“Copyright 1906, by Everett Harold Baynes, Meriden, N. H.”
Original vintage lithograph postcard, 1906
On Loan From Vintage Photographs
The Coshocton Tribune Jan 5 1906
SOCIETY TO SAVE BISON
Plans of Organization Supported by President Roosevelt
MOVEMENT STARTED AT NEW YORK
……Congress WILL Be Appealed to For as Appropriation to Provide Reservations For Maintaining Herds of Buffalo – American Mammal’s Commercial as Well as Sentimental Value to Be Urged.
……Supported by President Roosevelt and by the leading naturalist of the country, the American Bison society was organized recently at a meeting in New York zoological gardens, Bronx park, says the New York Post.
……The object of the founders is to secure government and individual aid in preserving the bison, which is rapidly becoming extinct in the land where once his breed roved the plains by millions.
……After securing as large a membership and as many contributions as possible, the society will appeal to Congress for an appropriation large enough to provide one or more bison reservations – great tracts of land on which the animals may flourish and multiply. At present there are less than 1000 of them in America outside of zoological gardens, and the owners are private citizens without enclosures of sufficient size to give a buffalo the range he needs. If the government will undertake the solution of the problem, say the naturalist, there will be no difficulty in warding off the destruction of the finest animals now in existence.
……At the meeting in the Bronx, Mr. Roosevelt was chosen honorary president of the society. He had agreed previously to accept the office on condition the active list should be composed of the proper men, and ever since the plan was broached to him by Ernest Harold Baynes he has been enthusiastic over its outcome. The other officers elected were William T Hornaday, president: Professor Charles S Minot of Harvard University and President A. A. Anderson of the Campfire Club of America, vice president: Ernest Harold Baynes, secretary, and Edward Seymour, treasurer.
Speaking of the reasons for the movement to save the bison, Mr. Baynes described several experiments he had made to prove that the animals were superior to domestic cattle as draft beast. He borrowed two baby bulls from the Corbin’s who own a herd of 160 head in New Hampshire, and train them to the yoke. Within a few months they were entirely serviceable and could give points in pulling a load to any oxen of their own age. They were also drilled in single harness, and throughout their rearing were cared for like ordinary calves.
……Once the government has acquired a herd and started to increase its numbers along proper lines, Mr. Baynes says the bison’s ___________ value to the United States will become established. Besides promising well as a draft animal, the buffalo furnishes meat that cannot be surpassed and fur robes that for certain purposes cannot be equaled by those from any other creature. With the breed systematically maintained there could be a large output from time to time for these uses, the animals being distributed throughout the country as fast as they overflowed their reservations.
……Of the sentimental reasons for saving the bison much has been said, but hitherto no practical step has been taken for his preservation. Every one knows how his progenitors, when there were millions of them, serve the Western pioneers for food when no other food was obtainable and gave winter clothing to the first settlers when a buffalo hide was the most easily procured and often the only covering to be had. Even if they were of no commercial worth, as Mr. Baynes says, Americans who know of their part in the countries history should not like to see them effaced from earth.
The danger that the private herds will disintegrate may not be immediate, but it is certain the strength of the breed will gradually diminish unless the animals can have the freedom and wide range their natures require. Besides the herd in New Hampshire, there are large ones in Montana in Texas and similar ones in other western states. The Montana herd, owned by a half Indian named Pablo, is said to be the largest, numbering 225. It is not known, however, that these are all full-blooded. The “cattalo,” which is half domestic cattle and half wild buffalo, has come to be a common animal in the herds, and some owners have made a special effort to raise these crosses, which are noted for their valuable hides.
……In addition to the weakening of the bison from being shut into small inclosures, his owners are hastening his and by selling and occasional head or hide. A buffalo robe these days brings from $150-$200. A head, well mounted cost $800 or $900 in a taxidermist shop. It is no small temptation to the owner when a buyer drops in once or twice a year and offers him fancy prices for a few of the animals.
Mr. Baynes says be appeal to congress for a reservation and an appropriation will be made as soon as possible. In the meantime a committee will confer with President Roosevelt.
The Daily Republican Pa. Sept 14 1906
PRESERVE THE BUFFALO
Ernest Harold Baynes Talks on “Our Grandest Animal.”
Ernest Harold Baynes gave a talk before the Society of Arts on the “American Bison: Our Grandest American Animal.”
……Mr. Baynes is secretary of the American Bison Society, president of which is Theodore Roosevelt and which count among their members the governor general of Canada. The object of this society is to promote a public sentiment that will influence Congress to provide for the perpetuation of the American bison. At present there is a bill before Congress providing for the appropriation of $15,000 for the maintenance of a herd.
……Mr. Baynes said that the bison was the most numerous of all mammals of modern times. The numbers that at one time lived on this continent was in the millions, and it seems remarkable that they could have become almost exterminated in so short a time. There are but two wild herds of buffalo in existence today, one in the Yellowstone National Park and another in Canada. There are a few private herds, but all of these are, without exception, or sale to anyone who will pay a reasonable price.
Before the white men who are responsible for this depletion invaded the West the Indians killed the buffalo themselves, and depended upon the buffalo generally for their living.
……When the white man came they began killing the buffalo, and the Indians were instructed to kill as many as possible and to bring their hides to the trading stations. The white hunters also took up the slaughter and there are white men living today who have killed 10,000 buffaloes with one rifle. There is on record a case where 1500 buffaloes were killed in 15 minutes by a hunting party. Whole herds were exterminated at one time by driving them over precipices, and by corralling and slaughtering them by the wholesale.
……Many people ask if the preservation of the buffalo is of any practical value. In an attempt to answer this question satisfactorily, Esther Baynes has trained two buffaloes to work in harness or under yoke. These animals were exhibited at the Sportsman’s Show last fall and are doubtless remembered by many people. They have been found to be very tractable and fully as strong as oxen.
……Mr. Baynes showed various lantern slides of the domesticated buffaloes drawing various wagons and cards, and in one case drawing a snow plow through snow up to their shoulders. The buffalo hide is very much more valuable than cow hide, and it has been found possible to weave there fur or wool into course cloths. Another valuable use for buffalo is in crossing them with our cattle, and so warming a race that is much stronger, healthier and less susceptible to cattle diseases. The hair of these crosses is also valuable, resembling very closely fine bear fur. -Boston Transcript
The Sun, N.Y. Jan 27 1907
A CHANCE FOR THE BUFFALO
BISON SOCIETY’S EFFORTS TO PREVENT ITS EXTERMINATION
Only About 2000 of the Animals Now Alive – Conditions Which the Society
Thinks Call for Government Action – Breaking Young Buffalo to Harness
……It is estimated that some 2,000 buffaloes are now alive, counting the Canadian herd, estimated to contain 500. Yet it is supposed that at the close of the civil war there were still millions of them on the plains. It is to protect enough of them to prevent the absolute extermination of the species that the American Bison Society was organized.
……The virtual extermination of the species came with almost startling suddenness. Hundreds of men set out to hunt the buffaloes as usual in this season of 1884, to hunt them as they had done in this season of 1883. They could not find any. The buffalo was gone. The parties drove back to the towns empty-handed, wondering what had become of the race of the buffaloes.
……So sudden was the extermination, the and caught the killers themselves unprepared. The Smithsonian Institution was caught without an adequate set of specimens. An expedition under William T. Hornaday had to be sent out in haste to secure the specimens.
……A herd of four hundred animals remained in Yellowstone Park. Poachers have reduced it to eighteen animals. There is one wild herd left in Canada, and the poachers are not allowed to get at it. These animals, perhaps five hundred, range over Peace River country, southwest of the Great Slave Lake. They thrive and propagate, but cannot raise their young.
……The wolf pack’s beset them. No number of wolves dare to try to pull down the bull bison or even the cows, but they ambush the calves. A frisky calf is pretty sure to stray off a few rods from his mother sooner or later. That is when the watchful pack gets at him.
……His throat is torn open in an instant. In the next the parent has charged up to protect him. Too late and the killers have started back for their cover.
At a safe distance they sit on their haunches, lick the blood and hair off their jaws and watch. By and by the bisons move away, to pasture further. The wolves find the Where he has fallen. If the wolves could be exterminated these last wild bison thrive in spite of short pasture and deep snows. But the wolves are doing well. The Canadian bison herd seem not likely to last longer than the present generation.
……The other animals are in captivity. Shows and menageries keep a great part of these. These are besides several herds belonging to Western ranchmen. They total several hundred head.
……In the East there is the Corbin herd, in Blue Mountain Park near Meriden, N .H. This herd of about 130 head has been carefully pure blooded. It is said to be free from the taint, and among captive bison, the crossed with domestic cattle.
The Western herds have been sometimes allowed, sometimes made, to cross with domestic cattle. The younger animals in these herds are, therefore, in most cases likely to be of in pure race. The proportion of pure blooded buffalo and these herds constantly decreasing.
……Such are the conditions making for the final annihilation of the species to-day, according to Ernest Harold Baynes, who is fighting for the bison.
Only eighteen true wild buffalo remain in this country to-day-those in the Yellowstone Park. Of captive animals there are still a number left, mostly those taken before the end of the great killing and their offspring. But these are all exposed to one danger or another.
……The ranch buffaloes breed hybrids. It has become hard to get a pure blooded animal from the ranches. The confined animals In menageries and private shows, if pure, do not breed well. They breed, but deteriorate. Small bones, short legs, loose tendons and large bellies marked the second and third generations.
……The parked buffaloes are the best off. Private herds are permitted to range at large over private reserves. Several such private herds still exist – wealthy people’s fancies.
Well parked, as the Corbin herd in New Hampshire, and the Whitney herd on October Mountain, the animals really thrive: they breed regularly and grow hardy, well formed young. The future of the parked private herds is precarious, though, because they are private. Their existence depends on the fancy of individuals.
……The owner may tire of his pets, or his heirs may not be inclined to maintain them on valuable lands. Their future is uncertain. These are the conditions that have made it seem necessary to Mr. Baynes and his associates to ensure preservation by surer means. They believe that the State or the national Government should provide this means.
……One of the earliest supporters of the movement was President Roosevelt. He lent to the organization of the buffalo preservers, like the American Bison Society, his name as honorary president. W. T. Hornaday of the New York Zoological Park, President David Starr Jordan of Leland Stanford University, Dr. T. S. Palmer of the Biological Survey, Gifford Pinchot and Prof. F.W. Hooper of the Brooklyn Institute are interested in the movement.
……Mr. Baynes has been busy propagating popular interest in the scheme. He believes that besides the usual method of lectures, pictures and writings he has found an original way. He has enlisted the help of the buffaloes themselves.
He secured access to the Corbin herd and borrowed two likely young bull calves. After a year of training, these were driven in team with rains and bit at shows and exhibitions in New England last autumn.
……The bison Wants to fight about an hour after he is born. Training Mr. Baynes bison team was no easy matter. Nobody but a naturalist and student of animals, perhaps, could have done it.
……Mr. Baynes was a sprinter of some form in college days. That also helped. Some of the first lessons consisted in sessions in which the team to be chased him about the lot. The calves had been taken only a few months old, so that no harm came of it.
By-and-by the pair were induced to abide bridle and harness. After a longer while they were taught to obey the rain. The hardest lesson was to teach them not to run away every time they felt frisky.
……For long time the naturalist hanging on in a light wagon behind a team of madly careering bison was a familiar figure on country roads about Meriden and pleasant weather. There were spills now and then, too; but gradually the calves were broken of their habit of running away. They had done it chiefly for deviltry, their master supposes, and not from nervousness such as makes horses run away. Once taught that the trick was in bad form, they became as steady as soldiers, in refused to break step for the reddest devilcarts.
……Mr. Baynes became aware of the merit of his bison team as a means of interesting people by the interest that he found that he was taking in them himself. They were amusing company, and awed combination of playfulness, pugnacity and strength. He had begun on them when they were only a few months old, and not near half-grown. That was the safest age for experimenting with them. They are not yet three years old. Their manners combined the playfulness of the puppy and the strength of the ox. They liked to roll and tumble about, and were quite unaware of their weight and strength.
They had and an adventurous liking for long trips over new roads. An attractive looking road was a temptation for them to take the bit into their teeth. Light footed, they like to pull the naturalist over the steeper mountain roads.
……On one such trip they pulled the driver and another, with the weight of baggage, over one of the neighboring ranges and back, a distance of some thirty miles, New Hampshire measure, and a day. The trip gave them appetites and a longing for home.
When they struck the familiar home trail they disregarded the rule about running away. The expedition reached home in dashing style, with the riders hanging to the wagon for dear life.
……To the animals credit they behaved perfectly at the Boston Sportsmen Show, where they were a great success in their mission of arousing interest.
Mr. Baynes points to what the American Bison Society and its friends have already accomplished and believes that much will be done. The Government has accepted a herd of twelve buffalo and will put them on an area of fifteen square miles set apart on the Wichita a reservation. There they will be taken this year after calving time. They are expected to return to their wild habits and to thrive, with little care. Without mischance they will increase rapidly, the scientists believe. This is the type of colonization which the society aims for.
……Its intention is to secure the planting of similar herds on various Government and State lands. The animals in these colonies are to be virtually at liberty within a large fenced area and to be left to find their own food as far as possible. By this means it is hoped to insure that perpetuation of living examples of the once mighty animal.
The Kansas City March 3 1908
Preserving the American Bison
Ernest Harold Baynes Assumes the Self-Appointed Task of Rounding Up and Preserving All the Buffaloes Now in Existence, the Total Number of Which is 2,039; of These 325 Being Wild – Three Hundred of the Wild Ones Are in Canada – How he “Broke” Two of Them to Harness.
……To preserve a species from extinction is the task which Ernest Harold Baynes has set himself, and this the most interesting, romantic, historical, distinctively American species that ever existed, the American Bison.
Mr. Baynes deliberately set himself the task two or three years ago of preventing the American bison from being swept off the surface of the earth. In that quest he has done a number of unusual things.
Only 2,039 of Species Left.
……For instance, a census of all the American bison left on earth has just been completed at his instance. There are 2039 of them – 325 wild and 1,714 in captivity. Of the wild 25 are in the United States and 300 in Canada. Of the captives 1109 Re: in the United States, hundred and 75 in Canada and 130 in Europe.
With the exception of one large herd there are not many more in the Eastern states then there are in Europe, the bulk in both sections, of course, being in Paris and zoological gardens. The great majority of the bison population of the world is in a few large herds in the West, so that disease might easily sweep off a whole herd, bringing the animal dangerously near extinction.
……Mr. Baynes drives the only team of harness broken bison in the world. In seeking to recuse public interest in the matter he asked the Corbin’s to turn over to him four calves to be raised by hand and received a liberal education. He raise them on the bottle, two domestic cows supplying that nutriment.
Two of them he broke the harness and when they were a-year-old they would open the winter roads after a New Hampshire snowstorm.
“War Whoop” and “Tomahawk.”
……Mr. Baynes took his team around two sportsmen’s shows and agricultural fairs. He issued a standing challenge against anything of their own age in a pulling contest, and against anything of age in domestic cattle in a speed contest. He never got a taker for the polling, but one day at a fair in Maine he found a taker for the speed contest in a young steer which had been broken to sulky. The to little buffaloes had received the gentle names of War Whoop and Tomahawk. War Whoop was chosen for the race. At the go the startled steer felt a cyclone pass. He caught one glimpse of War Whoop’s vanishing tail, and that was the last he saw of him until he reached the grandstand, where War Whoop stood wearing a board expression which indicated that and idle life did not agree with him.
……Mr. Baynes has discovered totally new use for buffalo, which may sometime develop an important new industry in the United States. In spring they shed their coat. It comes out in great handfuls, and they could be shared like sheep by the application of a little ingenuity. Mr. Baynes took a few handfuls of wool from War Whoop and Tomahawk – strictly with their consent – and submitted it to the proprietor of a woolen mill.
……“We’ll try it,” said the proprietor, “Baynes is a friend of mine, and I’d like to show him something.”
……His foreman went away and when he came back said: “Well, I’ll be hanged if that stuff a felted as hard as a brick.”
……“If this proves durable,” said the manager to Mr. Baynes, “you found something of value to commerce.”
Asked Government to Fence Preserve
……Mr. Baynes made the peace of stuff into a pair of driving gloves and after two winners use they showed not a single sign of where. The material is stronger, grade for grade, then sheep’s wool. A woolen manufacture in Worchester, Mass., offered to make up 500 pounds of the wool free of charge purely for the interest in the experiment, but is to Baynes has yet no way to furnish the wool.
In December, 1905, Mr. Baynes, who had spent several years rousing public sentiment on the matter, organized the American Bison Society, which now has 700 members. It includes many of the leading naturalist, sportsmen and public man of the country, but curiously enough the person who has given the most money to further its work is a woman.
……The society is preparing a bill to be introduced at the present session of Congress asking the government to fence a preserve in a suitable place and establish a herd. A similar bill was introduced in the New York State legislature in 1907, past, and then vetoed by Gov. Hughes.