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Mar 25th, 2012
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Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison #7016419
12/30/17 02:52 AM
12/30/17 02:52 AM
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so i'm currently on a mission to separate fact from "fake fact" as I believe more and more the history we have been fed from gradeschool on is severely tainted with inaccuracies and downright lies to push an agenda. reading a lot about the native americans and their interactions with pioneers and settlers. The history I'm finding often is in severe contradiction with what is known to be common knowledge and accepted as fact.



One thing I'm researching is the story of the buffalo ( I know its actually a bison but we are going to call it buffalo from here on out, its my thread and i'll say what I want)

There were estimates between 30 to 60 million buffalo roaming the plains and foothills when the white man arrived in the west. its accepted as fact that the buffalo were slaughtered for their hides and to eliminate a food source for the Indians until there were only 300 buffalo remaining, mostly in Yellowstone.

If you look at the numbers you will see how ridiculous this is. I doubt seriously there were 60 million bullets in existence in the 1880's, let alone all wasted on buffalo.

Most estimates say that people killed 10 million buffalo during the huge slaughter, so even if there were only 20 million buffalo and we killed 1/2 of them, that still leaves 10 million breeding buffalo that in theory would add 3-5 million new buffalo each year. you cannot argue the fact that hide hunters killed a extreme number of buffalo with rifles but what happened to the rest of the buffalo and what actually did them in?



Discussion topic: Do you believe that hunters actually killed all but 300 of the est. 20-60 million buffalo or do you think other things, like bovine tuberculosis, did them in moreso than hunters ever could? Or, could it be that estimations were incorrect ( maybe only 5 million exist, we know 1880's animal census was nowhere near as accurate as it is today) and we did actually kill them off with gunpowder and lead










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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016443
12/30/17 03:09 AM
12/30/17 03:09 AM
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I've read other articles that point out that it had to be a massive disease that actually wiped out the buffalo.

But that doesn't fit our self-loathing, white Christian males raped and destroyed the country, agenda. I'm not saying that the hunters had a benign impact, but the numbers, even if grossly over estimated, don't add up.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: Creekrunner] #7016447
12/30/17 03:16 AM
12/30/17 03:16 AM
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Wolfe City, TX
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Originally Posted By: Creekrunner
I've read other articles that point out that it had to be a massive disease that actually wiped out the buffalo.

But that doesn't fit our self-loathing, white Christian males raped and destroyed the country, agenda. I'm not saying that the hunters had a benign impact, but the numbers, even if grossly over estimated, don't add up.


Plausible.



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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016460
12/30/17 03:28 AM
12/30/17 03:28 AM
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Topic that never crossed my mind


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016472
12/30/17 03:37 AM
12/30/17 03:37 AM
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The extirpation of the bison in the 15 year period following the civil war is well documented.

1)You don’t have to kill them all;
2)You don’t have to kill them all with bullets and rifles.

In many species, once populations get thin enough/separated enough, they go down and, finally, away. The very survival of the bison in such numbers owed its very existence to the numbers themselves and the symbiotic relationship the great herds and their migration had with the Great Plains and the Southwest Plains.

Same thing happened with just about every other large or otherwise useful mammal (and many birds and entire fisheries) in the U.S. before protections were put in place. We almost lost them all. We did lose a few.

You can read and learn about the details of all this - it is more complex than can be easily explained or otherwise speculated about in a forum thread.

But, yes, it happened. And, yes, we did it. That’s not “white guilt” or any other speculative mess talking. It’s just historical fact. Other cultures have done the same across the globe with many other animal populations (black, yellow, brown).


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016521
12/30/17 04:02 AM
12/30/17 04:02 AM
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No, of course not. Hunters did not decimate the population that bad. But then again, hunters didn't have to before pushing the population to near extinction. The Buffalo is relatively slow to reproduce. Once the population is no longer able to reproduce at a rate greater than its mortality, extinction is inevitable unless the pressure to the population is removed. Think about it. Every cow that was slaughtered represented a minimum of three generations. You could not select a North American mammal more susceptible to extinction by massive predation than the Buffalo; huge congregations with predictable migrations.

Preceding the decimation of the Buffalo (and not by much) was the plight of the Passenger Pigeon. Could avarian epidemic have wiped out the Pigeon, possibly. But what a coincidence. Both species congregated in massive numbers with predictable migrations exploited by hunters. Interesting topic to say the least.

Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016541
12/30/17 04:18 AM
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Just about every large edible mammal in the lower 48 in addition to many edible/commercial bird and fish species were in dire straits at the turn of the 20th century.

There’s no coincidence in that fact.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016544
12/30/17 04:21 AM
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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016546
12/30/17 04:22 AM
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I've often wondered about this myself. I know white hunters killed an awful lot of buffalo, but the sheer numbers are hard to wrap my head around. I've also read over the years that the native Americans killed many more buffalo than we were led to believe many years ago. The popular narrative was always that the native Americans only killed enough to satisfy their immediate needs, but many sources since then challenge that theory and claim they actually killed a lot of buffalo that were wasted. I do believe the white buffalo hunters at least heavily contributed to the buffalo's demise, but I'm not so sure they had the impact I thought they did when I was a kid.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016548
12/30/17 04:25 AM
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Probably a little of everything. Hunting, disease, bad population estimate.

Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016549
12/30/17 04:26 AM
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There was no refrigeration, a lot of fresh meat went to waste, they did not set up camo and make a ton of dried jerky. There was also a lot of hide hunting, most of that meat was wasted.


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016563
12/30/17 04:35 AM
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Here us a good read about Texas and the buffalo. https://allaboutbison.com/bison-in-history/texas-history/

It is long, but a lot of good information is in the link.


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: Walkabout] #7016587
12/30/17 04:51 AM
12/30/17 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted By: Walkabout
No, of course not. Hunters did not decimate the population that bad. But then again, hunters didn't have to before pushing the population to near extinction. The Buffalo is relatively slow to reproduce. Once the population is no longer able to reproduce at a rate greater than its mortality, extinction is inevitable unless the pressure to the population is removed. Think about it. Every cow that was slaughtered represented a minimum of three generations. You could not select a North American mammal more susceptible to extinction by massive predation than the Buffalo; huge congregations with predictable migrations.

Preceding the decimation of the Buffalo (and not by much) was the plight of the Passenger Pigeon. Could avarian epidemic have wiped out the Pigeon, possibly. But what a coincidence. Both species congregated in massive numbers with predictable migrations exploited by hunters. Interesting topic to say the least.


Bison are not slow to reproduce. In normal range conditions they have a calf every year. The original post stated that there weren't 60 million bullets. They made their bullets in the field.

Indian's killed many more bison than they could use by running them over bluffs. I live on "Boneyard Draw". One of the thousands of bison jumps. I raise bison so I know their reproductive capabilities.

It might not be comfortable to believe, but bison hunters who only used the tongues and hides did in fact kill the majority of bison in north America. Regardless of what that number was.


Crotchety old bastidge
Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7016593
12/30/17 04:59 AM
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The arc of historical and scientific research has been bending towards more factual and detailed accuracy over the last century.

If you desire to separate “fact” from “fake fact”, the way to do that is to educate oneself on whatever the subject at hand is - by immersing oneself in the writings of those respected in the fields that touch on the questions. In this case, men like Grinnell, Leopold, Roosevelt, and any number of naturalists, historians, etc. who have written on the subject. They are all in general accord on the immense impacts of commercial hunting, habitat loss, competition/disease from domestic animals, and the negative consequences of industrialization on native wildlife from, say, 1870 through the mid-20th century.

The way not to do that is to assume “agendas” behind every curtain, assign your own “facts” or accept others’ “facts” with agendas of their own (promoting a certain worldview perhaps) , and then speculate about what happened without factual basis to do so.

Assuming “agendas” behinds every curtain is, in and of itself, an “agenda”. And it often leads to uneducated, unsupported, and un-factual speculative conclusions. In fact, as we may find out, this may be the most harmful “agenda” of all - because it allows folks to disbelieve whatever they want to and then believe whatever they want to - facts be d*mned.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7017061
12/30/17 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie

Assuming “agendas” behinds every curtain is, in and of itself, an “agenda”. And it often leads to uneducated, unsupported, and un-factual speculative conclusions. In fact, as we may find out, this may be the most harmful “agenda” of all - because it allows folks to disbelieve whatever they want to and then believe whatever they want to - facts be d*mned.



Agreed. But we cannot deny that certain facts have been "left out" when historical events were documented.

Point in fact, its commonly touted that Indians only took what they could use and never wasted anything, everything was taken when an animal was killed. This has been drilled into the minds of every kid when studying American history.

Well if you do some research, you will find that Indians killed great numbers of buffalo (as the rancher had mentioned, sometimes by running them off cliffs) and did not utilize all of the meat. A lot of Indians needed the skins for tipi's, clothing, etc. and a lot of buffalo were killed by Indians for their hide and tongues and the rest left on the prairie. not that there is anything wrong with that, but that is a story that is never told, thus facts were "left out" when it pertains to history.


My questions is not whether the hunter killed off all the buffalo....no denying that they killed millions. but did they really do it all single handedly or did disease, range conditions, etc. play as great a role in reducing their numbers as bullets did?


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017110
12/30/17 06:00 PM
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Quote:
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati, Ohio
Nov 23, 1878
THE DOOM OF THE BUFFALO
Wiping out the Shaggy Monsters that Roam on the Plains – The Butchery in Northern Texas – An Englishman’s Experience – Killing the Bison For His Hide – The Life of a Professional Buffalo Hunter – Three Seasons on the Plains – How the Hides are Cured – Pickling the Tongues – Fearful Fate of a Horse Thief.
[New York Sun.]
Forty years ago the trappers of the Western plains sold the pelts of beavers, otters and _____ and killed the bison only for food. Myriads of these shaggy monsters roamed the prairies. Washington Irving, in his “Tour on the Prairies,” sought a herd boundless and undulating as an ocean, all surging northward. They were two days and nights in crossing the Smokey Hill River. There was then a limited market for buffalo hides, and the herds were hunted by the Indians only. They dried the meat for winter use, and use the skins for tepees and blankets. Uncounted millions of the animals wintered in the parks of the Rocky Mountains and on the fertile plains of northern Texas. The cows calved in April and by the 1st of May the shaggy _____ were headed for the Missouri. They advanced northward with the season, browsing upon the sprouting, juicy grasses. They crossed the Missouri River and ran away up into British America. With the approach of winter they swept back into the sunny parts of the Rocky Mountains and spread themselves over the plains of Texas.
The discovery of gold in California (1848) opened a pathway to the Pacific, and this pathway opened a permanent market for buffalo hides. The settlement and rapid development of Kansas and Nebraska forced the herds back toward the mountains. Then gold was found near Pikes Peak (1859), and a _______ of emigration poured into Colorado. Beaver, otter and furred animals began to disappear, and the brawny Kansas buffalo hunters took the place of the half bred Canadian trapper. Millions were killed for their hides alone. The vast herds began to scatter. 10 years later the laying of the Pacific Railroad’s force them from the line of the Platte and Arkansas into northern Texas on the south, and Wyoming and Dakota on the north. The professional hunters followed and for years reap a rich harvest. But the rush of gold seekers to the Black Hills in the settlements along the line of the Northwestern Pacific Road are driving the northern columns into British America, and the development of northern Texas is exterminating the southern columns. Experienced hunters predict that within eight years not a buffalo will be left in Texas.
BROWNING’S CONTRACT
Mr. James Graham, and English man who spent four years hunting them on the plains of Texas, graphically details his experience. He came to America when a boy, determined to work his way out to the plains and become, if possible, the chief of a tribe of Indians. His experience with the savages near Fort Still changed this intention, and he went down into Texas and began to teach school. “In October, 1873,” he says, “I hunted myself in Jacksboro, Jack County, northern Texas. It is near Fort Richardson. I was out of employment, and living from hand to mouth. One day a party of Cowboys road in from the other side of the Brazos , and said buffalo were coming in from the north so sick that they were eating up the range. The country was black with them, and the boys were compelled to drive in the cattle. This news was confirmed by a herder named Browning, who drove through town with 800 cattle, cursing and swearing, and roaring at his luck generally. There were no professional buffalo hunters in the country, although the buffalo were so thick that Browning allowed he could kill from fifty to seventy-five a day. He made a contract with one McKibben, a merchant, to deliver 1000 hides within three months at $2 a piece, the value to be taken out in trade. Browning swore that he would kill them all within fifty miles of Jacksboro. He turned his cattle hands out on horseback, and sent out his wagons. There was not an expert among them. They sailed into the herd head first, using no judgment, and in less than three days had scared the buffalo so that they left the range. The net result was twenty or thirty hides. Browning returned to Jacksboro and threw up his contract in disgust. He drove his cattle out on the abandoned range and resumed the life of a herder.
One Shaw owned two ox teams that had been employed in grading the railroad from Dallas to Fort Worth. Work had given out and the teams were idle. Two men, Hawes and Frantz, also owned yolks of oxen that were eating off their heads. They clubbed in with Shaw, and arranged for a buffalo hunt. I had had considerable experience on the plains, and was employed by Shaw as a killer. Hawes in Frantz killed for themselves. Two men, named Putter and Davis also joined us. A band of Comanches were raiding the frontier, and we combined for natural protection. Three months provisions, a keg of whiskey and several hundred rounds of ammunition were thrown into the wagons. Armed with needle guns, we left Jacksboro on a bright sunny morning, and traveled due West. The country was well wooded until we reached Fort Belknap, a deserted military post. We kept a sharp lookout for the Comanches; for, just before we left Jacksboro, a man was killed and scalped across the creek from town, not 300 yards from Fort Richardson.
“After leaving the timber, we camped in an open country, fifteen miles from Fort Belknap and two miles from the Rio Brazos. That evening an old buffalo bull straggled into camp. The trouble was not in killing, but in eating him. He was so old that is hide was worthless. His flesh was as tough as shoe leather. The old fellow had been driven from the herd by the younger bulls, and was forging on his own hook. Wolves were on his track, and would soon have run him down.
EAGLE SPRING
“About the middle of the second day we encamped on the Millers Creek, a branch of the Rio Brazos. The grazing was good. There were no ranches within thirty miles. We saw small bunches of buffalo among the low hills. It was a good sign. Herds of deer, flocks of turkeys, and schools of fish promised and ample variety of food. Potter, Davis and myself rode out six miles toward the Brozos, and found immense herds of buffalo. We stopped at Eagle Spring, the other side of the River. This spring gushes from the riverbank, making a small gully. It is nearly level with the River. At this time the river was very low. Half the sand bars were above water. The spring got its name from a great nest built in the top of a cottonwood tree by a colony of Eagles. These birds began to tear up the carcasses of deer and buffalo before we could skin them. I finally loaded a carcass with strychnine and poisoned the whole colony.
“The water of the Brazos at this point,” said Graham, “was brackish and unpalatable. It was made so by the junction of the Salt Fork of the river, a few miles above. No matter how dry the season, the spring never failed. The banks of the river near it were trodden down, and we could see that herds of buffalo were drinking there every night. We rode out on the divide between the Wichita and the Brazos and found a thick net of buffalo paths leading toward the spring. We made a permanent camp, pitching our tent on the river sands to the left of the gully, so close that we could hear the buffalo come in at night, but not so close as to disturb them. Then we cleaned out the spring. The water bubbled up with redoubled force, and dotted the sand of the River with fresh pools. Before we found the spring we had killed from fifteen to twenty buffalo. Word was sent back to Hawes, and his Skinners were quickly at work. We tried to induce him to come over to our camp, but he allowed that rolling stones gathered no moss, and he thought the buffalo were thick enough on Millers Creek to pay him.
“We spent the first day in making pegs for stretching hides, putting up the tent, and gathering buffalo chips and driftwood for fire. The banks of the river were fringed with bushes, but aside from the lone cottonwood, there was no standing timber. We dug a fireplace in the bank, and prepared for business. Are oxen were bellied and hobbled, and turned loose on the nutritious grasses of the river bottoms. We ate broiled venison for supper. After pipes and coffee we turned in. An hour after word I heard a dashing and a splashing in the spring. A band of buffalo was pouring over the bank. I could hear their low murmur of satisfaction as they sucked up the freshwater. The bank was crumbling beneath their feet and falling to the sand. As we were camped to the leeward, the herd did not wind us. It was a cloudy night. I got up in my shirt tail, took my gun, and ran along the edge of the bank toward the spring. Dark masses of the animals were clustered on the white sands below me, drinking from the little pools of fresh water. They saw me, and scattered. Most of them scrambled up the path leading to the top of the bank, and others darted over the sands. As it was too dark to shoot with any degree of certainty. I returned to camp.
“The next morning, bright and early, we were at work. We found a herd feeding on the prairie within two miles of camp. I crawled on my hands and knees to leave word and began to pick them off. I shot several under the fore-shoulder, giving the ball a slight range forward. This is really the only infallibly vital spot. Greenhorns may riddle an old bull with bullets, and he will stand and shake his head as though bumblebees were buzzing around his ears, and never drop; but one bullet planted by a professional is worth more than a score sent from the gun of an amateur. Well, before noon we had killed twenty-seven . In the afternoon we skinned these and hauled the green hides to camp.
AMBUSHING THE HERDS
“Eagle Spring was our headquarters nearly two months. The country was ridged with sand hills covered with coarse grass affording a fair cover while crawling on the herds. Large bunches of the animals were ambushed. We hid ourselves under the banks of the river, and shot them down as they came for water. This was done so often that they became suspicious. They approached the bank, headed by an old bull, with the herd strung out behind him in Indian file. On reaching the edge of the bank, the bull looked carefully up and down the river to see if the coast was clear. If satisfied, he turned back to the file leaders, indicating that it was all right, and dashed over the bank. The file followed without hesitation. If, however, the bull’s suspicions were aroused, he gazed at the suspicious objects as though shouting his eyesight. Then he turned his head toward the herd, as though disliking the outlook. Satisfied, after another reconnaissance, that there were good grounds for alarm, he viciously whisked his tail. The herd understood the signal. There was an instant stampede. They scattered fan-like, stopping at a distance of two to three hundred yards. There they turned about, apparently to see if there was any cause for running at all, but invariably continued their retreat until miles away from the supposed danger.
“One day, “ continued Graham,” I was lying under the bank of the river when a herd of buffalo approached. Contrary to all precedent, they were led by frisky young calves, who broke over the bank without stopping to reconnoiter. Had I retained my original position; the whole bunch would have trampled over me. I lay in the long grass and saw what was coming. As I got to my feet this stream divided and swept to the right and left. Through the dust I saw an old cows head within 3 feet, and let her have it under the fore shoulder. The impetus with which she was moving was so great that she pitched dead upon the sands at the brink of the river, three rods away. A calf was the next victim. It screwed it’s tail as the bullet struck it and followed the cow to grass. I next blazed away at the ”spike” a three-year-old bull. The first shot was ineffectual. He ran up the River about 100 yards. I kept at his heels and brought him down with the second bullet. By this time the bunch was much scattered. Many animals crossed the river, and others ran down the stream and regained the bluffs below. It was after dark when the slain buffalo were skinned and the green pelts were staked to the ground.
AND INDIAN RAID
“At Eagle Springs, “ Graham said, “we took 475 hides. The killings, skinning, stretching and packing took up all our time. After the hides were sunned they were sometimes wet by rains. This gave us much trouble as to preserve them we were forced to overhaul and re-dry them. After December 20th Shaw, Welsh, Frantz and Potter loaded the wagons with dried hides and started for old Fort Belknap. The Fort was abandoned, but they meant to pile the skins in a ruined guardhouse, where was thought they would be safe and undercover. Davis and myself were left in camp with a horse and two mules.
“On the evening of the 23rd I killed a deer, taking the hide and hindquarters. The next day I saw the tracks of a wildcat around the carcass. I could see that he had enjoyed his meal. Than seen that he might return on the following evening I took cover and lay for him. Toward dusk I saw the cat snaking along the bank of the river, but, unfortunately, he discovered me at the same time and did not come within gunshot. On my return to camp I was spotted by four Indians, who were hidden by the low sand hills. At all events that night the horse and mules were unhobbled and stolen. The sands were covered with moccasin tracks. We trace them up and found where the Indians had lain behind the sand hills and watched my wildcat venture. Our tent open toward the river, and a wagon covered the entrance. This was fortunate, for had the situation been different the savages might have shot us while we lay in our blankets. We followed their trail to the Wichita, many miles away, but never recovered the stock.
THREE INFURIATED BULL’S
“A funny incident occurred a few days before the mules were stolen. I had been out among the sand hills, and had planted seven bullets in an old bull. He was a tough old fellow, but was finally brought to his knees. I thought he would surely die, and wasted no more ammunition. On returning to camp I told Davis where he lay, and he and Welsh said that they would take his hide early in the morning. That night the wolves scented the old fellow’s blood, and made an assault on him. He fought like a tiger, and would have gone under had not two other bulls come to the rescue. All night long they kept the wolves at bay. In the morning Welsh and Davis went out to look for the wounded bull. I was going up the River, but pointed near where he lay, and told them they would find him in a little hollow near the sand hills. Welsh took his needle gun and went on foot, and Davis followed, mounted on a mule, taking a swingle, or whiffletree, to drag the green hide back to camp. On nearing the hollow Welsh saw the three buffalo lying down, and said to Davis: “why, he’s wounded three instead of one, and left us to finish them.” Davis stood up in his saddle, looked at them. “I don’t think he’s hurt any of them.” he said. “Johnny, just try ‘em.’ Welsh crept toward the trio. Two of the Bulls got to their feet, and stretched themselves. They gazed at him in astonishment, and began to paw the ground and shake their heads. Welsh dropped on one knee and blazed away. He probably miss them, for infuriated by the assaults of the wolves, they raised their tails, lowered their heads, and with bloodshot eyes charged upon him. He saw them coming in after a sharp raise went into a buffalo wallow like a prairie dog. The bull then went for Davis. He had scented danger, and headed the mule towards camp. The beast however, was fat and lazy, and did not seem to take in this situation. Davis pounded him with the whiffletree until the blows resounded over the prairie, but could get no head of steam. “Shoot at ‘em, Johnny !’ he shouted. “Shoot at ‘em, but Johnny lay in the wallow, shaking with merciment, and could not shoot. Seen that there was a slim chance for reaching camp, Davis headed his mule for a mesquite tree, fancy and he could find a shelter among its thorns. The slow lope of the mule brought the maddened bulls nearer. Davis finally jumped from the saddle and ran for the tree. He went up the trunk like a squirrel, and had barely perched himself on a top limb before the bulls dashed underneath in pursuit of the mule. Like Davis, the mule took good care of himself, and reached camp and safety.”
A POISONING MATCH
A few days afterward the party returned from Fort Belknap. They were chagrined at the loss of the mules. Only two horses were left. Shaw in Davis went back to Millers Creek and camped with Hawes. Potter, Welsh, Frantz and Graham went across to the big Wichita poisoning wolves, and met with moderate success. The country was seamed with canons and dotted with cedars. Winter was at hand and the weather was becoming cold. The most interesting incident was a poisoning match between Frantz and Graham. One day each killed the buffalo. A dispute arose concerning their merits as poisoners. Frantz held that if the strychnine was placed in a certain part of the carcass it would be more effectual. Graham disagreed with him. Each agreed to Dr. a carcass in his own way, and a pile of Wolf skins was staked on the result. Graham spread a small bottle of the poison upon those parts of the carcass first eaten by wolves, and Frantz carried out his peculiar theory. Both traps were well faded. In the morning the bodies of nine gray wolves laid near Gramps trap, and thirteen were found by Frantz, and he took the pile of pelts.
On their return to the Brazos they found an immense herd of, buffalo on the divide between that river and the Wichita. To use the words of one of the party, “it seemed as though all the buffalo on the plains had emigrated to Texas.” The paths were innumerable. Every green thing had been devoured, and that there was no grazing for their oxen. They were forced to return to Millers Creek, where they joined Shaw and Davis. Hawes had taken over 300 hides, and gone into camp 5 miles further up the creek. The country was black with bison. The men hunted three weeks longer and then flour ran short and the weather became bad. They returned to Jacksboro, after nearly 4 months absence. Over 1200 buffalo, thirty-eight deer, fifty-two wolves and twenty-seven coyotes had been killed and skinned, and one wild horse captured.
THE MARKET FOR BUFFALO MEAT
Graham says that he sold 100 buffalo hides at Sherman for $140. This was his first hunt. On the following where he went up into the Cedar Mountains, about sixty miles southwest of Fort Griffin, and “killed for meat.” The meat was cured and afterwards sold in Dallas. Only the hams are taken. The rest of the carcasses is left to the wolves and ravens. The hams, when cut up and thoroughly cured, will not average more than eighty pounds apiece. In two months Graham killed and salted down hundred 113 buffalo. He hunted the beast up to the winter of 1877. Long before that the brawny Missouri and Kansas professionals had swept down into the country with their “prairie shooters.” Graham says the slaughter was terrifle. Long, of Fort Griffin, killed 3000 in one winter, and big Jim White, of Kansas, 800 in a month. Jim is said to have killed thirty-one buffalo in thirty-two consecutive shots. All these beast were killed for their hides. The flesh, horns and hoofs were wasted. Thousands of tons of meat as good as beef rotted on the prairies while hundreds of persons were starving in Eastern cities. “Enough was wasted,” said Graham, “to have made the siege of Paris as long as the siege of Troy.”
THE HIDE HUNTER
Some of the buffalo hunters own many teams and pay their hunters by the month, or allow them a percentage of the profits. The killer commands the highest price, the Skinners and the camp followers ranging next in pay. The killer rides ahead on the pony, with rifle across the pommel of his saddle. His belt is filled with cartridges, which he allows no one to load but himself. The Skinners follow in a wagon. When the herd is sighted, the killer rides as near as possible, taking advantage of the wind in any inequalities of ground. After tying his pony to a mesquite bush, he drops upon his knees and begins to crawl upon the herd. Once within rifle shot, he lies facedown word, and places two rest-sticks , something like and X on the ground. Over the sticks he sights his game. After the first shot the herd generally run at least a hundred yards. Then they turned about and watch the struggles of the dying buffalo. If the killer keeps cover, the herd may come back and paw around the dead body, as cattle do when they smell blood. The killer always tries to shoot the animals likely to lead the herd away. This is what is termed “holding the herd.” It requires great experience. When the leaders fall, the herd, seeing their bodies on the ground, frequently lie down among them, and stay there until stampeded.
The killers work completed, he signals for the wagons to come up, and the Skinners draw their knives. Two ropes attached to the axles, trail behind the wagon. Each terminates in a loop. The loops are placed over a fore and hind leg, the team is started, and the dead animal turned on its back. It is held in this position by scotching the wagon. The Skinners roll up their sleeves and go to work. The hide is peeled from the belly by a man on each side. Each Skinner carries two knives, one for skinning and the other for ripping. The knives are frequently sharpened. A grindstone is usually carried in the wagon. After the hide is removed it is thrown into the wagon, and the Skinners move on from carcass to carcass, until the “whole stand,” as it is called, is skinned.
HOW THE HIDES ARE CURED
When taken to camp the pelts are laid in rows in a place known as “the hide yard.” They are spread out flesh side up, and holes are cut near the edges within acts or Tomahawk. If not pressed for time a knife may be used. One of the party that goes around with an arm full of pegs, and distributes them on the hides. He averages about 16 pegs to the hide. The skins are next stretched in the pegs driven into the ground. The hides remained there until they become as hard as flint. They are then taken up and sunned. After a day or two they are cramped or folded, flesh side in, like the leaves of a book. Next they are piled readily for market. Hides are taken in summer are sprinkled with poison to keep the bugs out of them. Thousands of hides are spoiled by the rains. Frequently the wolves get at them and tear them to pieces. Some hunters kill the animals all the year round and even slaughtering the cows with calf. Others condemned this practice, and will not associate with those who follow it. There are many professional terms. A ‘cripple” is a buffalo that has been wounded and is after word discovered and killed .A ‘spike” is a young bull. The best hides are tanned and reserved for robes. Others are made into leather. The coarser ones are turned into harness, being too porous for shoes.
THE MEAT HUNTERS
Those who hunt the bison for his meat are a class by themselves. A hole like a grave is dug in the ground and a hide placed there in with the fur toward the earth. The rim of the hide is staked to the edge of the grave, and makes a leather vat. The hams, are cut into three chunks and thrown into the vat. They are sprinkled with salt and seasoned with saltpeter. The vat is then covered within a stiff hide and the meat thus protected from the sun. Tongues are pickled in a similar way. After the meat is thoroughly soaked it is taken out of the vat and cut into smooth pieces. These pieces are strung on bear grass and hung in a rude smokehouse covered with hides. The meat can not be smoked too much. It cures according to the weather. Sometimes it is in the smokehouse two months before it is marketable. It finds a ready sale in the frontier towns, and is frequently sold as far South as New Orleans. It is very palatable.
“Half the fun in killing buffalo,” said Graham, “is in observing their curious actions. I have stuck up a hat and seen a whole herd gather around it, and stare at it for hours. If one animal gets bogged, a half-dozen others are pretty sure to fall into the trap. Anything will stampede them. The stupidity is most remarkable . As stupid as a buffalo” is a common expression among herders. The little calves are more suspicious than their parents. Bulls have shorter tales than cows. There’d tales are bad fly brushes, for they could not hit a fly in a week.”
When the fleshy side of the green hide is exposed to the sun, the skin becomes as hard as iron. Four years ago a party of Texas cow-boys caught a horse thief on the border of the Indian territory. As there was no tree handy on which to hang him, they sewed him up in a green buffalo hide and left it on the plains, under the burning sun. A year after word the hide was found. The skeleton rattled within it as to dried peas in a pod. It was cut open within acts, and the remains of the unfortunate for speed were identified by the clothes.
/


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017119
12/30/17 06:11 PM
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Well lets start with the first part referencing 30 to 60 million Buffalo. That number has no validity at all, how could it?

They were shot for their hides, bones and anything else of value but I've yet to confirm they were shot to starve out the natives.

When numbers get high mother nature has a way of reducing them, disease being a major player.

The natives themselves killed huge numbers of buffalo and many more were lost do to wounding. A 35 lb Plains Bow is a fairly anemic weapons but the most common used by the native buffalo hunters. With a few thousand to feed a tribe had to have a continuous stream of meat coming in.


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: HWY_MAN] #7017127
12/30/17 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted By: HWY_MAN
They were shot for their hides, bones and anything else of value but I've yet to confirm they were shot to starve out the natives.





but that's the reason they were shot, to starve out the natives....at least that's what we learned in school.


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017130
12/30/17 06:27 PM
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They were also shot by the cattleman because the buffalo were eating the grasses their cattle needed.

Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
Originally Posted By: HWY_MAN
They were shot for their hides, bones and anything else of value but I've yet to confirm they were shot to starve out the natives.


but that's the reason they were shot, to starve out the natives....at least that's what we learned in school.


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017178
12/30/17 07:33 PM
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The native Americans had no role in the disappearance of the bison from 1865-1880. I’m not saying they were perfect stewards of them or saints or anything else. But they were not the reason for their demise.

The timing alone would tell anyone that. They were fine for tens of thousands of years with the natives and then -bam- they were gone in 15 years because of them?

Uhhhh, no.

IDK about today, but in my day there were certainly no “white guilt” issues in my textbooks. The Founders, Texas Revolutionaries, and Confederates were only about a half-step below Jesus.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017180
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There were localized situations where herds were shot to starve out the Indians (mostly right at the end with the tribes that had fled north), but it was not a wholesale practice or policy of the government or anyone else to do so.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017201
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In school we were taught it was a combination of things, mainly predation/slaughter by the Honkies grin

I wonder how many pure bred bison still exist?

Last edited by Stub; 12/30/17 10:24 PM.

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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: Stub] #7017220
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Originally Posted By: Stub


I wonder how many pure bed bison still exist?


Only a few herds.

So not very many at all


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Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: Stub] #7017227
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Originally Posted By: Stub
In school we were taught it was a combination of things, mainly predation/slaughter by the Honkies grin

I wonder how many pure bed bison still exist?


Charles Goodnight had the foresight to preserve the last remaining bison from the Southwest herd. It is from that stock we have them today in some numbers. IDK the story of the Great Plains variety or the purity of their various strains.

Google says there are about 500,000 bison today. IDK if that number includes wild/semi-wild and domestic or not.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Friday Discussion Topic-the Great American Bison [Re: txtrophy85] #7017255
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For the unpure lines, what were they crossed with?


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