1933

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Arizona Westerners Should Know Jan 1, 1933
By OREN ARNOLD and MABEL EARP CASON
1933 Bison Drawing

Here is a drawing of the traditional “buffalo” familiar to all Americans, and yet there never was a buffalo in America, except possibly in a zoo! The noble creature which occupies so prominent a part in our history, which is written indelibly with the conquest of the West, was in fact, a bison, characterized by the shoulder hump. True buffaloes are found only on other continents and do not have humps. But nobody, now, ever hopes to correct the national error!

One day less than a century ago, an observer stood on a western hilltop, affording him a view for more than 15 miles in each direction. As far as he could see, north, south, east and west, the earth was one solid rolling mass of bison, the greatest herd ever reported, estimated to contain 8,000,000 animals. Today not one wild bison is left. Only a few exist, protected in zoos and private or government reserves, so shameful has been the greed of American “sportsmen.”

A bison bull will grow eleven feet long, and almost 6 feet high at the shoulders. Females are smaller. They are densely haired, shaggy in front, gray-brown of color. They are indiscriminately polygamous, like cattle. They mate in the fall, calves are born in the spring, grow rapidly and are jealously guarded by mothers. They can swim rivers a mile or more wide.

 

 

The Danville Morning News
Danville Pennsylvania Feb 6, 1933

Buffalo Herds in East in Eighteenth Century

The American bison or buffalo was at one time nearly as abundant east of the Mississippi as on the western plains.

Remains of bison have been found in southern Michigan, more adapted to their grazing habits than the pine-covered areas of the north, and in Wisconsin. In the latter state a pair of these animals, killed by Sioux in 1832, are believed to have been the last of the species east of the great river.

In the early history of New York, bison made so many trails to the salt springs about Onondaga that settlers used them for roads. The city of Buffalo was named after them, likewise several towns and a mountain in Pennsylvania. The last Pennsylvania bison was killed in 1700 near Lewisburg.

Early in the Eighteenth century, according to writings of Jesuits and explorers, bison were plentiful along the Sandusky river and in the territory south of Lake Erie. In 1718 they were reported as abundant near Defiance, Ohio. In the latter part of the century, however, when permanent settlements were being made, they had dwindled to a handful.

A few of these animals were found in Indiana as late as 1810. The Indiana geological survey, as quoted by Edwin Lincoln Moseley in “Our Wild Animals,” tells” of a migration from the prairies of the West across the state to salt licks and bluegrass meadows of Kentucky. Buffalo were seen near Vincennes in 1808.

Had the bison been more intelligent and better able to cope with the settlers, they might have survived the Middle West. They were very slow in comprehending danger, and often witnessed the slaughter of their companions with wonder curiosity. While they were extinct this side of the Mississippi, herds 25 miles across were being hunted in the West. – Detroit News

 

The Post-Crescent
Appleton, Wisconsin Mar 15, 1933

THE BISON – LONG MAY HE LIVE

Twenty years ago the American bison had all but disappeared from the western plains. Men familiar with the situation estimated that the entire country contained hardly more than a thousand of the animals.

Today the bison has so increased in numbers that during the past year more than 1,400 of them were killed on United States and Canadian reservations, the income from hides and meat being used, to defray the expenses of caring for the existing herds.

In this field, the conservationists have scored a great success. The bison has adapted himself to civilization so well that, as a leading conservationist remarks, the big problem now is to find enough food and space for him.

And while most of us will live out our lives without so much as seeing a bison, except perhaps in a zoo, this achievement is a thing in which we can all rejoice. It means that one; of the most fundamental features of the old-time west is being preserved. An animal that shaped the primitive civilization of half a continent is not to be allowed to die.

When the first white man got west of the Mississippi, they found practically all of the Indian tribes existing on a social organization which had been built up around the bison.

Those were the days when the “buffalo” herds were of simply incredible size. Millions upon millions of the shaggy animals roamed across the western plains. They were literally beyond counting. The earth shook with the thunder of their feet.

To the plains Indians, these herds were the very staff of life. They provided the Indians with most of their food, their fuel, and their clothing. Their migrations governed the movements of the tribes; their numbers determined the tribes’ prosperity. What finally beat the Indians was not so much the guns of the white invaders as the fact that the bison were almost exterminated. The main prop of Indian society was knocked out and the end was inevitable.

And it is good, now, to learn that the bison is not going to disappear entirely. That clumsy-looking, heavy-headed animal is an integral figure of our great west.

 

 

 March 1933

Missoula Man May Be Holder Of Modern Record As Killer Of Most Elk And Buffalo

Henry J, Helgeson, Missoula butcher, most likely holds the modern Record for elk and bison kills.

During the last seven years, he has killed 252 head of elk and 788 bison.  The animals were takenHenry J Helgson from the National Bison range and Yellowstone park.

Every one of the animals killed, was slaughtered under the guidance of the Biological Survey officials. The initial bison was killed in 1925 at the Range in 18-degree below zero weather condition. Mr. Helgeson remembers one of the bulls dressed out at 1,500 pounds and that it took three to place it onto a truck.

In 1927 the animals were killed on the open range. That year was a narrow escape for Mr. Helgeson. One of the bison was shot and then ran over him and escaped. It wasn’t until the next day he was rounded up.   He has been attacked by bison on the Bison Range and Yellowstone.

The slaughter of the animals on the open range was not found practical, however, and a slaughterhouse was established at Moiese. The herds are rounded up into corrals and officials of the Biological Survey pick out the animals which are to be killed.

Slaughtering animals our in the open was not practical and there was a slaughterhouse built at Moiese. The animals are rounded up into corrals and a team from the Biological Survey hand pick animals that are to be killed.

Culling happens to keep the herds down in numbers to protect the grazing supply and the older animals or less desirable are the ones chosen.

He wondered how the Indians could harvest a bison on the range using bows and arrows.

Bison or buffalo can hardly be animals. He recalled that in 1930 a big bison bull was still calmly eating hay after being shot in the head four times with bullets. There was a bull out on the reserve at Moiese that charged through a salt trough, it was being used at the time for a place to keep the dynamite. The people close by ran in every direction,  however, none of the caps exploded.

The bison range was established years ago to house and breed some of that last remaining species which were almost completely decimated.

It started with a few bison and now number several hundred on thousand of fenced acreage between Ravalli, Dixon, and St. Ignatius. They are allowed to gain numbers until it becomes too much for the range grasslands and then the size of the herd is reduced, as with the elk herd. 

Warden N. J. Norton stays in close contact with the Biological Survey for the condition of the animals on the range. While his deputies ride the range keeping the animals in the reserve.

 

The Lincoln Star
Lincoln Nebraska Apr 16, 1933

Too Many Buffaloes

Roy Buckingham
Along with the wheat, cotton and corn surpluses, Uncle Sam has too many buffaloes.

The ‘ kings of the prairie” which once interfered with building the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe Railroads and for whose hides a new industry developed on the Western fringe of civilization or the high plains have increased so rapidly the Government .is killing them to provide food for hungry Indians and unemployed.

If the United States Government could solve other surpluses as it does too much bison, there would be happier moments in Washington. It is a simple matter. When the buffalo herd in one of the national parks outgrows the forage area an order goes out to reduce the surplus. Buffalo hunters are invited in. The animals for which a death warrant has been written are “cut out” from the herd. The surplus is reduced in two or three days’ shooting, the hides retained and the carcass cut up for distribution to Indians or cities near the reservations.

The bison in the national parks have increased because of the Government protection. Excellent ranges are provided. You might as well shoot a ranger as a buffalo. They are the pride of the parks, and a buffalo herd is the center of attraction.

The buffalo is the symbol of the high X plains country and it probably is news to many that he hasn’t gone the way of the prairie schooner and the six-gun enforcer of law and order. In the early days the buffalo herds which moved from Texas to the feeding grounds in Kansas and Oklahoma caused the organization of the first liars’ club. In frontier towns, a plainsman who hadn’t seen a million buffalo feeding at one time was a tenderfoot. The prairie animals were plentiful and their slaughter provoked much of the Indian trouble in the Southwest.

The Indians followed the buffalo drives. Before the colonizer turned up the sod, the high plains country from Nebraska to Texas was the Indians’ hunting ground. These bison were his chief source of meat. In spite of the heavy kills made every season by the meat-hungry Indians, the herds increased until they became an obstacle in building railroads across Kansas. As late as 1872, when the Santa Fe was completed to Dodge City, the trains frequently stopped to permit buffalo herds to cross the tracks.

When the railroads were built into the buffalo country, the long rifles had their inning. Before that, a trip to the buffalo country was too arduous except for the more adventurous. There always had been buffalo-hunting around Fort Dodge. The first soldiers sent to the post found buffalo hunting a popular outdoor sport. But with the railroad, this sport turned to business. Buffalo hides provided a new source of income and was the most exciting business next to war the young blades could find.

The Indians at first did not resent the occasional white man who turned up on the prairie with a needle gun. His kill did not reduce the herds. But when the buffalo-skinners came by the trainload and hunted by company the Indians learned their hunting grounds soon would go. And they did. Thousands of buffaloes were slaughtered for the hides. The carcasses were left to the elements.

L. C. Fouquet says on his first hunt in the Southwest he counted sixty-three herds which averaged more than 2000 buffaloes. The prairie was covered by the animals. William Mathewson, who was the original Buffalo Bill and a founder of Wichita. Kan., became famous throughout the Southwest because of his accurate aim on buffalo hunts. He was given his sobriquet after slaughtering several hundred buffaloes to provide food for a stranded trail train in Western Kansas.

When buffalo-hunting was the genteel sport on the Western prairies, sportsmen from the East organized safaris and learned there was more to shooting buffalo than loading a gun. The style in those days was a buffalo chase. That was something to write home about. Old-timers recall the experience of John London. Macon City, Mo., editor, who had come West with Superintendent Nettleton, of the Santa Fe. This was a buffalo hunt deluxe.

When the party reached Dodge City, the commandant at Fort Dodge had horses, saddles, bridles and other accessories of the hunt in readiness. The hunters in the superintendent’s car, army horses on a sidecar and timbers for an unloading chute on another, the expedition started. The construction men built the chute, the buffalo hunters and their mounts detrained. Buffalo could be seen in every direction.

The editor from Missouri believed he knew the wiles of the buffalo. He cut out an immense old bison. He was a fair horseman and his mount had been on other hunts, but the editor had forgotten that a buffalo bull has the habit of other bulls—he’ll fight. This bison turned on the editor. Off he jumped and faced the charging bull with a six-shooter. The editor insisted he shot the animal, but a soldier with a needle gun had spotted the predicament of the visitor and clipped the buffalo before it reached the editor.

The buffalo slaughter is a black chapter in the history of the taming of the West. It was not sport, because the buffalo had little chance to escape. With large-caliber guns, a buffalo-hunting party made a good profit in a hunting season. Hides sold for $1.73 to $2 50. The frontier stores were in the fur business and sold these hides for 50 percent more to Eastern dealers. The only business early day Dodge City had was the hide traffic. Millions of hides were handled by the Santa Fe in its first year in Western Kansas. Immense shipments of buffalo robes went to Russia, where they were used for garments for Russian soldiers. These heavy fur overcoats were sold to Russia for fabulous profits.

When the Santa Fe was built west from Dodge City to Lakin, a “Y” was built so the train could be turned to permit the heavier end to be first. Otherwise, the masses of buffalo would have pushed the empty cars off the track.

In less than ten years the buffaloes were exterminated so far as Kansas was concerned. The buffalo bone industry continued good for several years, but eventually, the prairies were picked bare of this relic of ruthless killing.

The stories of buffalo slaughter had their influence. The animal that once had been an obstacle to the Western course of empire became a curiosity. He was a popular exhibit of any zoo. In 1902 the Yellowstone Park herd was started with twenty-one animals, eighteen females from the Pablo-Allard herd in Northern Montana and three bulls from the famous Goodnight herd near Amarillo, Tex. These have increased to the point that a thousand is the average size because of the limited forage.

In 1929 the herd numbered 955 animals. One hundred were slaughtered and the meat sold. Each succeeding fall more buffaloes have been slaughtered. Last fall 199 was butchered and the meat was distributed to Indian agencies, the American Red Cross and other charitable institutions. Almost 90.000 pounds of buffalo meat was sent to the needy in Wyoming and Montana.

The American Bison Society, which was organized twenty-six years ago to prevent extinction of the animal, estimates that 1400 surplus bison were killed last year on American and Canadian reservations.

Canada has more buffaloes than the United States because of larger ranges. The last Canadian census shows 6300 buffaloes, and the butcher last year accounted for 1300.

The society, which sought to preserve the memory of the buffalo, not the animal itself, is now faced with the problem of finding room for the buffaloes. At the time, there were not 1400 buffaloes on the continent, and the game conservationists believed the society would perpetuate his place, at least, in the history of the West.

Ranger service, plenty of food and careful inspections of the herds in the national parks account for the buffalo problem. The buffaloes are looked after by experienced keepers. At Yellowstone, when there is a question as to buffalo, Joseph Douglas, chief buffalo keeper, is called. He has served thirty years looking after Uncle Sam’s buffaloes and is versed in their habits and temperament. At the annual -round-up and butcher, Douglas presides.

This is done in the Lamar Valley Ranch in the Yellowstone and attracts a crowd. The animals are cut out by riders in the same fashion as steers are cut out of the cattle herds. Expert horsemen, these buffalo-boys ride out the animals to be butchered or fattened. Last year’s round-up started November 19 and concluded early in December. The butchering required eleven days. The 199 buffaloes were transformed into roasts and steaks and distributed as follows: Blackfeet Indian Agency. Tongue River Agency, Fort Belknap Agency, Rocky Boy Agency, Fort Peck Agency, all in Montana: Shoshone Agency in Wyoming, Montana State Home for the Aged. Billings: Wyoming Unemployment Relief, Butte, Mont.: American Red Cross. Crow Agency and the Unemployment Relief at Livingston, Mont.

The buffalo surplus means accessions to many zoos. The park service expects a buffalo surplus every year, and cities may obtain one or two buffaloes for exhibition purposes. If the demand from cities is not large enough to absorb the surplus, the animals can be added to the food supply.

Brick Bond, a Dodge City resident, was considered the champion buffalo killer. His record was 1500 buffaloes slain in seven days and the big days’ record was 250. The buffalo hunter had more to do than shoot buffaloes. There was always was danger of hostile Indians. They frequently attacked buffalo hunters. One of the famous stories of the Southwest grew out of a buffalo hunt at Adobe Walls, in Texas. Twelve or fourteen hunters stood off 500 Indians two days. A buffalo hunter of the old school carried a young arsenal, several skinners and plenty of horses. Lookouts were maintained at all times.

George Reighard, also a Dodge City resident, hunted all over the Southwestern plains fifty to sixty years ago and expressed surprise when he learned that once more buffaloes are being killed for food.

“The way they used to kill them off for their hides more than a half-century ago,” said Reighard. “would lead one to believe that the animals never could revive from the wanton extermination.’

The apprentice buffalo hunter was a skinner. His job was to slick off the hides after the animal had been dropped. This was not exactly a white- collar job, but the skinners were well paid, and for the young fry who flocked West when the thrilling stories of big- game hunts reached the East, It was a way to work up. Brick Bond usually employed fifteen skinners.

The usual style for hunting buffalo was horseback. The hunter would cut out the animal he desired, ride alongside until close enough for a shot in a vital point and then it was all over for the buffalo. Six-shooters were popular for close-range work, but when the needle guns came in, the annihilation became easier.

The hunters with long-range rifles would stalk the herd. While the animals grazed unmindful of their doom, the best marksman in the group would single out the leader. Too far away for the animals to scent him, the hunter would drop the leader with his rifle. The bewildered buffaloes then were easy targets for the hunters and often entire herds were slaughtered.

The growth of buffalo herds has revived the buffalo hunt in modified form. In Colorado last December a select list of hunters was permitted to shoot buffalo for food for the needy. A short time ago in Arizona’s annual buffalo hunt to reduce the herd a woman took part. Mrs. Cecil Hough, of Phoenix, was the first to kill her buffalo. Each hunter was allotted one buffalo. After a three- day chase through the snow ten buffaloes were killed. The hunt was directed by the State Game Department.

But the old-timers scoff at the modern buffalo-reducing hunts. They say there is no danger, either from the buffalo or the Indian. But no matter, Uncle Sam, is protecting buffaloes, has saved the animals which brought the first commerce to the prairies and has perpetuated a sport, to a certain degree at least, which packs plenty of thrills even in these stratosphere, cosmic-ray days.

 

The Guardian
London Greater London England June 9, 1933

Bison at Whipsnade

 (From our Zoological Correspondent.) In the London Zoo and at “Whipsnade one may see a widely representative collection of animals of the family known to science as Bovida, a term embracing oxen, sheep, goats, and antelopes. The wild ox of Europe, believed to survive in the Chartley and Chillingham herds, used to be known by the name Aurochs, and the same name has long been and still is commonly applied to the largest of existing Bovidae the European bison, which is difficult to distinguish scientifically from its near relative, the North American bison. Both types are in danger of extermination. At Whipsnade, the American variety only is exhibited, though it is hoped that arrangements may be made before long to show specimens of European bisons’ also in the park.

1933 Bison at Whipsnade
Bison at Whipsnade. Wednesday: Zoological contrasts.

The American bisons have been saved from present extinction by the special protection now given to the survivors of the countless herds that once roamed over the American prairies. – It was calculated that between the years 1870 and 1875 two and a half million of them were slaughtered annually, and not long ago, the survivors were estimated at no more than about one thousand head. They are said, however, to have increased considerably in numbers in recent years. The extinction of the species would be a tragedy. There is no other member of the ox tribe quite so formidable in appearance as the bison, with his great, broad, convex forehead, his length of limb, the distinctive hump of muscle on his shoulders designed to support his massive head, and his shaggy, curly mane, and the fact that he has fourteen pairs of ribs, while the common oxen have only thirteen, though not obvious to the eye, gives him a peculiar anatomical interest.

Of all the ox tribe the yaks are the most nearly allied to the bisons. Their most characteristic features are their long shaggy coats, their bushy tails, more like those of the horses than of the oxen, and the formidable horns of the bulls. They are well represented at the Zoo and at Whipsnade, but it is doubtful whether the specimens exhibited are of the pure breed of Tibet. The true wild yak, which is pure black and stands nearly six feet high at the shoulder, is said to he found only on the central plateau of Tibet and to be unable to live at a low elevation. The 4 yaks at Whipsnade and at the Zoo illustrate, nevertheless, the main characteristics of the species.

 

Great Falls Tribune
Great Falls, Montana July 7, 1933

ALBINO BUFFALO CALF IS BORN IN MOIESE BISON RANGE; AMONG FEW EVER KNOWN BY WHITE MEN

Special to The Tribune.
DIXON, July 6. An albino buffalo was born about six weeks ago at the national bison range near Moiese. The animal is pure white except for a few patches of brown hair on the upper part of the head. This is the first albino buffalo to be born on the reserve and records show only two others, one at Pierre, S. D., about 50 years ago and another which was killed by an Indian trader in the early days.

R.S. Norton, warden of the bison range, reports that more than 100 buffalo calves were born on the range this spring.

Even when millions of buffalo lived on the great plains, a white buffalo was so rare that few were observed. “One or two in a lifetime was the utmost that any hunter secured,” says Ernest Thompson Seton, and Dr. W. T. Hornaday tells that he “met many old-time buffalo hunters, who had killed thousands and seen scores of thousands of buffalo, yet never had seen a white one.” According to E. Douglas Branch there was “only one white animal in the five million and more bison of the southern herd.” Dr. Hornaday believed that “not over 10 or 11 white buffalo, or white buffalo skins were ever seen by white men.” A single albino was raised about 30 years ago in a herd at Pierre, S. D says Dr. Robert S. Norton, protector or the national bison range.

The Indians looked upon an albino buffalo with awe, considered it “big medicine,” and for a good skin paid the price of 10 or 15 horses. Then piety, says Branch, demanded that three or four years after the purchase the skin should be offered to the wind and rain. The white man also was willing to pay a high price for an albino skin. Branch tells that the single albino of the southern herd fell to the gun of a plainsman, who sold it for $1,000. So highly were the white buffalo prized that, said Hornaday, not a single one, so far as I can learn, ever had the good fortune to attain adult size.”

“The national bison range,” says Paul G. Redington, chief of the bureau of biological survey, “is maintained to assist in perpetuating the American buffalo, which at the time of the establishment of the range was threatened with extermination. We are therefore much interested in having in the herd an example of a variation so rare as the white buffalo. When only one was known in a herd of more than 5,000,000, it is particularly interesting that we should have this “big medicine’ in a herd of about 500 animals.”

 

 

Austin American Statesman
Austin Texas July 11, 1933

Protest for a Bison

For $75 New York’s Central Park menagerie sold a two-year-old bull bison to an eastern “dude ranch,” where “real cow-boys” will harass it, pursue it, lasso it and throw it, over and over, to amuse customers of the ranch.

Somebody or something, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or common decency, should have something to say about that. The whites killed off nearly all the Indians and the bison. The few surviving- should not be subjected to humiliation and cruelty.

Boarders at the dude ranch should be content to look at the bison without tormenting it, content to imagine, if they could, the low opinion he has of them.

 

Des Moines Tribune
Des Moines Iowa Oct 27, 1933
Found Near Red Rock, Ia.

State Given Bison Skull – Found by Sons of Ed- S. Harlan

Picture James R Harlan (left) and George Duffield Harlan hold the bison skull which they presented1933 Skull Found in IA to the state historical department Thursday.

A bison skull, found in a gravel bank and exposed by the wash of Des Moines river near Red Rock, la., in Marion county, Thursday was presented to Edgar S. Harlan, curator of the state historical department.

The skull said to be the best specimen ever presented to the state, was found by Harlan’s sons, George D. of Pueblo, Colo., and James R., 3112 University ave.

The skull of this extinct species of bison belonging to the Pleistocene period measures more than 36 inches from tip to tip of the horn cores and has a brain box with a depth of seven and a inches.

A similar, smaller, smaller specimen without the brain-box was found Dallas county in 1931, Mr. Harlan said.

 

 

 

 

Good News Bison
The San Fransico Examiner SF Calif. Nov. 8, 1933, Good News Bison

 

 

The Missoulian
Missoula Montana Dec 2, 1933
Many Bison Roam National Range

There are 544 buffalo on the National bison range northwest of Missoula, according to a report filed with the Biological survey by officials of the reserve, which extends in the region between Ravalli, Dixon, and Charlo.

The 1932 crop of bison amounted to 125, the report states, while 73 were born this spring, including an albino calf, a rarity in such herds.

Other wild denizens of the National Bison range include 96 elk, 44 mountain sheep, and 103 deer. During the past year the herd was decreased by the elimination of 89 buffalo, 86 elk and seven deer to prevent overgrazing. Three buffalo and 30 elk were sold for park purposes and the others were disposed of as food.

During the year 15 additional water tanks have been constructed, to augment the 10 concrete tanks previously installed to provide water supply.

The Yellowstone park bison herd, which is now 1,100 head, is to be decreased soon by the slaughter of 200, the game department of the Forest Service here has been informed, the meat to be distributed principally to needy Indians and wards of the government.

 

The News-Herald
Franklin Pa Dec 8, 1933

Saving the Bison

With Dr. William T. Hornaday, zoologist and wild-life conservationist, quietly celebrating his 79th birthday anniversary at Stamford, Conn., the noted lover of wild animal life expressed gratitude for particularly one thing the “wonderful luck,” he had in preventing the American bison, or buffalo, from being exterminated.

Far back in 1888, Dr. Hornaday wrote an exhaustive article on the threatened extermination of the American bison and demanded that measures be taken to keep it from passing from the scene altogether.

“The future of the American bison is now secure, thanks to the efforts of private breeders and the United States and Canadian governments,” he declared. “Our grand battle for the saving of American feathered game from being snuffed out began in August 1923. Ever since that date, it has been one prolonged and bitter fight against exploiters and exterminators of game.”

Partial success crowned the efforts in 1930, and since then additional headway has been made. It takes men of the courage and foresight of Dr. Hornaday to protect for today, and for the future, the wildlife and the bird life which has been so much a colorful part of this continent down through the years.

 

Great Falls Tribune
Great Falls, Montana Dec 15, 1933

Some Folks Think Buffalo Are Nice Pets; Child Offers to Pay “Postage” on Bison
By Phil Curran

United Press Staff Correspondent BUTTE. Dec. 14. (U.P) Those people who had an ambition to give something big say a Yellowstone park buffalo for a Christmas present this year were doomed to disappointment today.

Recently it was announced here that park officials had so many buffalo that they couldn’t feed them all. Accordingly, collectors of dainty bric-a-brac, three-toed sloths and others were invited to help themselves to a bison or two.

The results were astounding and perplexing, according to Acting Park Superintendent Guy D. Edwards.

“The story about getting buffalo as pets has been overworked and has given the wrong impression,” Edwards complained. “Everybody seems to want a buffalo. We have been besieged with requests from school children and others for buffalo to be used as pets.

“One little girl asked us to mall one and she would pay the postage when it arrived. Similar requests were sent in about our bears. Dozens of filling station operators wanted animals to lure customers to their gasoline pumps.”

The reason why the buffalo custodians were particularly amazed is explained by a glance at Old Man Buffalo himself. A stripling 4-year-old tips the scales at 2,000 pounds or more.

The minimum freight charge to hoist one of these one-ton babies outside the park to Gardiner, the nearest shipping point, is $70. From there to the ultimate destination shipping costs multiply like guinea Pigs.

After the proud new buffalo owner acquires that title, he must fence a pasture with wire and six or eight-inch posts, at least six feet high, set eight feet apart and from three to four feet in the ground. An ordinary cattle corral won’t do if the owner has proper regard for the safety of his fellow man.

Then come feed bills. A bale of hay is just a snack for a hungry bison. His appetite is proportionate to his avoirdupois.

However, there are some brave souls to whom those imposing figures meant little. When they heard about the offer, they ordered and received their bison.

Among them were William Randolph Hearst of San Simeon, Calif.; Golden Gate park at San Francisco, Grace Memorial hospital at Bristol, Tenn and Leo Cremer of Shawmut, Mont.

 

Great Falls Tribune
Great Falls Montana Dec 19, 1933

BUFFALO HERD IN ALASKA IS NOW THRIVING
Animals Transplanted From Montana Reserve Are Doing Well

MOIESE, Dec. 18. (U.R) A herd of buffaloes, transplanted to Alaska from the bureau of biological survey’s bison range here, has thrived in Alaska, according to word received here today.

Twenty-three bison were shipped from Moiese five years ago and have more than doubled in number, according to the bureau.

The transplanted animals observed this fall in two herds on the Jarvis creek flats southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, now number 60, including calves and yearlings.

The Alaska game commission and the biological survey in 1928 transferred the buffaloes to the territory from the bureau’s bison range in Montana. Funds for the move were appropriated by the territorial legislature. Despite some fatal accidents, the animals soon accommodated themselves to the new environment and by 1931 their number had increased to 29.

The transplanted herd is of special interest, according to the biological survey, because the animals composing it are the first of their type to live in that region in centuries.

In the pleistocene era the group was represented by another species of bison, apparently larger than the modern buffaloes. The nearest wild buffalo now live in the region of Great Slave lake. In Mackenzie valley of central Canada, at least 1,000 miles to the southeast.