Early Explorers Sighting Buffalo

Buffalo Tracks Researching…..early settlers describe seeing buffalo herds


Back to Buffalo Tracks

Pablo-Allard> Eaton       Goodnight      Corbin     Moosehead/ WC Whitney    Last Bison by State     

Dr Jeff Martin: Whence the Buffalo Roamed: (extend look into early bison)
When and Where Were Bison Roaming During Colonial North America and Before?


Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo Herds)  is a work in progress, (my notes) Some of the misspellings are left in place, were they really misspelled for the time period? The word buffalo was not always used, buffillo, kine, wild beast, oxen, ochsen, wooly cattle, bufalo, all terms for buffalo herds.

This was so interesting to research. You can’t help but put yourself in their place. This was a “New World,” they had no idea what this land contained. Many of them thought about how bountiful the country was and how it could feed their cattle when brought over. Others were after gold and silver. The villages being developed and how they worked together and shared crops. Items they requested to be brought over on the next ship. It was all very primitive yet successful and hardships abound. Hail storms as large as a dinner plate, insects that would drive you mad, etc… Trekking through jungles with machetes, running into Natives, some welcomed them, while other tribes didn’t like being overrun and the taking of the (their) minerals. 

I started in the NE and down the coast and across to the southern states, skipped up to the north, then over to the NW, and headed South. I skipped over researching the Central Plain States, I think we all know it was covered in bison and no one disputes that. 

Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
1554 American Bison Drawing

1500’s American Bison illus. with descriptive text in Spanish 1554 Francisco López de Gómara, La Historia General de las Indians LOC 2006677962

The French traded buffalo skins with the Indians in Newfoundland reported in 1762. Were bison in Newfoundland? **

**Dr. Richardson, writing in 1829, says: “ At the period when Europeans began to form settlements in North America this animal was occasionally met with on the Atlantic Coast,” etc.

**De Kay, writing in 1842, also leaves it to be inferred that the buffalo existed generally along the Atlantic slope south of New York. He says: “ The bison, or American buffalo, has long since been extirpated from this State (New York]; and although it is not at present found east of the Mississippi, yet there is abundant testimony from various writers to show that this animal was formerly numerous along the Atlantic coast, from New York to Mexico.’ (but gives no ref)

**Captain R. B. Marcy, writing in 1853, says: “ Formerly, buffaloes were found in countless herds over almost the entire northern continent of America, from the twenty-eighth to the fiftieth degree of north latitude, and from the shores of Lake Champlain to the Rocky Mountains,” † and also cites a number of supposed references to its occurrence in NEWFOUNDLAND, New England, and

**Mr. Anthonie Parkhurst to Richard Hakluyt, dated 1578, concerning the “ true state and commodities of Newfoundland. ” Parkhurst writes : “ Nowe againe, for Venison plentie, especially to the North about the grand baie, and in the South neere Cape Race and Plesance : there are many other kinds of beasts, as Luzarnes, and other mighty beastes like to camels in greatnesse, and their feete cloven , I did see them farre off not able to discerne them perfectly, but their steps shewed that their feete were cloven , and bigger than the feete of Camels, I suppose them to bee a kind of Buffes which I read to be in the countreyes adjacent, and very many in the firme lande .”

**Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s voyage to this island in 1583. In an enumeration of the ” commodities thereof ” are mentioned “Beasts of sundry kindes, red deare, buffles or a beast, as it seemeth by the tract & foote very large, in maner of an oxe.” In the account of the “first voyage made to the coast of America” by Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, in 1584, it is said that they treated with the Indians for “ Chamoys, Buffe and Deere skinnes”

Captain R. B. Marcy, writing in 1853, says: “ Formerly, buffaloes were found in countless herds over almost the entire northern continent of America, from the twenty-eighth to the fiftieth degree of north latitude, and from the shores of Lake Champlain to the Rocky Mountains,” † and also cites a number of supposed references to its occurrence in NEWFOUNDLAND, New England, and Virginia.

Canada, 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.

Canada,  , 1748, Indians and French in Canada make use of the horns of their creature to put gunpowder in.

Canada,  , 1748, French on the northern Indians, who travel far into the country, they chiefly like the flesh of wild cattle -too cold to grow plants for food

Canada, NW Territories 64 Lat,  , The limit of its northern range is generally stated to be at latitude 60 degrees, but it is sometimes found as far north as 63 degrees or 64 degrees.

Hudson Bay,  , Sept 1748, Skins of the southern parts are chiefly taken wild cattle, Indians ate 

Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, 1615, The skins seen by Champlain in the possession of the savages seem to indicate that the range of the buffalo was probably further east at that period than at the present time, its eastern limit being now about the Red River, which flows into Lake Winnipeg.

Montreal,  , 1681, cloath’d in an old Habit, patch’d up with pieces of wild Bulls-Skins [buffalo hide].

Montreal,  , 1748, Wild Cattle are abundant in the southern parts of Canada, and have been there since times immemorial. They are plentiful in those parts, particularly where the Illinois Indians live, which are nearly in the same latitude with Philadelphia; but further to the north they are seldom observed.

ROBINSON, JOHN, and RISPIN, THOMAS. A Journey through Nova Scotia, containing a particular account of the Country and its Inhabitants; with Observations on their Management in Husbandry; the Breed of Horses and other Cattle, and everything material relating to Farming. To which is added an Account of several Estates for sale in different Townships of Nova Scotia, with their number of acres, and the price at which each is set. By John Robinson, Farmer at Bewholm, in Holderness, and Thomas Rispin, Farmer at Fangfoss, County of York, who sailed for Nova Scotia the 8th of April 1774, from Scarborough, on Board the Ship Prince George. 12mo. London. (48 pp.)

Ontario, Georgian Bay/Huron, 1615, They have as arms only the bow and arrow, made in the manner you see depicted, and which they regularly carry; also a round shield of dressed leather made from an animal like the buffalo.[The shields of the savages of this region may have been made of the hide of the buffalo, although the range of this animal was far to the northwest of them. Champlain saw undoubtedly among the Hurons skins of the buffalo.]

Ontario, Montreal And West?, 1615, All these places abound in game, such as stags, caribous, elks, does, buffaloes, bears, wolves, beavers, foxes, minxes, weasels, and many other kinds of animals which we do not have in France

Quebec,  , 1748, Some have repeatedly got young wild calves, and brought them up in Quebec


Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
The Founder of New France, by Charles W. Colby

Quebec, Cap Rouge, 1543, They (Natives) feed also of stags, wild boars, bugles,’ porkespines, and store of other wild beasts; and there is as great store of fowls as they can desire. [1 Bugles. Buffaloes (Bison Americanas). Porkespines = porcupines.]

 ,  ,  , Several places he mentions skins  of wild beast (buffalo?) 1679-1682



1775 Adair, “The buffalo herds are now becoming scarce. The thoughtless and wasteful Indians used to kill great numbers of them, only for their tongue and marrow bones, leaving the rest of the carcases to the wild beasts”.

Canada, Southern Parts/Lake Superior (Illinois Natives, 1748, Wild Cattle are abundant in the southern parts of Canada, and have been there since times immemorial. They are plentiful in those parts, particularly where the Illinois Indians live, which are nearly in the same latitude with Philadelphia; but further to the north, they are seldom observed.

 In 1786 statistics show that over 705,000 skins were exported from Québec alone, valued at over £203,000.

The primitive range of the buffalo, according to Hornaday, Allen, Seton, and other authorities, wasRoutes travelled by early explorers 1750s confined on the north to a line extending from the western extremity of Lake Superior, in a general north-westerly line, to the southern shore of the Lake of the Woods, thence to the southern end of Lake Winnipeg, and thence to Lake Athabaska. Alexander Henry, the elder, traveled from Grand Portage to Lake Winnipeg in 1775, but says nothing about buffalo; nor do any later travelers over the same route. In his Account of the Countries adjoining Hudson Bay (1744),
however, Arthur Dobbs gives the narrative of Joseph La France, who traveled from Grand Portage to Lake Winnipeg in 1740, and who reports buffalo along Rainy River, and even as far east as Grand Portage. La Vérendrye’s statement may probably be taken in a broad sense as referring to the country of the Sioux and Assiniboin, south of the Winnipeg River, but not necessarily in its immediate neighborhood. That would embrace a district unquestionably within the known range of the buffalo. On the incalculable numbers of the buffalo, up to the close of the period of French
Rule in Canada, and for nearly a century thereafter.


Alabama, Russell Co,  Aug 1739,  (Creek Town)Oglethorpe’s men observed Creek men hunting turkeys, deer, geese, and buffalo.

Alabama,  ,  , Another Creek Town- white hunters observed that the Indians “spend much time in hunting deer, turkeys, and bison

Alabama,  , 1740’s, Accounts of fairly large buffalo herds continued


Alabama, Dothan, 1686, In the vicinity of the first-named stream they observed many buffaloes and bears.

Alabama, Elmore Co, 1686, There also we began to encounter buffaloes (Cibolas) which are a kind of animal resembling cows.

Georgia /Alabama,  , 2007, To date, no bison (Bison ssp.) remains have been identified on Lower or Upper Creek sites in Georgia or Alabama. Although there are abundant historical references to buffalo and wild cattle throughout the eastern United States beginning in the 1500s, very few buffalo remains have been recorded from archaeological sites in Georgia.

Alaska,  ,  ,  

Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
Buffalo Drawing 1699 LOC-A new discovery of a vast country in America Louis Hennepin, London

Arizona, AZ-NM, 1539, Gila Valley- Zuni Indians traded buffalo hides with Gila Valley Indians

Arkansas, Batesville, 1541, Indians presented 2 ox hides from 5 or 6 leagues north where there were many

Arkansas, Gomara, 1541, Many Ox hides with wool on them, many toward the north

California,  ,  , Early Explorers Sighting Bison

Colorado,  ,  , Early Explorers Sighting Bison

Connecticut,  ,  ,Early Explorers Sighting Bison

Delaware,  ,  , Early Explorers Sighting Bison

Florida, Jackson Co, 1686, Marcos Degado, The Occurrence of Bison in FL

Florida, Santa Rosa Island, 1693, Boyd 1936 , 1937 Swanton 1938

Florida, East Florida, 1773-74, John Bartram

Florida, Leon Co, 1716, 300 Buffalo herd, Diego Pefia 1716 journey to the country of the Apalachicola-Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
LOC Geography and Map Division

Florida, Washington, 1250-1540, Archaeologically, the Chacato were a chiefdom of the “Late Mississippian” era (A.D.1250-1540). Research at Chacato village sites reveals they lived by both hunting and farming. Their favorite game foods included bison (buffalo), deer, bear, opossums and raccoons. They grew corn, squash, melons and other crops in their fields, gathered nuts, berries and roots from the woods and fished in the rivers, ponds and creeks of their territory.

Florida, Chipola, 1686, He mentions a large spring, evidently Blue Spring, and a stream apparently the Chipola river. A short distance west of this river he records the extremely interesting observation that here they began to encounter buffaloes, which he states are a kind of animal resembling cows. This is the only record of these interesting animals ever having been observed within the limits of the present state of Florida.

Florida,  , Dec-54, Sherman, H. B. ( U. Fla . ) THE OCCURRENCE OF BISON IN FLORIDA.

Georgia,  , 1715-1836, Very few buffalo remains have been recorded from archaeological sites in Georgia

Georgia, Boones Co, 1873, Charles C Jones found a well preserved skull with horns identifided Bison bison

Georgia, Chathum Co, 1600 a.d., Bones identified as Bison bison dated 1600 a.d. Irene Mound 1941

Georgia, Ochlocknee River, 1716, Diego Pena entered Georigia in a buffalo hide boat

Georgia,  , Sept 1716, Diego Pena reported killing both cattle and buffalo in S. Georgia and slept on buffalo skins at an Indian village near the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers

Georgia,  , 1733, James Oglethorpe noted wild animals in Georgia included deer, elk, bears, wolves, and buffalo

Georgia, Darien, 1735, Reported Buffalo Hunts

Georgia, Laurens Co, July 1739, Several buffalo herds numbering 60 or more animals were hunted west of the Oconee River

Georgia, Screven, 1739, Oglethorpe’s men also hunted buffalo on the Ogeechee River-described them as plentiful

Georgia,  ,  , Eastern buffalo herds usually numbered 100 head or less; many numbered around 20 animals.

Georgia, Brunswick, 1800, Last known “wild buffalo” in Georgia was killed in 1800 on the Turtle River near Brunswick

Georgia, All,  , Allen (1876) was the earliest researcher to include northwestern and northeastern Georgia in the bison’s range. Hornaday (1889) extended the range to include most of the northern half of Georgia. Swanton (1969:324-328) in 1946, Roe (1970:204) in 1951, and Rostlund (1960:405) in 1960, all concluded that bison ranged throughout Georgia. Hall and Kelson (1959) included all of Georgia except the coastal area in the bison’s range. Neuman (1983:265, 274) alone concluded that the range of bison did not extend into Georgia, nor the rest of the southeastern United States, based exclusively on a review of archaeological data.

Idaho, Boise area North, 1860’s, The end of autonomous life for the Shoshone and Bannock is found in the 1860s, with the disappearance of the buffalo and the beginnings of Mormon settlement in the Bear River Valley.

Idaho, SE, 1824, There he established a snug camp near a convenient buffalo herd. (Little Lost River and Salmon)

Idaho,  , 1843, The Valley at Fort Hall had once a great resort for buffalo, skulls everywhere

Idaho/Oregon, Upper Snake River, 1835-36, Great numbers had nearly disappeared by 1841

Illinois, Kankakee River, 1679 est, For at this season the buffalo had traveled south(Robert De La Salle: 1643-1687 Mississippi Valley)

Illinois,  ,  , Stray buffalo was found stuck in a marsh, captured with ease. Illinois?

Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
Credit: historymuseum.ca

Illinois, N of Utica after Ft Miamis, 1679, Louis Hennpin talks about Indians setting fire to the plains to trap bison

Illinois, Peoria, 1679, Found one Bull trapped in the mud, they killed and ate him. Found plains burned for wild bulls.

Illinois,  , 1679, General talk of how Northern Tribes used and treated bison. Women spun the wool. But these Creatures multiply in such a manner, that notwithstanding the great Numbers they kill every Year, they are as numerous as ever.

Illinois, Northern, 1539-1541, Soldiers of Hernando De Soto saw buffalo. They saw bison skins in the possession of Native Americans at Pacaha in northeastern Arkansas and in central Tennessee

Illinois, Milroy Lat 41, 1673, We call them wild cattle because they resemble our domestic ones. They are not longer, but almost as bulky again and more corpulent. Our men killed one, and the three of us could move it only with great difficulty. The head is very large, the forehead flat and a half yard broad between the horns, which resemble exactly those of our oxen, but are black and longer. A large crop hangs down from the neck, and there is a high hump on the back. The whole head, neck, and part of the shoulders are covered with a great mane like a horse’s; it is a foot long and gives them a hideous appearance, and as it falls over the eyes prevent their seeing straight ahead. The rest of the body is covered with a coarse curly hair like the wool of our sheep, but much stronger and thicker. This is shed every summer, and then the skin is as soft as velvet. At this time the Indians employ the skins to make beautiful robes, which they paint with various colors. The flesh and fat are excellent, and furnish the best dish at banquets. They are very fierce, and not a year passes without their killing some Indian. When attacked they take a man with their horns, if they can, lift him up, and then dash him on the ground, and trample him to death. When you fire at them from a distance with gun or bow, you must throw yourself on the ground as soon as you fire, and hide in the grass, for if they perceive the person who fired, they rush on him and attack him. As their feet are large and rather short, they do not generally move fast, unless they are provoked. They are scattered over the prairies like herds of cattle. I have seen four hundred of them in a band.”

Indiana, Prince-town, 1818-1819, The horse which my friend Baker had borrowed for mexwas mean and mis-shapen, but covered with buffalo skins which hide all defects.

Indiana,  , 1818-1819, One-half acre sized Salt lick

Iowa,  , to 1600, which hide all defects. Archeological Inventory & Overview of Pipestone National Monument

Kansas, Lyons/Salina, 1540,  They kill all of these they wish and tan the hides, with which they clothe themselves and make their tents, and they eat the flesh, sometimes even raw, and they also even drink the blood when thirsty.

Kansas, Quirira,  , Coronado through “mighty plains’ “All that way, the plains are as full of crooked-back oxen as the

Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)
Desoto travel map 1539_1543

Mountain Serene in Spaine is of sheep”

Kentucky, Western, 1769, Daniel Boone seeing thousands Western Kentucky-First Settler

Kentucky, Where exactly?, 1755, Lewis Evans’s Analysis of his map-  Kentucky River abounds in cane and buffalo


Louisiana,  , 1724, The Ohio Valley Before White Man Came-The Temple of the Natchez. they pass

around their neck a cord of buffalo hair with a running knot, (burial ceremony) Ohio Valley is an area around the river that encompasses several states. Mortuary rites of a chief or chieftainess of the Nation of the Natchez, in Louisiana.

Louisiana / Mexico  1684-1687 After many explorations up north, LaSalle finally made it down the Mississippi River. He then went home, gathered supplies and headed back for the mouth of the Mississippi, he landed instead in Mexico at the Magdalen River, (Mexico City) where the soil was barren and sandy, and where there was little game. At different times, parties landed, hunted the wild buffalo, and explored the flat and somewhat desolate country. They constructed a fort with the timbers and planks of one of their ships, which floated ashore after the vessel went to pieces, and also with driftwood from the beach. After this was done, the Sieur de La Salle, taking flfty men with him, set out on a tour of discovery, finding a flat game-filled country and a noble river which he called the Vaches, because of the great numbers of wild cows, or buffaloes, seen upon its banks.

Louisiana  -1686- LaSalle when he returned from journeying north and crossing the Colorado River and came back to find his men worn and tattered, he then decided to find one of his traveling companions who headed for the Mississippi, while LaSalle was out exploring the land north. – The proposition was a good one, and La Salle determined to take only the bravest and the strongest; to travel eastward; to reach the Mississippi, and to find, if possible, his brave and noble companion in arms. This was a wonderful trip. The valiant Frenchman and his companions crossed unknown rivers, broad prairies, and flat plateaus. A crocodile seized one of the soldiers by the leg and dragged him to destruction, in one instance; in another, several of the French adventurers were badly gored by buffalo. – 

On the 15th. day of March, 1687, the adventurers came to a place where the Sieur de La Salle had buried a quantity of

La Salle journey map
Credit: historymuseum.ca

Indian corn and beans on his last journey, and he ordered his followers, Duhaut, Hiens, Liolot, Larcheveque, Teissier, Nika, and his footman Saget, to go and bring it away. They found the place, but the corn and the beans were spoiled. Nika was fortunate in killing two buffalo, and the others dispatched.

Saget to inform the commander of this fact, and requested him to send horses for the meat. La Salle, consequently, directed Moraquet, De Marie, and Saget to return with horses and to send back one of them loaded with the flesh of the buffalo, for immediate use, and to wait until the rest was dried. 


Louisiana, Cape Norte,  , 1804 map Find the Journal, man moved here and said 90 degrees west across the river was many buffalo.

Louisiana – Duralde (early 19th century) was hospitably received by a band which he found bucanning meat beside a lake, 4 days’ march w. of the bay; and from the chief, who was not an Attacapa, but a Jesuit, speaking French, he learned that 180, nearly half the Attacapa tribe, were there, thus indicating that at that time the tribe numbered more than 360 persons; that they had a custom of dividing themselves into two or three bodies for the purpose of hunting buffalo, which in the spring went to the west and in the autumn descended into these latitudes; that they killed them with bows and arrows, their youth being very skillful in this hunt; that these animals were in great numbers and as tame as domestic cattle, for “we have great care not to frighten them;” that when the buffaloes were on the prairie or in the forest the Attacapa camped near them “to accustom them to seeing us.”

This tribe was named hatak ‘man’ apa ‘eats’ hence ‘cannibal” by the Choctaw and other tribes in SE Texas. In 1703 two of the three Frenchman whom Bienville sent by way of the Madeline river to discover what nations dwelt in that region, returned and reported that they had been more than 100 leagues inland and had found 7 different nations and that among the last, one of their comrades had been killed and eaten by the savages.

Maine, Coast, 1602, He anchored and was presented skins of wild beast

Maine, Coast, 1602, J. Brereton went to see Maine on the urging of Gosnold, he was present all furs & beast unknown to them

Maine,  , 1602, Indians offered his saylor a beard made from wild beast for his on his face

Maine, Penecoast Harbor,  June 1605, Traded with the Indians for skins they knew not what to call them

Maine,  , 1605, GW, describes their arrows very sharp deere bone points(some iron) and arrows much longer & bigger than theirs

Maine,  , 1605, GW describes animals there, beast with horns and broad ears

Maryland,  ,  , Explorers Sighting Bison

Massachusetts,  ,  , Explorers Sighting Bison

Michigan, Rock Island, June 10, 1673, They saw greats herds of buffalo (Father Marquette)

“When we reached the parallel Of 41 degrees 28 minutes, following The same direction, we found that Turkeys had taken the place of game; and the pisikious, or wild cattle, That of the other animals.”

“We call them ” wild cattle,” because they are very similar to our domestic cattle. They are not longer, but are nearly as large again, and more Corpulent. When Our people killed one, three persons had much difficulty in moving it. The head is very large; The forehead is flat, and a foot and a half Wide between the Horns, which are exactly like Those of our oxen, but black and much larger. Under the Neck They have a Sort of large dewlap, which hangs down; and on The back is a rather.high hump, The whole of the head, The Neck, and a portion of the Shoulders, are Covered with a thick Mane Like That of horses; It forms a crest a foot long, which makes them hideous, and, falling over their eyes, Prevents them from seeing what is before Them. The remainder of the Body is covered with a heavy coat of curly hair, almost Like That of our sheep, but much stronger and Thicker. It falls off in Summer, and The skin becomes as soft As Velvet. At that season, the savages Use the hides for making fine robes, which they paint in various Colors. The fiesh and the fat of the pisikious are Excellent, and constitute the best dish at feasts. Moreover, they are very fierce; and not a year passes without their killing some savages. When attacked, they catch a man on their Horns, if they can, toss Him in the air, and then throw him on the ground, after which they trample him under foot, and kill him. If a person fire at Them from a distance, with either a bow or a gun, he must, immediately after the Shot, throw himself down and hide in the grass; For if they perceive Him who has fired, they Run at him, and attack him. As their legs are thick and rather Short, they do not run very fast, As a rule, except when angry. They are scattered about the prairie in herds; I have seen one of 4oo.” Father Marquette

Michigan, Lake Michigan, 1665, South of the Fox River of Lake Michigan principally of Sauks and Kickapoos, with an occasional mixture of Potowotamies and Miamis

Minnesota,  ,  , Explorers Sighting Bison

Mississippi,  ,  ,  Explorers Sighting Bison

Mississippi River,  , March 15 1687, La Salle hidden corn  & beans from previous trip found spoiled, killed two buffalo

Missouri, St Louis, 1822, From above, flatboats, keelboats, pirogues, canoes, and rafts floated down with cargoes of lead, lumber, wheat, whisky, pork, and the staple furs and buffalo robes.

Montana, Musselshell, 1822, Our houses being finished we were well prepared for the increasing cold. When the weather had at length become extremely cold and the ice strong and firm across the River we were astonished to see the buffalo come pouring from all sides into the valley of the Missouri and particularly the vast Bands that came from the north and crossed over to the south side on the ice. We therefore had them in thousands around us and nothing more required of us than to select and kill the best for our use whenever we might choose…

Nebraska,  ,  , early explorers seeing buffalo

Nebraska, Ft Atkinson, 1824, Great herds of buffalo were crossing the river. (Platte)

Nevada,  ,  , early explorers seeing buffalo  -1970’s bones site found in Cathedral Gorge State Park is located in Lincoln County, Nevada, about 260 km (160
miles) northeast of Las Vegas, near the town of Panaca. Bones are thought to be from 400 to 1000 years old.  The caves about 20 miles from this site, they found bison bones and native tools from 7000 years ago. (scientific site dig)

New Hampshire,  ,  ,  

New Jersey,  ,  ,  

New Mexico, Zuni/Cibola SW NM Ribera, 1540, “ they met with a new kind of oxen, wild and fierce, whereof the first day they killed fourscore, which sufficed the army with flesh .” Coronado

New Mexico, East of Cibola, 1540, They brought a present of tanned hides and shields and head-pieces, which were very gladly received

New Mexico, East of Cibola, 1540, They described some cows which, from a picture that one of them had painted on his skin, seemed to be cows, although from hides. his did not seem possible, because the hair was woolly and snarled so that we could not tell what sort of skins they had this did not seem possible, because the hair was woolly and snarled so that we could not tell what sort of skins they had.

New Mexico, Ribera, 1540,  

New Mexico, Santo Domingo, years bef 1835, Canadian River runs NE NM across Tx Panhandle into Oklahoma. A Tewa Indian reported many years ago his father had killed two buffalo at Santo Domingo

New Mexico, Rio Del Norte, 1835, North Central NM. A Mexican said that he had seen buffalo here.(On the Rio Del Norte.

New Mexico, Bernalillo, 1582, “The country was fertile, and bordered on Cibola, where was abundance of kine”

New Mexico,  , 1540, In 1540 Coronado passed near this locality, which was about four days’ journey south of Zuni, and first reported buffalo eight days’ journey northward [northeasts] from Zuni

New Mexico, NE NM, 1823, Head of Cimarron River (they recorded herds of buffalo, antelope, and wild horses)

New Mexico, New Mexico, 1905, Patti -killing buffalo on Cimarron Creek in northeastern New Mexico, but records no more on the journey over the Taos Mountains nor along the Rio Grande Valley or westward

New Mexico,  , 1853, mentions buffalo signs and parties of Indian buffalo hunters near the Canadian River just east of the New Mexico line, but no more traces of the animal west of there

New Mexico,  , 1840, says they no longer ranged west of the Pecos River in either Texas or New

New Mexico, and in 1859 he was informed that there were no buffalo herds in New Mexico, and again in 1876 that none had been found for a long time in any part of New Mexico, although he gives the range of the southern buffalo herd as then occupying northwestern Texas and Oklahoma from the one-hundredth meridian to the eastern line of New Mexico

New Mexico, NE corner, 1884, Four buffalo were killed

New Mexico, Portales, 1899 & 1902, on the plains east of Carlsbad the writer found the old buffalo trails still conspicuous and deep on the well-grassed slopes leading to watering places.

New York,  ,  ,  

North Carolina,  , 1709, John Lawson describes “Plenty of Buffalos”

North Carolina,  , 1748, “The wild Oxen have their abode principally in the woods of Carolina, which are far up in the country. The inhabitants frequently hunt them, and salt their flesh like common beef, which is eaten by servants and the lower classes of people.”

North Carolina, Ashe County, 1728, Young bull with a description of bison and they ate him.

North Carolina, Swannanoa Vly, 1799, Last bison killed by Joeseph Rice

North Carolina, Cape Fear River, 1709, Known some to be killed here-Hilly Part of Cape-Fair-River-John Lawson

North Dakota, Fort Henry, 1822, Our houses being finished we were well prepared for the increasing cold. When the weather had at length become extremely cold and the ice strong and firm across the River we were astonished to see the buffalo come pouring from all sides into the valley of the Missouri and particularly the vast Bands that came from the north and crossed over to the south side on the ice. We therefore had them in thousands around us and nothing more required of us than to select and kill the best for our use whenever we might choose….

North Dakota, Buford, 1822, fine buffalo country

North Dakota, Stanton, 1822, When they came on a buffalo herd the second day after leaving the Ree Villages, it seemed to Jedediah’s unaccustomed eyes “that all the buffalo in the world were running in those plains…. over the hills and plains they moved in deep dense and dark bodies resembling the idea I have formed of the heavy columns of a great army. As they took the wind of the party they ran making the ground tremble with the moving weight of animal life.”

North Dakota, Stanton, 1822, Trading began on the morning of May 31. The wary Ashley kept his boats anchored in the river and ferried his trading goods to the beach in the skiffs. During the day he succeeded in purchasing about nineteen horses and over two hundred buffalo robes, but in the early evening, the trade was suddenly broken off when one of the chiefs wanted to trade for guns and ammunition. The business had gone well to this point, but now things took an ugly turn. Ashley’s men remained under arms all night.


Ohio- see President George Washington’s Buffalo

Ohio, Marietta, 1773, John Heckewelder encountered an Indian friend who had shot a buffalo ox and recounted there are many.

Ohio, Muskingum Co., 1781, Goschochking (town) hunting a tamed buffaloe, when it came to drink, it was shot

Ohio, Columbus, 1766, Mingo Town and the Muskingum, center would be Columbus, Indians Killed several-George Croghan

Ohio, Massac County, 1766, Hunters from this Post may be sent amongst the Buffaloe, any Quantity of whose Beef they can procure in proper Season, etc

Ohio ,  ,  ,  

Oklahoma,  ,  ,  

Oregon, NW/Eastern, 1824, Great number between Snake River and Green River, diminished greatly by 1843

Oregon, Harney Co., Malheur lake, 40 skulls found, believed to be from a burn or death trap

Oregon, Crook Co, Prineville, Ore, skull of a bison was found on Ochoco creek

Oregon, Deschutes, Bend Ore, Bison material has been found in some of the caves near Bend

Oregon, Malheur, 1932, Bison bison Oregonus Bailey, Malheur Lake, 43° 5°N, 119°W Oregon.

Oregon, Blue Mountains,  , Central Ore lead into SE Wa.  Texas History-AAB find source & 1912

Oregon, west side of the Blue Mountains, 1875, “Respecting its former occurrence in eastern Oregon, Prof. O. C. Marsh, under date of New Haven, February 7, 1875, writes me as follows: ‘The most western point at which I have myself observed remains of the buffalo was in 187 on Willow Creek, eastern Oregon, among the foothills of the eastern side of the Blue Mountains. This is about latitude
 44°. The bones were perfectly characteristic, although nearly decomposed.

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Nov. 1748, Inhabitants hunted wild cattle for food

Pennsylvania, Uniontown, mid 1700’s,  General Braddock troopmen recording a salt lick used by Buffaloes etc.

Pennsylvania, Green Cove Spring, 1951, John M Gogin, First pub. record specimen  of Bison bison, humerous, Fort Pupo

Pennsylvania, Susquehanna River, 1698, There are vast Numbers of other Wild Creatures, as Elks, Bufalos, etc.,

Pennsylvania, Erie, 1753, French army came to the heads of Ohio and
 built Fort Preskle on the lake and another fort at the head of Venango Creek, called by the French Le Buff River
built Fort Preside on the Lake, and another fort at the head of Venango

Creek, called by the French Le Buff Rivere.

Pennsylvania, Pittsburg, 1766,  First met a buffalo herd 100 Miles below Fort Pitt, not common until they pass the Sioto

Pennsylvania, Monroe Co., 1766, Buffalo stated as being common here Sioto (Scioto) NE in the state

Puerto Rico,  ,  ,  

Rhode Island,  ,  ,  

South Carolina,  , 1750-1760’s, James Adair and others reported that buffalo had become scarce in the Carolinas

South Carolina, Camden,  ,  

South Dakota, Lyman, 1822, In some parts immense buffalo herds.

South Dakota,  , 1822, “that all the buffalo in the world were running in those plains…. over the hills and
plains they moved in deep dense and dark bodies resembling the idea I have formed of the heavy columns of a great army. As they took the wind of the party they ran making the ground tremble with the moving weight of animal life.”

South Dakota, Close to Kyle, 1822, We packed up [Clyman says] and crossed the White Clay river and proceeded north westernly over a dry roling Country for several days meeting with a buffalo herd) Buffaloe now and then which furnished us with provision for at least one meal each day our luck was to fall in with the Oglela tiribe of Siouxs whare [we] traded a few more horses and swaped of[f] some of our more ordina[r]y.

South Dakota, Vermillion, 1804, From the top of this Mound we beheld a most butifull landscape, Numerous herds of buffalow (buffalo herds)  were Seen feeding in various directions

Tennessee, Knoxville area, 1541, See Virginia- was he in Virginia or Tennessee?

Tennessee, Knoxville area, 1541, Raw Hides to arm horses

Tennessee, Memphis, 1541, Great store of Oxen (Buffalo herds)

Texas,  ,  , Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528  & Hernando de Soto in 1543

Texas, Upper Texas Coast, 1527-36, Oxen there and I saw three times them eat of them. Little Horns, long hair, black/grey

Texas, Galveston, 1528, Inland there are many deer, and birds and beasts other than those I have spoken of. Cattle (buffalo herds) come as far as this. I have seen them three times, and eaten of their meat. I think they are about the size of those of Spain. They have small horns like the cows of Morocco, and the hair very long and flocky like that of the merino. Some are light brown (pardillas) and others black. To my judgment the flesh is finer and fatter than that of this country. The Indians make blankets of the hides of those not full grown, and of the larger they make shoes and bucklers. They come as far as the sea coast of Florida in a direction from the north, and range over a district of more than four hundred leagues, and in the whole extent of plain over which the} run, the people that inhabit near there descend and live on them, and scatter a vast many skins throughout the country.


Texas, Llano Estacado of the Texas Panhandle and adjacent New Mexico, 1540, In a letter dated Oct 20 1541 I found such a quantity of cows in these

It was in the year 1542 that he reached the buffalo country, and traversed the plains that were “full of crooke-_ backed oxen, as the mountaine Serena in Spaine is of sheepe.”Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)

Texas, Lavaca River SW of Houston, 1684, La Salle-river, which he called the Vaches

Texas, South Central, 1684-1687, Frenchman and his companions crossed unknown rivers, broad prairies, and flat plateaus.  . A crocodile seized one of the soldiers by the leg and dragged him to destruction

Texas, South Central, 1684-1687, Several of the French adventurers were badly gored by buffalo.

1815- Tecas and Cenis Natives because of the great numbers of wild cows, or buffaloes, seen upon its banks.

Texas , Gaines Co., 1885, One killed, near the New Mexico line in the western part of Gaines County, Tex


Virginia-Jamestown early 1600’s

Some Panthers, Bufaloes and wild Hogs, which yield equal Pleasure and Profit to the Hunter, are caught up in the Country near the Heads of the Rivers. The reason of there being few Sheep, is because the Country is not yet clear’d of Wolves; all other Beast that are reckon’d wild, do no damage to the Virginians,  flying from the Face of Man whenever they see one; and the Planters, by Pasture Fences secure their Cattle and Hogs from them.


Early Explorers Sighting Bison (Buffalo herds)

MEXICO- see La Salle Louisiana 1684-1687

Mexico, Mexico City, 1519 -1521, Bull  in a cage, (1724 De Solis describes bull)

Mexico, Mexico City,  , Earlier eastern explorers wrote of bison hides being a 1/2 thick and used for shields, also natives made.

Mexico, Mexico City,  , Montezuma’s armory a great number of workmen were employed in making shafts for arrows, grinding flints for points, and in forming all kinds of offensive and defensive weapons. two-handed swords edged with flint, darts, javelins, bows, arrows and quivers, head-pieces, breast-plate, quilted jackets,  impenetrable skins to cover the whole body (buffalo hide?)

Mexico, Chihuahua, Durango, Monterey, Nouvelle Biscaye, 1602, In Mexico, when the Spaniards, ever greedy for riches, pushed their explorations to the north and northeast, it was not long before they met with the buffalo. In 1602 the Franciscan monks who discovered Nuevo Leon encountered in the neighborhood of Monterey numerous (buffalo herds) herds of these quadrupeds. They were also distributed in Nouvelle Biscaye (States of Chihuahua and Durango), and they sometimes advanced to the extreme south of that country.

Mexico, Bexar, 18th century, They concentrated more and more toward the north, but still remained very abundant in the neighborhood of the province of Bexar.

 ,  , 1680, Indians on a buffalo hunt near the Mississippi River

,  ,  , Reed , Erik K. ( Natl . Park Serv . , Santa Fe , N. M. ) BISON BEYOND THE PECOS .

 ,  ,  , Texas J. Sci . 7 ( 2 ) : 130-135 . June 1955