribes came from the valleys beyond the Rockies to “buffalo” as they called it. The red man when he had the chance, preferred to stampede the herd over some handy cutbank, figuring on a certain number injuring themselves, thus making capture easy, Failing in this he took the slower and somewhat more dangerous way of riding his pony up beside some galloping bison and driving the arrow, or spear, in just forward of the high heavy hip bones, this being the easiest and surest way of reaching a vital spot.
The making of the “buffalo robe,” once so common, is an interesting process. The squaws split the hide with stone knives, pressed it with skinning stones, after which they cut holes around the edge, pegging it to the ground, where they hacked and mauled at it with the small dull-edged stone axes, till it was beaten to a suitable thickness. It was then soaked with urine from the camp, which tans the hide. Later on, it was softened with the brains of the buffalo, tediously worked in, till the whole hide became soft as a woolen blanket.
One of my most prized trophies is a buffalo robe, a tremendously big thing. The flesh side is painted – nine Indian warriors, mounted on their ponies all done in the usual stiff Indian way, and, of course, in colors of red, blue, green and yellow. The loops are still in the edges of it where it was pegged down for tanning, and it is sewed with sinew showing it was made before the squaws were able to obtain the much-prized thread of the trader.
Robes were usually made of young cows, because the older ones, especially the bulls, often rubbed off large patches of wool, making the hid unfit for anything but moccasins, travois slings and the like. The pictures that were painted on the robes sometimes represented some incident in the owner’s life, or perhaps a crude history.
After the coming of the white man, robes were made up for trading purposes. For an extra fine robe, the Indian might get a cheap buffalo gun – a carbine type rifle, single shot, rimfire, large caliber and of short range. There was probably a definite plan of the government in supplying the Indians with this type of firearm against the higher powered rifle of the soldiers and white hunter.
Buffalo flesh was usually jerked over a buffalo chip fires, then stored away for future use. I might say here that the buffalo chip was nothing more nor less than the sun-dried manure of the buffalo. And this fuel was certainly a godsend to the early traveler and settler. Without it, he would often have lacked fuel.
So different from the white man, the Indian used all the carcass but the bones; even the lowly entrails would be stripped of their contents, a piece wrapped around the end of a green stick and held in the fire till piping hot, when the smacking lips and much “ Ah-hah-ing” the red man would swallow it down like a cove oyster – HiU kloshe muck-a-muck.
The buffalo’s most constant enemy was the large gray wolf, sometimes called the loafer wolf, the lobo wolf, the name depending on the territory. Hanging around the outskirts of the herd he watched for animals crippled in combat, or a patriarch whose days were numbered, or a cow about to calve; he jumped in, dodged the wicked horns, quickly hamstrung his victim and after eating his fill (sometimes done before the animal was dead) he left the remainder to the coyote which modestly, perhaps wisely, waited for second table.
When winter snows lay deep and the cold had long since weeded out the weaker ones of the herd, the wolf pack became bold with hunger and made savage attacks on the calves. When too closely pressed the cows formed into a circle. With the sharp bristling horns on the outside, they formed endless defense that the wolf found exceedingly difficult to break through. If a cow was wearied by the vigil, she retired to the inside of the circle where were the calves, and some of the cows, one of which took up her place in line. In this way, they held off their gray enemies till their bellowing attracted the rest of the herd. The large circles trampled into the ground by these fights made be seen to this day.
American buffaloes were divided roughly into two vast herds, the northern and the southern when seeking their wintering grounds. The southern herd wintered n the vicinity of Missouri, feeding north in the spring as far as the Dakotas and Montana, and returning when winter gave warning of its approach. The northern herd wintered in Southern Alberta, Canada. There they found the chinook winds which in Southern Alberta are warm and dry. The effect of the chinook is magical. When the prairies were held in the icy grip of winter, covered with two feet of snow, oftimes with a heavy crust on it, and hungry animals could not paw their way to the rich bunch grass below, suddenly from the dark blue horizon of the west would come the magical chinook wind. In 15 minutes the mercury would rise from 15 to 20 below to 50 above, the sow disappeared in a short time, the deepest snow melting in a few hours. The air was as in the spring, with this difference there would be very little water running, it being absorbed by the warm dry air as by a sponge.
A change, no less magical, was seen upon the buffalo. The calves with lifted tails frisked about like lambs on a summer evening. This is the reason why the great herds of buffalo wintered so far north, traveling from Montana and Saskatchewan and Manitoba to Alberta and the Chinook.
A BISON HUNT LIKE THE DAYS OF BUFFALO BILL!
San Francisco Chronicle Nov 18, 1923
Canadian Hunters Will Slay Two Thousand Big Bulls at Their Round-Up in December
WORLD OF SPORTSMEN MAKE EAGER PLEA TO BE ALLOWED SHOT AT POWERFUL ANIMALS
Because an Indian had a quarrel with his father-in-law, the dominion of Canada became the owner of the greatest herd of buffalo in the world, and American citizens will have an opportunity of ordering Buffalo steaks in the best restaurants and hotels this winter.
The herd living under conditions almost identical with those which prevailed in the early days on the plains, have multiplied so rapidly, especially the bulls, that the dominion has been forced to dispose of some 2000 or 2500 of them. The Wainwright Buffalo Park at Wainwright, Alberta, contains 160 square miles, all fenced in and here resides 1500 Buffalo. These figures well convey an idea of the vast number that made black the territory between the Mississippi and the Rocky mountains less than 100 years ago.
Within the memory of man now living buffalo were slaughtered for hides alone. Many are that picturesque figures of the early days on the plains that have had for backgrounds vast herds of the shaggy coated creatures. Buffalo Bill won his name because of his skill in shooting them, and members of European ruling houses have been entertained by buffalo hunts. But man and the elements played and havoc with the herds. The white man was not the only offender, for the Indian looked upon the buffalo as a sort of inexhaustible perambulating larder, and killed, with no thought of the day when his chief source of food would be gone. The fates play strange tricks in the destinies of men and nations, and though it may seem paradoxical, the red man, who played as inglorious a role as the white man in the virtual extinction of the buffalo, was unwittingly the original cause of its preservation.
ONLY 1000 LEFT THIRTY YEARS AGO
For more than a half a century red man and white carried on such wanton warfare against the Buffalo that Dr. W. T. Hornaday, the distinguished American zoologist, is authority for the statement that in 1889 the total number of buffalo running wild and I’m protected in the United States and Canada was less than 1000. This contrast vividly with the writings of David Thomson, who, in 1901, said “the prairies are actually covered with buffalo,” and again in 1914, when he tells us, “the ground was covered with buffalo at every point of the compass, so far as the eye could see.”
Their are very numbers invited destruction, commencing with the slaughter by the Indians for food and for the display of their powers as hunters- the successful Buffalo Hunter ranked high as the consistent slayer.
The fate of the majestic animals was sealed with the building of the first Canadian Transcontinental Railway in 1865. The construction of this line divided the herd into two bodies. The one spread north into Alberta, the other South into Saskatchewan and Alberta, there to be slaughtered by the plains Crees. Persecuted by the Crees, the southern herd fled further south over the boundary into the United States, where similar fate befell them at the hands of the white man. Settlers, wolves, Indians and winter storms took dreadful toll of the northern herd and by 1889 it to had disappeared. That, very briefly, is the sad story of the buffalo.
But fate, which had dealt so cruelly with these great animals had decided to preserve them to prosperity. Into the settling in 1873 there came Walking Coyote, a Pend d’ Oreille Indian, who was wintering with a squaw and son-in-law among the Piegans Indians on Milk river, where the town of Buffalo, Mont. Now stands.
INDIANS QUARREL OVER HORSE TRADE
Over a horse deal, Walking Coyote and his son-in-law quarreled and parted. The sun fled north to Saskatchewan and their pined for the company of his tribe. One day, taking part in a buffalo hunt, he separated two calves-a bull and a cow-from their mothers, and with them in tow, as hostage of peace, he returned, a red prodigal son, bringing his “fatted calf” with him to the fold. Old Walking Coyote accepted them and the son-in-law, and the first link in the regeneration of the buffalo herds had been forged. Walking Coyote took the calves to St. Ignatius Mission on the Flathead Reservation, and there they thrived.
The increase was slow, but in 1884 Walking Coyote had a herd of thirteen animals. These becoming too great a tax on his resources and _______, he sold them to A. C. Allard, who, with Michael Pablo, owned a ranch nearby. Pablo was shrewd Mexican halfbreed, and with greater wisdom than most men possess, he had foreseen the day when the buffalo would be worth much money.
OWNED NUCLEUS OF GREAT CANADIAN HERD
It was at his suggestion that Allard completed the bargain and became the owner of the nucleus of the great herd of 3500 buffalo to be found in Wainwright Buffalo Park, Alberta, Canada today.
The animals were let loose on the ranch and they realm the herd as in the primitive days of their existence. In 1903 they were augmented by the purchase of the remnants of the herd owned by Buffalo Jones of Omaha. This purchase totaled forty four animals of which twenty-six were thoroughbreds and eighteen hybrids. The latter were segregated and not allowed to meet goal with the purebred herds, and both herds showed an encouraging annual increase.
Allard died (1896) and most of the herd past into the possession of Pablo. In 1907, this shrewd man foresaw another change. The invasion of settlers, of sheep ranches, the springing up of villages and towns, warned him that not for much longer could the ranches be maintained unfenced and un-protested.
PABLO DECIDES TO SELL BISON
He decided to sell his buffalo. He looked about for a buyer. He tried that government of the United States, but his price did not meet with approval. He tried Canada, and Canada contracted for 1000 animals at $250 per head. Altogether, Pablo was able to deliver 114.
The rounding up of these animals is a story in itself. Pablo had never given his herd particular attention and they roamed wild in the Hills. It was known, therefore, that the task of rounding them up would be difficult, but how difficult few really understood.
In the early summer of 1907 Pablo collected a posse of the fastest horses and the best riders in Montana. The dangers were many, for a buffalo can out run a swift horse, and when cornered he will turn and fight to the death. Time after time a hand was on the verge of being impounded, on the threshold of the corral, when a wild revolt of the leaders would plunge the whole herd into a panic, permitting their escape to the four corners of the range.
TRAPPING HERD DANGEROUS SPORT
During the first year 411 were captured and shipped. One shipment of 111 was made in the spring and the remainder in the fall. These animals were, for the most part, driven into the corral’s by means of a specially constructed guiding fence, which was twenty-six miles long. The following autumn another attempt was made to secure more Buffalo. After six weeks arduous riding, the herders succeeded in rounding up about 200 of the animals, and held them in readiness for driving to the loading corrals. In the night the whole herd escaped by climbing and almost perpendicular cliff and breaking away to the mountains.
The following summer the riders were more successful and another shipment was made. By constructing cages were in animals were transported to the railway, the buffalo were finally dispatched to their home in Canada. Eight of the animals in the shipment destroyed themselves in their frantic efforts to escape.
TOO MANY BULL FOR SIZE OF HERD
The Park at Wainwright becoming annually increasingly popular as a stopover point for tourist, contains 140 square miles of fenced-in prairie lands. It is estimated about 125 miles east of Edmonton, the capital city of the Province of Alberta. Here the Buffalo have found an agreeable environment and have propagated rapidly. At approximately half the herd of 3500 are bulls, and it seems to be the rule of the herd to allow one bull to have two mates, there is a surplus of bulls. The rapidity with which the herd has grown has created a problem in forage, and to solve it the Canadian government has decided to kill off 2000 bulls. The slaughter will take place in December, and will be under government supervision.
BIG HOTEL COMPETES FOR SHARE OF DELICACY
In the marketing of the meat, which is said to be even finer than the best beef, the government will have the controlling hand. Already orders have been placed by hotels and restaurants in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago and other large American cities. Altogether 1,000,000 pounds of fresh Buffalo meat will be placed on the market.
The hides, to, will be sold. Before that advent of the automobile, they were in great demand for robes, and added trial sale at the Montréal for market two years ago these hide sold for $320 each. If the price offered is not satisfactory, they will be disposed of to woolen manufacturers, for the wool of the buffalo can be woven into yarn of extraordinary strength’
SOUVENIR HUNTERS BID FOR HEADS
The demand by souvenir hunters for the heads of the animals is already very large. A substantial source of income will be thus created, for the last year the lowest price offered for Buffalo heads was $300. This was for a small head. A medium-sized had brought $610, and a large head $1035. The money realized will be devoted to the upkeep and expansion of the park and it is confidently expected that within a few years the great buffalo herd of Canada will be steady paying borders.
Galena Evening Times
Galena Kansas Dec 15, 1923
The movies record history in the making. . . . When the Canadian government staged a round-up of 8,000 buffalos in the Alberta National Park, Tom Ince was there to put the whole scene on celluloid. . . . This will be, probably, the largest herd of the almost-extinct bison that the eye of man shall ever see. . . . The stampede round-up was held to slaughter 2,000 excess bulls. . , . The motion pictures will be part of a new feature, “The Last Frontier” . . . which will not be complete until Spring. . . .
Butte Montana Dec 16, 1923
“Old Sitting Bull” from the Flathead reservation, has been taken off the reservation and the whole 1,185 pounds of him will be held at the Sylvester market within a few days. The animal on exhibit in the window of the Sylvester Mercantile company was one of a number recently killed by members of the United States biological survey on the reservation on the Flathead country, where the herd kept by the government is reported to have increased to such numbers that the feed on the range is threatened. His carcass will parcel out across the block starting tomorrow.
The Bremen Enquirer
Bremen, Indiana Dec 27, 1923
Buffalo Again To Live Where First Discovered
The recent gift of three buffalo to the Government of Mexico recalls the discovery and early history of these big game animals. The gift will be sent from the herd maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture on the Wichita Game Preserve, Oklahoma, to the zoological park in the City of Mexico, almost on the very spot where the buffalo was first discovered by Europeans.
The Biological Survey points out that 400 years ago, when Cortez entered Montezuma’s capital, on the present site of the City of Mexico, white men had their first view of buffalo, a herd of which was maintained in the menagerie of the emperor. This was in 1521 when buffalo roamed in millions over the tablelands of northern. Mexico and the Great Plains of the present western United States.
An early writer, Antonio de Solis, who first described Montezuma’s menagerie, declared that the greatest rarity in the collection was the “Mexican bull,” which had crooked shoulders, a bunch on its back like the camel, and its neck covered with hair like the lion. It was in these terms that he characterized the American buffalo or bison. As a manifestation of good-will toward our southern neighbor, a gift of three buffalo was tendered the Mexican Government by the United States Department of Agriculture and the New York Zoological Society. Details of shipment are being arranged between Dr. W. T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park, and Prof. A. L. Herrera, in charge of the zoological work of the Mexican Government.
The Billings Weekly Gazette
Billings Montana Dec 31, 1923
BUFFALO HUNT IS NOT FILMED
Col. Cleaves Brings Down Monarch of the Plains.
Thermopolis, Wyo., Dec. 26. (Special) A thriller was lost to the movie world when Lasky failed to have an outfit on hand to film the last great buffalo hunt of the west at the Thornton ranch on Owl Creek.
Harry Vail had bought a big bull from the Thornton herd for a Casper butcher for a Christmas treat to the people of the effete oil city from the wilds of the hinterland beyond Thermopolis. How to get the lord of the plains was a puzzling problem until Col. Sham Cleaves. Buffalo Shamm, the noted scout, and plainsman who recently achieved fame by trailing a bottle capping machine to its lair was drafted for the job. With him on the hunt were Harry Vail, Cliff Wilson, and Hank Tullis. Hank had volunteered to climax the wild west stunt by riding the beast but after seeing how peeved it looked he concluded to wait until after it was killed to turn the trick.
Arriving at the hunting grounds they found that the children had been playing with the buffalo and left it in the corral. With the caution born of long experience in the western wilds but without the slightest show of fear, Col. Cleaves approached the fence and at the distance of 14 feet leveled his trusty gun and squinted his unerring eye through the peep-sights, with a marvelous shot that would make Buffalo Bill turn over in his grave with envy, the great beast fell to the ground and time stopped for the big bull that had ruled the herd of the plains.
The rest was easy. Harry and Cliff, who had been standing by holding their skinning knives in their teeth, rushed in and converted the dead bison into a half ton of beef that sold for jewelry prices. Thus ends the story of the last great buffalo hunt the west will ever see.