Canada History

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Henry Kellsey, a factor of the Hudson Bay Company, in a report of his explorations in the far west of Canada, in 1691, tells of his party sighting buffalo in large numbers. A few years later this explorer became the first white buffalo hunter on the plains of western Canada. He tells that everywhere the Indians were slaughtering, taking only the choice pieces and leaving the greater portion of each slain body to the wolves which followed in large bands. The Saturday News May 21, 1914


 In 1786 statistics show that over 705,000 skins were exported from Québec alone, valued at over £203,000. Muskrat, 202,719; deer, 133,271; beaver, 116,623; raccoon, 108,521; marten, 48,463; otter, 23,684; bear, 19,362 (what a chance for the Zoological Garden!) : wolf, 12,923; elk, 7,555, with numerous others, the particular designation of which are now unknown. This was a single years business from one port, and at that date the traffic had fallen off largely, as the country was beginning to get drained of the supply. What a paradise must Detroit have been for the hunter! Indeed, much of the real zest of sport must have been lost when all the cook had to do was to step to the door of her cabin and with her unerring gun or arrow bring down from the encircling line of forest whatever description of game happened to suit her fancy.

The trade in bison skins had hardly commenced when Cadillac came, and during the lifetime of many readers hereof the race of animals furnishing this valuable item of merchandise will probably become extinct. History or tradition affords some light respecting the immense fortunes that were realized from this trade. Jacques Le Ber, of Montréal, was the Vanderbilt of that day, and it is well known that the great fortune of John Jacob Astor, with whom the last of our old traders had large accounts, was largely derived from this source.

Published by Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan Nov 4 1883


Jackfish Lake  latter part of the 1850s December

The slipperiness of the ice, which gave us so much trouble in crossing the lake, was turned to good account the other day by the Indians, as they drove a band of buffalo cows so that they had to go out on the ice of the lake, when of course they fell and stumbled, and could make no progress, while their pursuers, approaching them on foot, with ease killed the whole, to the number of 14.


The Lethbridge Hearld Alberta Canada  May 8 1850
Will Move Cattalo To Manyberries Area

Plans are being made for the transfer late in May of the Cattalo cows and bulls from Wainwright Buffalo park to the new home of the cross-bred animals at the Dominion Range Experimental Station near Manyberries. The calves were moved to Manyberries last fall and wintered well in their new preserve.

H.F. Peters officer in charge of the range station states it may be necessary to truck the cattalo-cross between native buffalo and cattle – from their Wainwright enclosure to the loading point at Wainwright. They will then be shipped by rail to Bain on the Foremost line of the CPR. They will be unkaced at Bain and trailed to their new range.




Gull Lake NWT circa 1870s?
Vancouver Archives from Matthews, James Skitt, Major Collection


The Galveston Daily News Nov 18 1876

A law was passed in Canada that forbade the use of pounds (corrals), wanton destruction, killing of buffalo under 2 years of age, and the killing of cows during a closed season.
Lt. Col. Samuel Bedson of Stoney Mountain, Manitoba (Canada) purchased bison from the Alloway herd, the McKay herd and from some Native Americans.


Manitoba Free Press
April 8, 1878


The ordinances passed at the first legislative session of the Council of the Northwest Territories, under the “North-West Territories Act, 1877, “ having been laid before Parliament in accordance with the requirements of the statute, we have now to hand the text of the law for the preservation of the buffalo which went into force on 1st June last. The particulars we have already published were strictly accurate, but of the excellent provisions contained in the first, fifth, and sixth clauses we were not till now aware. It will be seen that the Indians are not debarred from killing buffalo to satisfy their immediate wants, even during the close season for cows, which close season, so far as the Indians are concerned, commences three months later than for other persons. Under these circumstances we can but believe that the tribes will gratefully accept and support a law so obviously constructed in their own interest, if they only have its nature and object fully explained to them. The matter is of such importance to all persons dwelling in the North-West were visiting it, that we deem it wise to publish this full text of the ordinance, in order that there may be no excuses on the part of white men or half-breeds going west for infringing its provisions:

  1. No pound,., Or like enclosure or contrivance shall, at any time be formed or used in the North-West Territories for the capture of buffalo, nor shall it be lawful to destroy buffalo by running them into rivers or lakes, or over steep banks or precipices.
  2. It shall be unlawful at any season to hunt or kill Buffalo from the mere motive of amusement, or wanton destruction, or solely to secure their tongues, choice cuts, or peltries; and the proof in any case that less than one-half of the flesh of the buffalo has been used or removed shall be sufficient evidence of the violation of this section.
  3. It shall be unlawful to kill buffalo of either sex under two years of age, or to have the dead bodies or the peltries, or any other part of the bodies, of such young buffaloes in possession.
  4. On and after fifteenth of November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, and in every year thereafter, period between the fifteenth day of November in the fourteenth day of the following August, inclusive, shall be a close season for female buffalo: and during said season it shall be unlawful to kill such buffalo, or to have in possession the dead bodies, or the peltries, or any other part of the bodies of the female buffalo killed in the said close season:- Provided, that nothing contained in this section shall extend or apply to Indians or non-treaty Indians between the fifteenth day of November and the fourteenth day of the following February inclusive.
  5. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Ordinance, it shall be lawful for any traveler or other person in circumstance of pressing necessity to kill buffalo to satisfy his immediate wants.
  6. In order to convict any person of unlawfully killing buffalo, it shall be sufficient to prove that such persons was one of a party necessary to such killing: and taking the life of each and every buffalo unlawfully killed shall be deemed a distinct and separate offense.
  7. Every person convicted of an offense against any of the foregoing provisions of this Ordinance shall be liable for each and every offense to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, with cost of prosecution, and in default of payment to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months.
  8. When any offense is committed against this Ordinance, it shall be the duty of any sheriff, policeman, constable, sub-constable, or other peace officer, upon view their of or upon the information of any two persons, who shall declare their names and places of abode, to forthwith arrest such offender by the authority of this ordinance, and without further warrant to bring him before a judge, stipendiary magistrate, or justice of the peace, to be dealt with according to law.
  9. Every offense against any of the sections of this Ordinance may be presented in a summary manner before any judge, stipendiary magistrate, or justice of the peace.
  10. One-half of any pecuniary penalty recovered under this Ordinance shall be paid to the informer.


The Clay Center Dispatch
Clay Center, Kansas May 28 1885

Hunting Buffalo near the Saskatchewan
Battleford Correspondence of the Port Arthur Sentinel.

When the party struck buffalo, a permanent camp was pitched, and the “buffalo runners” (horses trained to the work) were caught and examined. Scouts were sent out to locate a herd, and on their return all the men intending to take part in the run presented, themselves mounted, with gun on arm. and whip suspended by thong to the wrist. Under direction of their captain they quietly separate in skirmishing order, and advancing under cover of the undulations of the ground, almost, if not altogether, surrounded the entire herd. At a given signal all dash for ward, and as they charge the light of battle shines in their faces and their very steeds quiver with excitement. Hurrying to the top of a hill a non-combatant sees a wide and almost circular plain filled with horsemen and wild, terror-stricken animals, dashing hither and thither, and over all the confused tumult the bellowing of bulls and the sharp crack of the rifles are heard. See that beautiful back dash up to a fat bull and almost halt, while its rider sends the death dealing bullet. Like a flash the buffalo turns and charges the horse, but a slight pressure of the knee causes him likewise to swerve, and the buffalo rushes past. In another instant the horse is again alongside, and a second shot rolls a magnificent fellow over dead.

All this is fair fighting compared with the treacherous “pound” designed by the great chief of this district, viz: Pound-Maker; and from which he got his characteristic name. The entrance to this enclosure is by an inclined plane made of rough logs leading to a gap through which the buffalos suddenly jump about six feet into a ring, and from which there is no retreat. In their entrance converge little heaps of brush and buffalo dung for several miles into the prairie which surrounds the clump of woods in which the pound is concealed, and these lines serve to decoy the buffalo to their doom when they have been driven into the neighborhood. When this piece of strategy is effected the animals run round and round violently, and the Indians affirm, always with the sun. The scene now becomes a busy and sanguinary one, the work of butchering going on until the last buffalo is killed. Such are the tactics indulged in by the braves under Chief Pound Maker of the Battleford district.


The Observer
London, Greater London, England  Oct 10, 1886

Their numbers are estimated, every little herd is known, and it is not believed that there are 500 in existence. Only recently and agent of the National Museum, after searching for several weeks, obtained only three specimens. The end must therefore be near. The Canadian Government is protecting buffaloes, so far as the preservation of a few in an enclosure can accomplish this, and in the Yellowstone National Park the little herd there is forbidden to be molested. Yet outside the limits of this reservation the slaughterers lie in wait, and knowing the price that a hide or a stuffed head commands, use every effort to drive the Government animals outside the sanctuary which has been decreed them. (read more)


Anadarko Daily Democrat
Anadarko, Oklahoma 21 Apr 1902  (1887 account)
The following account of the killing of the last big Buffalo bull appears in the Macleod Gazette in the form of a letter signed “Wyoming Bill.”:

Early in November, 1887, John Nolan and other half breeds were near the forks of the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan when they came across a bunch of eleven buffalo, one of the bunch being a very large bull.
They killed the big bull, two cows and a calf and brought them into Swift Current.  J. Grant got the head of the bull and Curry Bros.,  got the two cows heads and hide of the calf. No doubt afterword the half breeds cleaned out the rest of the bunch for they were never heard of again.

Hine of Winnipeg mounted the bull’s head and in 1893 it was loaned to the government and was sent to the World Fair at Chicago, where it was much admired.

It is still in the hands of John Grant, taxidermists, of Red Deer, Alberta, and any person passing through Red Deer would do well to go and see the head, it being one of the largest and handsomest I ever saw, and I believe the last Buffalo killed in the territories.

One the other heads is in the possession of Dr. George of Innisfall, who is much interested in natural history.

The country lying between the South Saskatchewan and the Cypress Hills and Old Wives Creek and the lakes and the Vermillion Hills was famous for Buffalo and even now the old Buffalo trails and wallows are to be seen from Moose Jaw to Medicine Hat.

But most of the game, both hair and feathers, is gone now. The last time I crossed the plains from Red River to Rocky Mountains overland some of the favorite resorts of waterfowl and wading birds were nearly deserted. Rush Lake, once the breeding place of many kinds of waterfowl – pelicans, geese and ducks, besides small birds – was half dry and only a few ducks there.

Other lakes were the same, but along some of the streams north of the Cypress Hills, especially Pi-a-Pot creek. There were quite a few prairie wolves, Fox’s and badgers and antelope on the middle plains.


The Marion County Herald
Hamilton, Alabama Jan 10, 1889

Raising Buffalo for the Shambles.

The Manitoba as fast freight from Winnipeg recently brought into St. Paul, Minn., a queer load of cattle in the shape of a herd of eighty-three buffalo. The herd is the famous wine raised by Warden Bedson, of Stony Mountain, Northwest Territory, since 1877, from a young bull and four heifers. They have been bought by C. J. Jones, of Garden City, Kan., who has for some years been making a special study of the buffalo, and he has at present a herd of about fifty on his ranch in Kansas. He began crossing them with cattle and his experiments have been successful, the half-breed buffalo being a hardy and sturdy animal, while much less wild in its nature. The raising of the bison has become a profitable business, as fifty cents a pound for buffalo meat can be obtained in Chicago. The animals will be shipped south. Cattle raisers everywhere are watching the Jones experiments with much interest, and bison in their wild state are almost unknown, a fact which makes be attempt to domesticate and perpetuate this species the more interesting. – Chicago Herald.


The Cook County Herald – LOC
Grand Marais, Minnesota Jan 19 1901


Like Their Kin of the States They Seem Destined to Extinction.

The wood bison, as the buffalo of British North America is known, appears to lie doomed to extinction. J. A. Allen of the American Museum of Natural History in his notes on the wood bison summarizes the number of these buffalo estimated to exist during the last ten years as follows: Estimate in 1889 of Professor Hornaday, now director of the New York Zoological society, 550; Russell, 1894, a few hundred; Jarvis, 1897, about 300; Moberly, 1897, 250 to 300, and Stone, 1899, 50. The home of the wood bison has been in the neighborhood of the Great Slave lake in the northwest territory. Within the last six years these bison seem to have worked northward, and Mr. Allen says: “It is pretty safe to assume that they have been exterminated entirely from their former range south of the Peace river, and that a few years more will suffice for their complete extermination.” Frank Russell, who hunted the wood bison in 1894, wrote of them in 1898, saying: “The herd at present consists of a few hundred only. They are so wary that only one effective shot can be fired, when they betake themselves to instant flight, and, as with the moose, pursuit is altogether futile. They cannot be hunted in summer, as the country which they inhabit is mosquito infested and a wooded swamp at this season. They can only be killed by stalking in midwinter, when their pelage is at its best. The Indians along the Peace and Slave rivers make occasional trips into the buffalo country with dog teams to establish lines of marten traps. When they discover a band of buffaloes, they, of course, kill as many as they can, but they have not made systematic efforts to hunt them for their robes, as they have the musk ox. Fortunately the officers of the company have exerted their influence toward the preservation of the buffalo, not trading for the robes until the recent advent of rival traders. During the winter of 1892-93 forty buffaloes were killed, the largest number that had been secured for several years. I saw most of these robes, which were very dark, the hair thick and curled, making a robe superior to that of either musk ox or plains buffalo. They were so large that the Indians had to cut many of them in half for convenience in hauling on the sleds. From $10 to $50 is paid for the robes.”


Buffalo herd at Banff Pillsbury Picture Co January 5 1906 -LOC
Buffalo herd at Banff Pillsbury Picture Co January 5 1906 -LOC

April 21 1909

Sir Donald Bison Bull Banff
Sir Donald – Banff

Old Sir Donald, the Patriarch of the American Bison, Trampled and Gored to Death in Corral at Banff _ Was captured in 1872 When a Two-Year-Old by the Late Hon. James McKay, of Deer Lodge – Head of the Band For Many Years –

Old Sir Donald, the Last Wild Buffalo in Captivity, Killed by Balance of the Herd at Banff Recently
Many thousands of visitors to Banff, the delightful resort in the middle of the Canadian National park, had seen and admired the grand old buffalo bull, Sir Donald, ____ had been the leader and chief of his herd for upwards of 38 years. But he never again will be the grand head and massive proportions of this animal, the only really wild bison in captivity, be viewed in their natural environment, for during the early hours of Tuesday morning, April 6, old Sir Donald came to his final end. He was found lying dead out in one of the paddocks, having apparently stumbled over some blogs, probably owing to his being blind in one eye, and while unable to rise he was surrounded by the rest of the herd, and, alas, for _____ respect among the bison some of the younger bulls took the opportunity to help him onto the happy hunting grounds by goring that huge beast with their short and sharp horns. Not content with this, the herd pawded and butted at the prostrate monarch till, except on the head and the legs, there was no hair left. The cowboy in charge of the paddocks saw Sir Donald walking about at five o’clock on Monday afternoon, and on looking for him next morning saw that he was down and apparently dead. He covered the carcass with tarpaulins to keep it safe from the prowling wolves and coyotes; but the buffalo herd returned to the scene and indulged in a further display of indignities to their fallen ____.
For some time past the advisability of shooting Sir Donald had been discussed, as he was obviously weakening with advancing years, and about a month ago Howard Douglas, the Commissioner of the parks, with a local taxidermist, went to the paddocks to inspect him, but so lively was the old bull than that he charged vigorously at his visitors, who prominently took refuge outside the fence. This was thought to indicate plenty of reserve strength in Sir Donald, and he was allowed to wander away. So that when the news of his death was telephoned to the superintendent’s office it caused quite a considerable sensation, and steps were at once taken with that view of having the whole animal mounted to be placed in the National Park Museum. A number of the park workmen with a few other interested persons in the government taxidermist, Ashley Hine, went to the animal paddocks with a large sleigh to transport the body to the Sign at the Goat taxidermy store for purposes of preparing and mounting it. On their arrival, however, they had to wait till the keeper had driven the buffalo herd far enough away to make it safe to go inside their enclosure. All inspection of the body showed that with the exception on the head and four legs there was nothing left with hair on that would be set up for exhibition. The remains were mass of jellied flesh, hair and blood. This historic animal and the loss of him as a museum specimen is no small one. However measures were at once begun to secure pictures of him as he lay in his last sleep, and while this was being done and during the subsequent proceedings of saving the head and the four legs, several of the workmen had some exciting chases after the rest of the herd, as the animals kept closing in, in a compact half circle round the group engaged on the dead bull. The horses attached to the sleigh got very alarmed, and their drivers prompt action alone prevented a runaway. Highland Mary, a small bright colored cow buffalo, a very early daughter of the dead bull, was the most aggressive, coming within 12 or 15 feet of the workers, but as she was nearly as old as Sir Donald, she was treated with the respect she deserved.
It was the work of several hours to get the hide off, which was in some places 2 inches thick. This was finally accomplished and the remains were then loaded onto the sleigh for transference to the town; most of the men taking a short cut over the fence for home. But here the herd took a hand again. As soon as the sleigh load drew nearer them they charged up to it on mass jostling and crowding each other to get near the head of their dead companion which adorned the back end of the sleigh. Three times the driver of the team fell over obstacles before he reached the gates, having to keep his eyes on his frantic horses and on the bellowing herd hind him. His companion proceeded to open the gate, and for a few moments it looked as if the whole herd would escape into the adjoining paddock. Very fortunately the two men were able to close the gate, after driving in the buffalo which got through and so prevented what otherwise would have been a very awkward state of affairs. The head of Sir Donald is now in the hands of the government taxidermist, and will eventually adorne the walls of the museum in Banff.
Captured about 1872 by James McKay, of Winnipeg, at which time the bull was about two years old, he was kept with that gentleman’s herd which roamed between Silver Heights and Little Stony Mountain, and often mixed with the herd of the late Col. Benson. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Donald Smith was associated in business with Mr. McKay at that time, and on the death of the latter came into possession of his herd of bison. In 1898 Sir Donald Smith (now Lord Strathcona) presented his herd of 12 to the National Park, including the captured wild bull since named after his donor. These 12 have increased till at present there are over 95 in the herd, besides 13 head which have been presented to different ________ and coast cities. The __disputed headship of the herd remained with Sir Donald for over 30 years, but about five years ago a terrific battle for supremacy occurred between him and a young bull of almost equal size imported from Texas. The fight began early in the morning, the great lowered and little red eyes glaring, tearing up the turf with their hooves, and with tails straight up in the air. With the crash like colliding engines they met over and over again. Several mounted men endeavored to separate the infuriated animals, but were themselves charged and put to flight. Sir Donald at last lost his left horn in one of the shocks, at the same time getting a blow in the left eye which destroyed its sight. After being thrown on his back and pummeled while down by his victorious antagonist, he gave up the struggle and retired from the gaze of the watching herd to begin his lonely wanderings. Since that time he has seldom been seen with the rest, preferring to wander and wallow alone in some favorite sand whole. He was a grand specimen of the breed, measuring about 49 inches from tip to tip of the horns, and about 15 ½ inches between the eye sockets across the four head. The remaining horn is 18 ½ inches long and its girth is 14 ½ inches. He answered best to the Indians description of the buffalo, being short and very thick and deep in the body, with great phone an extremely massive head in front. And he was undoubtedly a really pure-bred bison. W.H.K.


The Wainwright Star
Wainwright, Alberta    JULY 9th, 1909.

Canada’s Great Buffalo Herd at Wainwright
Second Shipment Received at Buffalo Park Direct From Montana

Made Journey in Seventy-Two Hours -Visit to the Park – History of the Pablo Herd

On Saturday last, fifteen cars of buffalo arrived here from the Pablo herd in Montana, and were immediately unloaded in the Buffalo Park. Howard Douglas, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, A. Ayotte immigration agent in Montana, and H. C. McMullan, C. P. R. livestock agent, Calgary, accompanied the shipment.

The bunch consisted of one hundred and ninety head and at times what seemed almost insurmountable obstacles have been overcome in rounding up this bunch. There are still at least 150 head on the Flathead Reserve, which will be shipped in September. Before these arrive, however, 75 buffalo will be sent to the Park here from the Banff herd.

The animals comprising this shipment were immediately unloaded and despite expectations did not take unkindly to the fence around the corral at the unloading place. They had been in the cars for periods varying from four to fifteen days and were consequently quite weary. The railway journey from Ravalli was made in the fine time of seventy-two hours and the bison stood the journey fairly well. No time was lost in releasing the buffalo and before dark the entire trainload were quietly grazing in the park.

On Sunday, the writer, accompanied by R. C. W. Lett, travelling passenger and colonization agent of the G. T. P., and H. W. Foster, manager of the Canada Railway News Co., and C. W. Holmes, a fellow newspaper man, from Milestone, Sask., made a trip through the immense corral of 2,000 acres in the north end of the park, in which these animals will be confined for the present.

Superintendent Ellis and his assistant, Louie Bioletti, gave every assistance to the party and we were enabled to see the buffalo at ease in their new home. They were scattered here and there in small herds, while an occasional one would be found enjoying a dust bath in one of the innumerable buffalo wallows, which were made by the wild herds many years ago. They seemed to take well to their new home and the majority paid scant attention to the visitors. Occasionally, we ran across a small herd which viewed us with suspicion and started pawing the ground. When their tails began to raise with an ugly looking crook, we considered discretion to be the better part of valor and immediately left for other sections of the park. The 508 buffalo now in the park have an ideal home.

Following is a short history of the buffalo, several parts of which we have extracted from a recent article in the London Times:

Passing of the Buffalo

The destruction of the immense northern herd of bison, which is stated to have numbered 4,000,000 head at the beginning has never been told with any degree of accuracy. It is certain that very few were left in the Canadian west when the Canadian Pacific Railway had been completed. The construction gangs of this road disposed of the stragglers of this once mighty herd, as was the case in the building of the Union Pacific railroad in the U. S.To this day, however, the whole of the vast west is scarred and pitted with their groove-like trails and basin-like wallows, which are permanent records of the migratory marches and daily dust-baths of these heavy beasts.

Old-Time Hunts

Old-time Hudson’s Bay factors who still survive, tell of the great hunting expeditions of the fifties and sixties, when the employees of the pioneer fur company with their creaking Red River carts took part in these hunts in order to secure the yearly supply of pemmican for their northern hunting and trading posts. At one time the prairie around the present capital of Saskatchewan was covered by piles of whitened bones, but which have nearly all been gathered up and shipped to be used as fertilizers. “Pile of Bones,“ or Regina, was the head of this peculiar industry which flourished shortly after the Riel rebellion.

The Last Buffalo

The last buffalo to be killed in Western Canada met his death in 1886. He had been wounded twice during that year but escaped, to meet his fate on the range of a couple of ranchers near the south branch of the Saskatchewan, who had a herd of several hundred Highland cattle and it happened that about the time when the sandhill crane flies south, two of the ranch men were sent out in search of them. They caught sight of the band at noon on the second day out and were amazed to see it massed together for all the world like a bunch of horses about a smudge or smoke-fire, when the flies and mosquitoes are at their worst on a still, cloudy summer evening. With much difficulty they broke up the throng and there where the center of the swirling crest of blood-maniacs had been, they found the torn and trampled carcass of the mighty wanderer. What an end!

For a considerable time it was believed that with the exception of the herd at Banff and the few animals at Winnipeg, the most magnificent of the North American fauna was extinct. The Banff herd had increased considerably, but it was thought that the evils of in-breeding would eventually cause the cessation of its growth.

Yet all the time there existed on the Flathead reservation in the State of Montana a herd of several hundred thoroughbred bison, the natural increase of which was being maintained year after year. It was a fortunate accident which led to the formation of this fine collection.

In 1873 one of the Pend d’Oreille Indians captured four little bison calves—two bulls and two heifers—by cutting them out of a stampeded herd numbering many thousands. In accordance with the peculiar characteristics, often noticed by old plainsmen, these young creatures obediently followed the horses of the hunters who had slain or driven off their mothers.

The Indians in question gave them to the Mission of St. Ignatius, where they were kept as pets and became as domesticated as ordinary cattle. When the heifers were four years old, each had a calf. From that time on they gradually increased in number, until, in 1884, there were thirteen head, and the Indian owner, finding the care of them too great a tax on his scant resources, decided to sell them.

Start of Pablo Herd

Ten head were purchased for $250 apiece, by C. A. Allard and Michel Pablo, who were ranching on the reservation, and were shrewd enough to see that specimens of what was even then supposed to be practically and extinct animal would eventually become very valuable. The herd rapidly increased under their careful supervision, and in a few years it became possible to sell specimens at very high prices.

Many head were sold to private individual collectors in the United States, and it from this source that those in the Yellowstone Park were secured.

In 1893 Messrs. Allard and Pablo bought a collection belonging to one “Buffalo” Jones, of Omaba, and in that year they had 36 thoroughbred animals in excellent condition, the nucleus of the great herd which has been bought by the Dominion Government. The hybrid, or “cattloes” were never allowed to mingle with the thoroughbreds on the ranges, but were collected and kept on island in the Flathead Lake. These hybrids are large, fine-looking animals, and it has often been suggested that they would be worth breeding for commercial purposes. But the sterility point is reached in the second generation.

Great Increase

The record of the herd of living antiques originating in the four calves captured by an Indian hunter shows what can done by private enterprise to perpetuate an almost extinct type of animal life. In twenty-three years a herd of thirty-six increased to thirty times its original number. Some idea of the average rate of increase may be deduced from the observed fact that half the cows give birth to calves every year, while twin calves are not uncommon, inasmuch as in a party of a 100 head corralled one autumn, there were two cows having two calves at foot. The percentage of loss among the calves is slightly lower than is the case with ordinary range cattle. As a rule the bison calf is a very hardy creature. There are instances of the Pablo-Allard calves finding their feet in less than a minute after birth and showing sight within half-an-hour.

New Canadian Herd

In 1906 Hon. Frank Oliver, Minister of the Interior, obtained for the Dominion Government an option on the 600 unsold head belonging to Messrs. Pablo and Allard, and eventually they were all bought for $200,000. Today five or six times as much could be realized by selling the herd piecemeal to American private collectors and the Governments of Western States which are now lamenting a lost opportunity. But Canada has no intention whatever of selling a single head.

The round-up of the first shipment lasted two months, and was successfully carried out by 75 cowboys, horsemen picked for their ability from every part of the great Montana ranges, who were paid at the rate of $5 a day. For some weeks the round-up was a failure; only three times in more than a month of daily drives did the cowboys succeed in getting a few head into the rail-side corrals. The bison, finding themselves being driven from their familiar pasturage, and not knowing that the hay of the Saskatchewan Valley is better than that of the Montana ridges, would charge the encircling line of horsemen with the wildest fury and break and scatter it to the four winds. Eventually, in order to save time and horse-flesh, Mr. Pablo—himself a cowboy famous throughout the West—decided that it was necessary to build a bison-proof fence, 26 miles in length, from the pastures to the corrals, so as to cut off retreat in one direction. Down this fence, in spite of their many successful efforts to break away, the bison were eventually driven into the corrals and, not without much difficulty, loaded aboard the enclosed cattle-trucks of the Northern Pacific freight train at the little station of Ravalli. The long railway journey 1,200 miles over five railway systems to Lamont in Alberta was accomplished with a loss of less than one per cent.

The herd wintered fairly well and were the ones received here on June 13 and which were turned loose in the park on that day.

Buffalo Park

The park, which has an area of 160 square miles and contains many clean-bottomed lakes, endless chains of hay-sloughs and sheltered river valleys, has been securely enclosed with a high fence of wire and tamarack posts. A number of deer were enclosed in the building of the fence, so that the bison will have companions in the spacious reservation. In twenty years there should be 10,000 head at Wainwright.

The artificial revival of this magnificent animal is an object lesson to those who deplore the threatened extinction of the most imposing of the South African fauna. Game preservation laws will generally enable the smaller animals to survive, even if they have the ill-fortune to wear the furs coveted by the ladies.

The return of the beaver to many of its deserted haunts in Eastern and Western Canada is a case in point. Ten years ago the living symbol of Canadian enterprise and industry seemed in danger of extinction. Now it is once more busy building the water-breaks which helped to store up the rainfall of the country instead of allowing it to be dissipated in disastrous floods. But, if the heavy beasts which can be eaten by the most shameless of the carnivora—man, to wit—are to be preserved, something more is needed than the translation of the sportsman’s First Commandment—“Thou shalt not kill needlessly”—into laws and by-laws.


Harrisburg Telegraph Pa.
Dec 7 1911
Offered Only $15 a Head For Animals Worth $200
Paid $120,000 For a Herd of Six Hundred of Them

Recently the Canadian Government, by a striking coup d’eta, secured the greatest herd of bison in captivity, and by returning them to an immense preserved tract in their native haunts on the plains of the great West have arrested natural extinction with such complete success that within a few years they anticipate possessing a huge herd of these animals. The story of how this deal was consummated, says a writer in the December Wide World Magazine, and how the United States lost a great opportunity of becoming possessed of one of the finest animal attractions the world, constitute an interesting romance.

When the slaughter was at its height, some thirty years ago, a Flathead Indian known as “Walking Coyote, “made a raid into the plains of Alberta, and as a result of his buffalo-hunt secured about twenty prime beast, which he sold to another half-breed Indian of his tribe for $2000. Michel Pablo, the new owner of the animals is a shrewd business man, even for an Indian. Realizing that the bison in its natural state would soon become a thing of the past, he turned them loose upon the Indian reservation in Montana, leaving them to wander and roam of their own free will over an area of some fifty square miles. By freeing them in this manner, and protecting them against destruction, he concluded that they would propagate freely, since the conditions were highly conducive to such a result.

When the United States Government took the bison under its protective wing it could not acquire Pablo’s herd, as it was the private property of an individual, and the Flathead was at liberty to deal with his animals just as he felt disposed. He himself was under the protection of the Government, but that did not apply to his stock, and so he felt perfectly secure.

But one day Pablo received disquieting news. He was informed that the United States Government had decided at an opportune moment to throw the Indian reservation open to settlement. When that happened, what was he to do with his herd? He decided to offer the whole stock, just as it was, to the authorities, hurried to Washington and expressed his readiness to sell. The Government offered to relieve him of his stock at $15 per head. Pablo refused hotly and laugh out the parsimonious offer.

At this juncture things took a sudden turn in his favor. Mr. Howard Douglas, the Commissioner of the Canadian Parks, had heard about Pablo’s wonderful herd and was cognizant of the American negotiations. He forth with hastened to Ravalli to open negotiations with the Indian for their acquisition. It was a delicate task, as Pablo, who could not speak a word of English, viewed the English-speaking race with extreme suspicion, heightened by the treatment he had received from the American authorities. The pourparlers were very tedious, as the Indians was still in treaty with the United States Government, but the deal was clinched in three months, when Mr. Douglas offered to take the whole herd of 600 head at at least, at $200 a piece making $120,000 for the whole consignment. The bargain was struck and Pablo signed a contract undertaking to hand the animals safe and sound to Mr. Howard at the point of shipment. Pablo chuckled with the light, for he had accumulated wealth suddenly, and his foresight in buying up “Walking Coyote’s” twenty buffalo, nearly thirty years before, had paid him handsomely. Today Pablo is reckoned a veritable Croesus among Indians.


The Saturday News
Watertown South Dakota May 21, 1914

Criminal Massacre of American Buffalo

In Canada, all the buffalo are east of the Rockies in the province of Alberta. Most of these are confined in the three government parks, Rocky Mountain, Buffalo and Elk Island. During the year 1913, eight head were shipped from Montana by M. Pablo and placed in Buffalo Park. These, with the possible increase of 250 for 1913, brings the total number of buffalo in Buffalo Park up to 1,300. At Banff, there are approximately 25 and at Elk Island 75. Scattered at different points throughout the Dominion there will be probably 50 more, make a total for the whole dominion of buffalo in enclosures of 1,400. This is a very excellent showing for Canada, considering that ten years ago there were less than 100 buffalo in captivity in the whole dominion. The government is doing all in its power to purchase every available animal, and it is hoped that the few remaining of the Pablo herd now in Montana will be rounded up and shipped to Buffalo Park this year. Mr. Pablo asked for an extension of time that he might be able to track the outlaws after a snowfall this winter.


Star Tribune,
Minneapolis, Minnesota June 10, 1917

Northwest Canada Asks Big Game Aid

Ottawa, Canada, Juno 10. More rigorous protection is asked for “wood” bison, or buffalo, and the caribou in the Northwest. It is urged that the killing of female and yearling caribou be prohibited absolutely, the prohibition to extend to the Eskimos and Indians.


The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Jan 3, 1918


Member of U.S. Society Says Canada Plans To Use Animals For Food

PITTSBURGH, Pa, “The bison, or buffalo, is the most valuable animal in the world,” declared Ernest Harold Baynes, the founder and one of the three, honorary members of the Bison society, at the Schenley hotel. “Its flesh is almost indistinguishable from beef of cattle; its wool can be woven into stockings, gloves, and other fabrics easily, and the garments will wear like iron, while a robe made from its hide brings a price equal to that of the whole carcass of a good sized steer. The wool from a bison is far stronger and just as soft as that from sheep, and the only drawback to it as a commodity is that it must be made into colored fabrics, for the wool is of a brown color that cannot be bleached without damaging It.

“The Canadian government,” continued Mr. Baynes, “appreciates the value of the bison, both as a source of food and for its wool and hide. The government has a buffalo reservation of 122,000 acres in the vicinity of Wainwright, Alberta, on which are 2,600 buffalo, the entire acreage being fenced.’ The vast herd is rapidly increasing in number in about the same ratio as ordinary, well kept domestic cattle. The Canadian government sees in its vast herd of buffalo a great future source of food and fabric supply. “


Pittsburgh Daily Post
Pittsburgh, Pa. Feb. 3, 1918


The herd increased under his supervision, and in a few years, it became possible to sell specimens at high prices. Some idea of the average rate of increase may be deduced from the observed fact that half the cows give birth to calves every year, while twin calves are not uncommon. As a rule, the bison calf is a very hardy creature.

In 1906, Hon. Frank Olive, then Canadian minister of the interior, obtained for the dominion government an option on the 600 head, and they were I bought for $200,000. The “round-up” lasted two months, and was carried out by 75 cowboys, and was accomplished with a loss of less than 1 per cent. To-day the herd numbers 2,077.

Buffalo National Park, 1909-1939

Near Wainwright, Alberta started as as a wildlife saving effort , experiments with bison and other species never proved fruitful and were never funded properly to operate the park effectively or to remedy the crises the animals faced.

The “cattalo”, by breeding together domesticated cattle with bison. These animals were bred back with full-blooded bison to remove their cattle-like physical characteristics, which  evident in the photographs below of animals that are 5/8 bison. These photographs  date from the 1910s and 1920s and most were taken in Wainwright.

Canada History

Quintoporto 5/8 Buffalo Bull, Wainright Park.” PC005148. Courtesy of Peel’s Prairie Provinces.

5_8 Buffalo Bull PC010948 Courtesy of Peels Prairie

5/8ths   Buffalo Bull PC010948 Courtesy of Peel’s Prairie Provinces.


The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Jan 3, 1918


Member of U.S. Society Says Canada Plans To Use Animals For Food

PITTSBURGH, Pa, “The bison, or buffalo, is the most valuable animal in the world,” declared Ernest Harold Baynes, the founder and one of the three, honorary members of the Bison society, at the Schenley hotel. “Its flesh is almost indistinguishable from beef of cattle; its wool can be woven into stockings, gloves, and other fabrics easily, and the garments will wear like iron, while a robe made from its hide brings a price equal to that of the whole carcass of a good sized steer. The wool from a bison is far stronger and just as soft as that from sheep, and the only drawback to it as a commodity is that it must be made into colored fabrics, for the wool is of a brown color that cannot be bleached without damaging It.

“The Canadian government,” continued Mr. Baynes, “appreciates the value of the bison, both as a source of food and for its wool and hide. The government has a buffalo reservation of 122,000 acres in the vicinity of Wainwright, Alberta, on which are 2,600 buffalo, the entire acreage being fenced.’ The vast herd is rapidly increasing in number in about the same ratio as ordinary, well kept domestic cattle. The Canadian government sees in its vast herd of buffalo a great future source of food and fabric supply. “


The Central News
Perkasie, Pennsylvania Oct 8, 1919


Wainwright and Buffalo Park

The town of Wainwright was first formed in 1906, and its commencement was a shack on the virgin prairie. The coming of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad, however, awakened the settlers to the value of agriculture al settlement in this part of Alberta and on the 1st of July, 1908, just over eleven years a.upo, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway first placed the present town site of Wainwright on the market.1918 Wainwright buffalo Park, Canada

Here a Chautauqua was in session and many of the party attended Wainwright Buffalo Park is a great asset and attraction to visitors. Whenever mention is made of the town of Wainwright, the thought that usually comes to the mind of most outsiders is, “Oh, that is where the buffalo is kept.” Wainwright has been called the buffalo town. Located at its nearest point, about three miles from the station is the largest fenced park in the world and contains the biggest herd of buffalo in existence. The herd in 1909 was composed of only 685 animals and has increased until at the present time there are approximately 3,700 of these monarchs of the plain. The sight of a herd of buffalo, with their shaggy heads and great size, as they leisurely move away from the intruding tourist, is one that is not soon forgotten. Visions arise in the minds of the onlookers of the days in the long ago when pioneers followed the immense herds and killed them for the supply of meat and making of the famous Indian pemmican. The plains and rolling country of the park is an ideal place for them and they thrive and multiply rapidly. The history of the buffalo in the West is interesting. In 1897 the dominion government received the gift of a few bison from T. G. Blackstock, Toronto, which were placed in the Banff Park. The next year the number was increased by the presentation of thirteen by Lord Strathcona from his herd at Winnipeg.

Some U. S. History

The first real step in the acquiring of the herd now in the park here, was made in 1906. Michael Pablo, of Montana, had for years a considerable herd, enclosed in a natural depression in the valley in the mountains of that State. As civilization was pushed further west he was compelled to get rid of his animals as the government was going to throw open the land for homesteading. Mr. Pablo then entered into negotiations with the U. S government with the view of making them a national asset to be taken care of by the State. Col. Roosevelt and the American Bison Society were trying to get the U. S. to purchase the herd.

While Congress was debating over the matter, Mr. Ale Ayotte, Canadian immigration agent at Missoula, got in touch with his chief and before congress awoke to the fact the Canadian government had contracted for the bunch at $300.00 per head. At .the time of sale it was estimated there were 300 bison in the enclosure, but at the round up it was found that there was a total of 706. The lot was then taken at $250 per head, f. o. b. Edmonton.

The story of a round up is one of the most exciting. It took nine days to load 200 on the train with the loss of eight who were killed in their struggles against being placed in cars.

The park here was not completed at the time of their arrival, so they were unloaded at Lament, and were later transferred to Wainwright.

The park itself is laid out in a territory that is the natural grounds for the buffalo. It is rolling land, contains some lakes and is covered in many spots with light brush and small trees. The area is 160 square miles or approximately 100,000 acres. It is fenced with woven wire seven feet in height and crossed fenced, and fire guards are plowed around the whole fence. A telephone line runs from the superintendent’s office to the farm and to the Hardisty gat.

Much interest is being taken by cattle men in the experiments being conducted at the Buffalo Park, Wainwright, in trying to produce a new breed of cattle from crossing with the buffalo.

The experiments having been going on for some time. The cattalo was first produced by a man in Ontario who had several buffalo on an island farm, where he was successful in raising his first cattalo. He endeavored to get the government interested, but at the time nothing was done. His death caused operations to cease, and his sons again took up the question of disposing of the cattalo to the government. The deal was finally consummated, and the cattalo were first removed to the demonstration farm at Scott, Saskatchewan, and later transferred to the park here.

The cattalo was not the product of a cross between a buffalo and domestic cow. In originating the species a domestic cow was bred to a buffalo bull, and a buffalo cow bred to a domestic bull. The progeny from these two matings were then mated and the cattalo was the result.

Not only is this the home of the buffalo, but several hundred deer, elk, and moose are also found running in this park.

The editors were taken by auto in to this park and were able to get quite close to some of the buffalo. It was not safe to get close when a number were herded together, some resented our intrusion in a most emphatic manner. The drivers knew when it was time to move. The elk deer and moose were more shy and would run, possibly 150 herded in a bunch, it was a beautiful sight to see.


The Age
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Nov. 20, 1920

 For some years past it had been thought that the herds of wild bison in Canada, once so numerous, had been exterminated, though a few small groups might exist unknown in the great timber belt, fortunately private enterprise had collected a fair herd of over 100 head before the wild bison had disappeared, and since then several small herds had been formed by drafting from this and by exchanges with herds existing in the United States.

In the United States, there is the Government herd maintained in the National Yellowstone Park. This herd is of considerable size, but much inferior in quality to the great Canadian private herd formed by Mr. Jones just in time to save the bison from extermination. There are several small herds known to exist in the wilder parts of Wyoming.

During last summer Mr. F. H. Kitto, the exploring engineer of the natural resource branch of the Canadian Department of the Interior, was engaged on a five months exploring trip in “the Lower Mackenzie River basin, and there he saw a herd of wild bison over 1000 strong, later, further to the north, he met with a still larger herd. These finds are of the utmost importance from an economic point of view, and the Canadian Government is certain to take prompt action to preserve them.

The. bison’s beef is of very high quality, while the tongue and hump were recognized dainties. The skin, which furnished the famous buffalo robes of the past generation, is unrivaled for keeping out the cold; indeed it formed the only effective protection so far known. This is owing to the double growth of hair, the longer outer hair, as it may be described, and the fine and close under hair, which is preserved in the curling; and thanks to the close grain of the skin and the thickness and fineness of the under hair of the pelt is impenetrable by the keenest wind.


Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque NM Jul 5, 1922

Catalo a New Meat Bearing Animal for Man’s Consumption

While talking in his discursive, dogmatic way about Art, Ruskin once said that no man by taking thought could ever make a new animal which should serve as food for man. It seems that the Canadian Government in its conservation of the disappearing bison has produced as a by product the Cattalo, which is as good to eat as butcher’s meat.

GREAT herds of buffalo once more roaming the vast plains of northwestern Canada and thriving on land otherwise useless, though offering the best of grazing to these sturdy animals! Great herds that may again offer buffalo hunting to sportsmen on the North American continent at a time when the majority of people have come to believe that the buffalo as a big game animal has passed forever! .No wild dream this, but the truth: a possibility for the immediate future.Bison Bull

For now there Is not only great promise that large herds may in the near future roam the. otherwise useless grazing ground of northwestern Canada in Alberta and Mackenzie territory, but that there will also be roaming several new types of animal which never before have trod the face of the earth, animals produced by crossing the buffalo with domestic cattle; buffalo and the yak of central Asia and the yak and domestic cattle of such breeds as the Hereford, Angus and shorthorn,, which already have proved the best for crossing; with the buffalo.

All these possibilities are directly due to the greatest experiment in wild life conservation in the history of the world which has been conducted since the year 1907 by the Dominion Government of Canada at the cost of a couple of million dollars. This the bringing back of the buffalo from almost extinction to large numbers once more on the North American continent has been accomplished through the work of Dominion Government officials. So great has been the success of this undertaking that the people of Canada have now a wonderful promise of a tremendous meat supply for the future that will repay the Government many times the two million odd dollars invested to date in the buffalo.

The story to date of this great experiment is laid upon the plains of the province of Alberta, where in an enormous fenced inclosure, the largest of a its kind in the world, roams in natural state the Government’s herd of buffalo, or rather bison, for this animal, so long miscalled buffalo, is a bison, a species peculiar to the land. The bison park comprises 15,875 square miles, situated near the town of Wainwrlght, close to the main line of the Canadian National Railway. The park is inclosed by a galvanized steel wire fence 75 miles long, 9 feet high and requiring to construct 25,000 posts and 1,700 miles of wire. As a protection against prairie fire a strip of ground twenty feet wide is plowed on either side of the fence. The land is well wooded and watered by many small lakes, providing the exact country which the buffalo lived in before the white man came.

According to a census of the herd just taken there are now 0,000 head of buffalo In the Inclosure. In 1910 the herd numbered 750. From this it will be seen that in twelve years the animals have increased eight times their number. Thus by the year 1934 Canada will own 48,000 head of buffalo, not to count the new species of beef-producing animals raised from crossing buffalo and domestic cattle, buffalo and the yak, and yak and the domestic cattle. Before turning to what has been accomplished in the way of breeding new types of beef producers of a hardy constitution and the story of what further types are being planned by Government officials to range the semi-Arctic plains of Canada unassisted in any way by man, a brief history of the near extinction of the bison and how it was saved is here given.Catalo

From this story, a better realization may be gained how great has been the work accomplished by the Canadian-Government, a work, the far-reaching beneficial results of which are now beginning to show and which the officials in charge are seeking to extend in every way.

When the nineteenth century opened there were no buffalo east of the Mississippi, for already a huge demand for robes had arisen in Europe. By 1850 the wedge of settlement had divided the buffalo into two principal herds the southern and northern. The gold rush to California, the building of the Southern Pacific and other railroads quickly brought about the extinction of the southern herd. By 1878 the last of the northern herd went south from Saskatchewan in a last endeavor to avoid being wiped out. In 1880 the Northern Pacific opened up Montana, giving access to the northern herd. For the next three years, the annual shipment of hides was 200,000 from this territory. By 1885 this had dwindled to zero. Only one small band escaped, just when and from where drifting it is not known. To-day the descendants of this herd roam the far northern reaches between Lake Athabasca and Great Slave Lake.

By 1890 the total of bison remaining numbered, at a rough estimate, one thousand. Of this number, a small herd, probably not more than two hundred, had penetrated to the far north of Canada, in the vicinity of Fort Smith, between Lake Athabasca and Great Slave Lake. This survived in spite of the Indians and the wolves. Of recent years it has been protected by the Government and is now believed to number between 400 and 600. Another herd was in Montana, the property of an illiterate but shrewd Mexican half-breed, Michael Pablo by name. From this latter herd has arisen the great one in the Canadian park today. More wonderful still the herd of Pablo, which were eventually found to number 716, were directly due to four buffalo calves, two males, and two females, being saved by a Pend d’Orelllo Indian from destruction in 1875. These he gave to his father-in-law. The herd of a dozen head were purchased by Pablo for a few hundred dollars half a dozen years later. He left the animals to run wild on the Pend d’Orelllo reserve.

In 1907 the United States Government decided to throw open the reserve for settlement, and so Pablo was forced to consider the future of his herd. He offered to sell Ii to the United States Government, but in spite of the sale being strongly supported by Theodore Roosevelt and others interested in the preservation of natural wildlife Congress refused to sanction the purchase.

Pablo then offered the herd to the Canadian Government, and the purchase was completed, Pablo had never given the herd any particular attention. The animals had roamed the hills and woods along the Pend d’Orellle River in absolutely natural conditions and were wild as any herd before the white man came. He did not even know how many he had.

Rounded Up in 1907 And Shipped to CanadaCatalo

Early In the summer of 1907 Pablo got a collection of the best riders and horses and started to round up his buffalo, The buffalo outran the swiftest horses, and, when cornered, many of the old bulls turned and charged, forcing the pursuers to scatter to save their lives. In spite of this, the men succeeded in loading on trains four hundred and eleven, mostly cows and calves. Next year in the autumn the last of the band, mostly bulls, were rounded up in a corral. But in the night the animals broke out, and by climbing an almost sheer precipice broke away to the mountains. The next year they were again captured this time each animal was shipped in a great cage from the point of capture to the railway station at Ravalli, Mont. It took nine days to load the two hundred the wildest and strongest of the herd. Eight of them killed themselves in their struggles while they were being dragged aboard the cars with block and tackle. The special train carrying them made better time than an express, and the animals, once loaded, arrived at the park with a loss of less than one percent. This herd was added to by thirty more from a private herd at Kalispell and other sources, bringing the total up to 750 in 1910, which Increased to 6,000 by 1922.

The possibilities of a new type of animal to be obtained from mating buffalo and domestic cattle, a type with the good qualities of both combined were thought about by various men as far back as 1885. But not until the late Mr. Mossom Boyd of Bobcaygeon, Ont., began experimenting in 1894 was any great progress made. By mating a pure buffalo bull with various domestic cows he succeeded in building up a herd of different types of a new race of animals. Upon his death, in 1915, the Department of Agriculture purchased from his estate twenty head of hybrids and cattaloes. These were brought to Wainwright Park and placed in an inclosure adjoining the buffalo range.Catalo

A hybrid is a half buffalo, half domestic cow. A cattalo is the offspring of two hybrids. Both of this new race have a great many points which make them valuable animals to foster. The hides are of fine texture, mingling beauty with serviceability, valuable for coats and robes, commanding from $50 to $100, according to size and condition. It is hoped in the near future to place them upon the market.

Mr. Maxwell Graham, director of park animals, who has given many years study to the breeding- experiments, states that in the matter of ruggedness both these types are equal to the buffalo. They do not drift before a storm as range cattle do, and .are not susceptible to disease.  The herd owned by the Government has never had any infectious disease In the matter of rustling they are equal to the buffalo and thrive on comparatively poor pasture. They live without shelter on the Alberta plains and only a few times, have been fed hay during one winter when the snow was very deep.

A careful examination of the herd in the autumn of 1919 a particularly good test year-showed these animals to be in much higher flesh than domestic cattle foraging on the same range; their condition was outstandingly good, considering the very dry season and poor pasture.

The main purpose of this breed (which has been produced by the Experimental Farms Branch, Depart, meat of Agriculture, and the Park Branch, Department of the Interior) is not to replace, or even use where domestic cattle thrive profitably; but to be a race of animals of good beef type capable of living in the northern part of the prairie provinces and northwest territories, where there is such an enormous range of excellent quality supporting nothing but where cattle breeding does not and never will exist, owing to the need of winter shelters and large quantities of stored winter feed which domestic  cattle require.


Salisbury Evening Post
Salisbury NC Aug 26 1922 

Only Animals to Be Found on Continent Roaming Free in Northwest Territory; In Two Herds

New York, Aug. 26 It’s hardly 50 years ago that an Eastern sportsman wanting something in the way of big game would go West for a buffalo hunt. In those days a New England country farmer out in his sleigh for a cold ride might wrap himself well in a buffalo robe. Those shabby robes, tough, with the hair worn off, persisted for many years.

Now not only they are gone, but The Journal of the American Museum of Natural History is responsible for the statement that there is now not a single wild herd of buffalo or bison in existence in the United States. The beautiful reproduction of the animal on the nickel is all that remains, except a few animals on protected lands. One of the most superb animals of the North American fauna, the bison was a characteristic feature of the plains of this country with the Indian and the prairie wolf.

Nucleus Herds Established.

Too late to do more than save a remnant, organizations like the American Bison Society have established nucleus herds in such sanctuaries as the Yellowstone National Park, the Montana National Bison Range, and the Wichita National Game Reserve. Canada is more fortunate.

In Alberta and the Northwest territories bounded on the north by Great Slave Lake, on the west by the Buffalo river and the Caribou Mountains, on the southeast by the Peace river and on the east by the Slave river, still wild, are what remains of the animals which once occupied great tracts of this country.  It is an interesting remnant of the buffalo of the past for through its isolation and the conditions of environment the animals have become a species by itself known as the Bison Athabascae Rhodes. This subspecies of the animal, once the most magnificent creature of the plains, ranges through forests broken only occasionally by open places, and is known as the wood bison.

Herds Do Not Mingle.

These wood bison of Canada occupy a forested area of about 4,000 square miles and are divided into two herds, which of recent years do not mingle.

During the early part of the summer, the southern band of the animals browses in the northern part of its range, near the Little Buffalo river. Usually, they are divided into small groups of ten or a dozen animals, but in July and August the mating season, they assemble in groups of 20 or 30, and as many as a hundred may be seen together. In August they start southward and spend the winter not far north of the Peace river and Point Providence. Year after year they follow the same trails through the woods, similar to the trails of the bison of the plains. Buffalo wallows are of frequent occurrence along the line of march, and a salt lick shows the presence of animals of all ages, including the calves.

Little Known of Northern Herd.

Less is known of the bison if the northern range, as much of its habitat is country never visited by the white man. It is supposed that there, a herd of about 1,000 buffalo, and that nature of the country they occupy is much the same as the southern range. The wood bison are said to be differentiated from their fellows by their size, which is greater; they are darker in color and the hair is denser and more silky. Dr. William T. Hornaday says that originally the wild bison of this continent formed an immense herd so great that it would be easier to count the leaves of the trees, of a forest than the bison living at any given time in the history of the species previous to 1870. The animals once filled the country from Great Slave Lake, in Northern Canada, to Northern Mexico, and in the southeastern extension to the State of Georgia.