56            American Bison, Buffalo, Male

                            BISON AMERICANUS.--Gmel.
                                 [Bison bison]

                           AMERICAN BISON.--BUFFALO.

                               PLATE LVI.  MALE.
                      PLATE LVII.  FEMALE, MALE AND YOUNG.

     B. capite magno, lato, fronte leviter arcuata; cornibus parvis, brevibus,
teretibus, extrorsum dein sursum versis; cauda breve, cruribus gracilibus armis
excelsis, villo molli, lanoso.

     Forehead, broad, slightly arched; horns, small, short, directed laterally
and upwards; tail, short; legs, slender; shoulders, elevated; hair, soft and


     TAURUS MEXICANUS, Hernandez, Mex., p. 587, Fig. male, 1651.
     TAUREAU SAUVAGE, Hennepin, Nouv. Discov., vol. i., p. 186, 1699.
     THE BUFFALO, Lawson's Carolina, p. 115, Fig.
     THE BUFFALO, Catesby's Carolina, Appendix xxxii., tab. 20.
     THE BUFFALO, Hearne's Journey, p. 412.
     THE BUFFALO, Franklin's First Voy., p. 113.
     THE BUFFALO, Pennant's Arctic Zool., vol. i., p. 1.
     THE BUFFALO, Long's Expedition, vol. iii., p. 68.
     THE BUFFALO, Warden's U. S., vol. i., p. 248.
     BOS AMERICANUS, Linn., S. N., ed Gmel. 1, p. 204.
     BOS AMERICANUS, Cuv., Regne an 1, p. 270.
     BOS AMERICANUS, Harlan, 268.
     BOS AMERICANUS, Godman, vol. iii., 4.
     BOS AMERICANUS, Richardson, Fa., p. 79.
     BUFFALO, Hudson's Bay Traders, Le Boeuf, Canadian Voyagers.
     AMERICAN OX, Dobs, Hudson's Bay, 41.


     Male, killed on the Yellow Stone river, July 16th, 1843.
     The form bears a considerable resemblance to that of an overgrown domestic
bull, the top of the hump on the shoulders being considerably higher than the
rump, although the fore-legs are very short; horns, short, stout, curved upward
and inward, one foot one inch and a half around the curve; ears, short and
slightly triangular towards the point; nose, bare; nostrils, covered internally
with hairs; eyes, rather small in proportion to the size of the animal, sunk
into the prominent projection of the skull; neck, and forehead to near the nose,
covered with a dense mass of shaggy hair fourteen inches long between the horns,
which, as well as the eyes and ears, are thereby partially concealed; these
hairs become gradually shorter and more woolly towards the muzzle.  Under the
chin and lower jaw there is an immense beard, a foot or upwards in length.
     Neck, short; hairs along the shoulder and fore-legs about four inches long.
The beard around the muzzle resembles that of the common bull.  A mass of hair
rises on the hind part of the fore-leg, considerably below the knee.  A ridge of
hairs commences on the back and runs to a point near the insertion of the tail.
On the flanks, rump and fore-legs the hairs are very short and fine.
     On the hind-legs there are straggling long hairs extending to the knee, and
a few tufts extending six inches below the knee; hind-legs, and tail, covered
with short hairs; within a few inches of the tip of the tail there is a tuft of
hair nearly a foot in length.  The pelage on the head has scarcely any of the
soft woolly hair which covers other parts of the body, and approaches nearer to
hair than to wool.

     A winter killed specimen.
     From the neck, around the shoulder and sides, the body is covered with a
dense heavy coat of woolly hair, with much longer and coarser hairs intermixed.
There is a fleshy membrane between the forelegs, like that in the common
domestic bull, but not so pendulous.

     In form and colour the female bears a strong resemblance to the male; she
is, however, considerably smaller, and of a more delicate structure.  Her horns
are of the same length and shape as those of the male, but are thinner and more
perfect, in consequence of the cows engaging less in combat than the bulls.  The
hump is less elevated; the hair on the forehead shorter and less bushy; the
rings on the horns are more corrugated than on those of our domestic cattle.
     Spinous processes rising from the back bone or vertebrae of the bull, and
forming the hump:  they are flat, with sharp edges both anteriorly and
posteriorly; the two longest are eighteen and a quarter inches long, three
inches at the end which is the widest, and two inches at the narrowest; the
first, fifteen inches; second, (largest,) eighteen and a quarter inches in
length; third, sixteen and a half; fourth, sixteen; the fifth, fifteen inches,
and the rest gradually diminishing in size; the fifteenth spinous process being
three and a half inches long; the remainder are wanting in our specimen.  The
whole of the processes are placed almost touching each other at the insertion
and at the end, and their breadth is parallel to the course of the back-bone.
In the centre or about half the distance from the insertion to the outer end of
them, they are (the bone being narrower in that part) from a quarter to one inch
apart.  The ribs originate and incline outward backward and downward from
between these upright spinous bones.


     A summer specimen.
     Head, neck, throat, fore-legs, tail and beard, dark brownish-black; hoofs,
brown; rump, flanks, line on the back, blackish brown; horns nearly black.
Upper surface of body light-brown; the hairs uniform in colour from the roots,
the whole under surface brackish-brown.
     The colour of the female is similar to that of the male.
     At the close of the summer when the new coat of hair has been obtained, the
Buffalo is in colour between a dark umber, and liver-shining brown; as the hair
lengthens during winter, the tips become paler.

     Young male, twelve months old.
     A uniform dingy brown colour, with a dark brown stripe of twisted woolly
upright hairs, extending from the head over the neck shoulders and back to the
insertion of the tail.  The hairs on the forehead, which form the enormous mass
on the head of the adult, are just beginning to be developed.
     Under the throat and along the chest the hairs extend in a narrow line of
about three inches in length; the bush at the end of the tail is tolerably well
developed.  Hairs on the whole body short and woolly.
     A calf, six weeks old, presents the same general appearance, but is more
woolly.  The legs, especially near the hoofs, are of a lighter colour than the
     A calf taken from the body of a cow, in September, was covered with woolly
hair; the uniform brownish, or dim yellow, strongly resembling the young of a
domesticated cow.


     Whether we consider this noble animal as an object of the chase, or as an
article of food for man, it is decidedly the most important of all our
contemporary American quadrupeds; and as we can no loner see the gigantic
mastodon passing over the broad savannas, or laving his enormous sides in the
deep rivers of our wide-spread land, we will consider the Buffalo as a link,
(perhaps sooner to be forever lost than is generally supposed,) which to a
slight degree yet connects us with larger American animals, belonging to extinct
     But ere we endeavour to place before you the living and breathing herds of
Buffaloes, you must journey with us in imagination to the vast western prairies,
the secluded and almost inaccessible valleys of the Rocky Mountain chain, and
the and and nearly impassable deserts of the western table lands of our country;
and here we may be allowed to express our deep, though unavailing regret, that
the world now contains only few and imperfect remains of the lost races, of
which we have our sole knowledge through the researches and profound deductions
of geologists; and even though our knowledge of the osteology of the more
recently exterminated species be sufficient to place them before our "mind's
eye," we have no description and no figures of the once living and moving, but
now departed possessors of these woods, plains, mountains and waters, in which,
ages ago, they are supposed to have dwelt.  Let us however hope, that our humble
efforts may at least enable us to perpetuate a knowledge of such species as the
Giver of all good has allowed to remain with us to the present day.  And now we
will endeavour to give a good account of the majestic Bison.
     In the days of our boyhood and youth, Buffaloes roamed over the small and
beautiful prairies of Indiana and Illinois, and herds of them stalked through
the open woods of Kentucky and Tennessee; but they had dwindled down to a few
stragglers, which resorted chiefly to the "Barrens," towards the years 1808 and
1809, and soon after entirely disappeared.  Their range has since that period
gradually tended westward, and now you must direct your steps "to the Indian
country," and travel many hundred miles beyond the fair valleys of the Ohio,
towards the great rocky chain of mountains which forms the backbone of
North-America, before you can reach the Buffalo, and see him roving in his
sturdy independence upon the vast elevated plains, which extend to the base of
the Rocky Mountains.
     Hie with us then to the West!  let us quit the busy streets of St. Louis,
once considered the outpost of civilization, but now a flourishing city, in the
midst of a fertile and rapidly growing country, with towns and villages
scattered for hundreds of miles beyond it; let us leave the busy haunts of men,
and on good horses take the course that will lead us into the Buffalo region,
and when we have arrived at the sterile and extended plains which we desire to
reach, we shall be recompensed for our toilsome and tedious journey:  for there
we may find thousands of these noble animals, and be enabled to study their
habits, as they graze and ramble over the prairies, or migrate from one range of
country to another, crossing on their route water-courses, or swimming rivers at
places where they often plunge from the muddy bank into the stream, to gain a
sand-bar or shoal, midway in the river, that affords them a resting place, from
which, after a little time, they can direct their course to the opposite shore,
when, having reached it, they must scramble up the bank, ere they can gain the
open prairie beyond.
     There we may also witness severe combats between the valiant bulls, in the
rutting season, hear their angry bellowing, and observe their sagacity, as well
as courage, when disturbed by the approach of man.
     The American Bison is much addicted to wandering, and the various herds
annually remove from the North, at the approach of winter, although many may be
found, during that season, remaining in high latitudes, their thick woolly coats
enabling them to resist a low temperature, without suffering greatly.  During a
severe winter, however, numbers of them perish, especially the old, and the very
young ones.  The breeding season is generally the months of June and July, and
the calves are brought forth in April and May; although occasionally they are
produced as early as March or as late as July.  The Buffalo most frequently has
but one calf at a time, but instances occur of their having two.  The females
usually retire from the herd either singly or several in company, select as
solitary a spot as can be found, remote from the haunt of wolves, bears, or
other enemies that would be most likely to molest them, and there produce their
     Occasionally, however, they bring forth their offspring when the herd is
migrating, and at such times they are left by the main body, which they rejoin
as soon as possible.  The young usually follow tile mother until she is nearly
ready to have a calf again.  The Buffalo seldom produces young until the third
year, but will continue breeding until very old.  When a cow and her very young
calf are attacked by wolves, the cow bellows and sometimes runs at the enemy,
and not unfrequently frightens him away; this, however, is more generally the
case when several cows are together, as the wolf, ever on the watch, is
sometimes able to secure a calf when it is only protected by its mother.
     The Buffalo begins to shed its hair as early as February.  This falling of
the winter coat shows first between the fore-legs and around the udder in the
female on the inner surface of the thighs, &c.  Next, the entire pelage of long
hairs drop gradually but irregularly, leaving almost naked patches in some
places, whilst other portions are covered with loosely hanging wool and hair.
At this period these animals have an extremely ragged and miserable appearance.
The last part of the shedding process takes place on the hump.  During the time
of shedding, the Bison searches for trees, bushes, &c., against which to rub
himself, and thereby facilitate the speedy falling off of his old hair.  It is
not until the end of September, or later, that he gains his new coat of hair.
The skin of a Buffalo, killed in October, the hunters generally consider, makes
a good Buffalo robe; and who is there, that has driven in an open sleigh or
wagon, that will not be ready to admit this covering to be the cheapest and the
best, as a protection from the cold, rain, sleet, and the drifting snows of
winter?  for it is not only a warm covering, but impervious to water.
     The Bison bulls generally select a mate from among a herd of cows and do
not leave their chosen one until she is about to calve.
     When two or more males fancy the same female, furious battles ensue and the
conqueror leads off the fair cause or the contest in triumph.  Should the cow be
alone, the defeated lovers follow the happy pair at such a respectful distance,
as will ensure to them a chance to make their escape, if they should again
become obnoxious to the victor, and at the same time enable them to take
advantage of any accident that might happen in their favour.  But should the
fight have been caused by a female who is in a large herd of cows, the
discomfited bull soon finds a substitute for his first passion.  It frequently
happens, that a bull leads off a cow, and remains with her separated during the
season from all others, either male or female.
     When the Buffalo bull is working himself up to a belligerent state, he paws
the ground, bellows loudly, and goes through nearly all the actions we may see
performed by the domesticated bull under similar circumstances, and finally
rushes at his foe head foremost, with all his speed and strength.
Notwithstanding the violent shock with which two bulls thus meet in mad career,
these encounters have never been known to result fatally, probably owing to the
strength of the spinous process commonly called the hump, the shortness of their
horns, and the quantity of hair about all their fore-parts.
     When congregated together in fair weather, calm or nearly so, the bellowing
of a large herd (which sometimes contains a thousand) may be heard at the
extraordinary distance of ten miles at least.
     During the rutting season, or while fighting (we are not sure which,) the
bulls scrape or paw up the grass in a circle, sometimes ten feet in diameter,
and these places being resorted to, from time to time, by other fighting bulls,
become larger and deeper, and are easily recognised even after rains have filled
them with water.
     In winter, when the ice has become strong enough to bear the weight of many
tons, Buffaloes are often drowned in great numbers, for they are in the habit of
crossing rivers on the ice, and should any alarm occur, rush in a dense crowd to
one place; the ice gives way beneath the pressure of hundreds of these huge
animals, they are precipitated into the water, and if it is deep enough to reach
over their backs, soon perish.  Should the water, however, be shallow, they
scuffle through the broken and breaking ice, in the greatest disorder, to the
     From time to time small herds, crossing rivers on the ice in the spring,
are set adrift, in consequence of the sudden breaking of the ice after a rise in
the river.  They have been seen floating on such occasions in groups of three,
four, and sometimes eight or ten together, although on separate cakes of ice.  A
few stragglers have been known to reach the shore in an almost exhausted state,
but the majority perish from cold and want of food rather than trust themselves
boldly to the turbulent waters.
     Buffalo calves are often drowned, from being unable to ascend the steep
banks of the rivers across which they have just swam, as the cows cannot help
them, although they stand near the bank, and will not leave them to their fate
unless something alarms them.
     On one occasion Mr. KIPP, of the American Fur Company, caught eleven
calves, their dams all the time standing near the top of the bank.  Frequently,
however, the cows leave the young to their fate, when most of them perish.  In
connection with this part of the subject, we may add, that we were informed when
on the Upper Missouri river, that when the banks of that river were practicable
for cows, and their calves could not follow them, they went down again, after
having gained the top, and would remain by them until forced away by the
cravings of hunger.  When thus forced by the necessity of saving themselves to
quit their young, they seldom, if ever, returned to them.
     When a large herd of these wild animals are crossing a river, the calves or
yearlings manage to get on the backs of the cows, and are thus conveyed safely
over; but when the heavy animals, old and young, reach the shore, they sometimes
find it muddy or even deeply miry; the strength of the old ones struggling in
such cases to gain a solid footing, enables them to work their way out of danger
in a wonderfully short time.  Old bulls, indeed, have been known to extricate
themselves when they had got into the mire so deep that but little more than
their heads and backs could be seen.  On one occasion we saw an unfortunate cow
that had fallen into, or rather sank into a quicksand only seven or eight feet
wide; she was quite dead, and we walked on her still fresh carcase safely across
the ravine which had buried her in its treacherous and shifting sands.
     The gaits of the Bison are walking, cantering, and galloping, and when at
full speed, he can get over the ground nearly as fast as the best horses found
in the Indian country.  In lying down, this species bends the fore legs first,
and its movements are almost exactly the same as those of the common cow.  It
also rises with the same kind of action as cattle.
     When surprised in a recumbent posture by the sudden approach of a hunter,
who has succeeded in nearing it under the cover of a hill, clump of trees or
other interposing object, the Bison springs from the ground and is in full race
almost as quick as thought, and is so very alert, that one can scarcely perceive
his manner of rising on such occasions.
     The bulls never grow as fat as the cows, the latter having been
occasionally killed with as much as two inches of fat on the boss or hump and
along the back to the tail.  The fat rarely exceeds half an inch on the sides or
ribs, but is thicker on the belly.  The males have only one inch of fat, and
their flesh is never considered equal to that of the females in delicacy or
flavour.  In a herd of Buffaloes many are poor, and even at the best season it
is not likely that all will be found in good condition; and we have occasionally
known a hunting party, when Buffalo was scarce, compelled to feed on a
straggling old bull as tough as leather.  For ourselves, this was rather
uncomfortable, as we had unfortunately lost our molars long ago.
     The Bison is sometimes more abundant in particular districts one year than
another, and is probably influenced in its wanderings by the mildness or
severity of the weather, as well as by the choice it makes of the best pasturage
and most quiet portions of the prairies.  While we were at Fort Union, the
hunters were during the month of June obliged to go out twenty-five or thirty
miles to procure Buffalo meat, although at other times, the animal was quite
abundant in sight of the fort.  The tramping of a large herd, in wet weather,
cuts up the soft clayey soil of the river bottoms, (we do not not mean the
bottom of rivers,) into a complete mush.  One day, when on our journey up the
Missouri river, we landed on one of the narrow strips of land called bottoms,
which formed the margin of the river and was backed by hills of considerable
height at a short distance.  At this spot the tracks of these animals were
literally innumerable, as far as the eye could reach in every direction, the
plain was covered with them; and in some places the soil had been so trampled as
to resemble mud or clay, when prepared for making bricks.  The trees in the
vicinity were rubbed by these buffaloes, and their hair and wool were hanging on
the rough bark or lying at their roots.  We collected some of this wool, we
think it might be usefully worked up into coarse cloth, and consider it worth
attention.  The roads that are made by these animals, so much resemble the
tracks left by a large wagon-train, that the inexperienced traveller may
occasionally imagine himself following the course of an ordinary wagon-road.
These great tracks run for hundreds of miles across the prairies, and are
usually found to lead to some salt-spring, or some river or creek, where the
animals can allay their thirst.
     The captain of the steamboat on which we ascended the Missouri, informed
us, that on his last annual voyage up that river, he had caught several
Buffaloes, that were swimming the river.  The boat was run close upon them, they
were lassoed by a Spaniard, who happened to be on board, and then hoisted on the
deck, where they were butchered secundum artem.  One day we saw several that had
taken to the water, and were coming towards our boat.  We passed so near them,
that we fired at them, but did not procure a single one.  On another occasion,
one was killed from the shore, and brought on board, when it was immediately
divided among the men.  We were greatly surprised to see some of the Indians,
that were going up with us, ask for certain portions of the entrails, which they
devoured with the greatest voracity.  This gluttony excited our curiosity, and
being always willing to ascertain the quality of any sort of meat, we tasted
some of this sort of tripe, and found it very good, although at first its
appearance was rather revolting.
     The Indians sometimes eat the carcasses of Buffaloes that have been
drowned, and some of those on board the Omega one day asked the captain most
earnestly to allow them to land and get at the bodies of three Buffaloes which
we passed, that had lodged among the drift-logs and were probably half putrid.
In this extraordinary request some of the squaws joined.  That, when stimulated
by the gnawings of hunger, Indians, or even Whites, should feed upon carrion, is
not to be wondered at, since we have many instances of cannibalism and other
horrors, when men are in a state of starvation, but these Indians were in the
midst of plenty of wholesome food and we are inclined to think their hankering
after this disgusting flesh must be attributed to a natural taste for it,
probably acquired when young, as they are no doubt sometimes obliged in their
wanderings over the prairies in winter, to devour carrion and even bones and
hides, to preserve their lives.  In the height of the rutting-season, the flesh
of the Buffalo bull is quite rank, and unfit to be eaten, except from necessity,
and at this time the animal can be scented at a considerable distance.
     When a herd of Bisons is chased, although the bulls run with great
swiftness their speed cannot be compared with that of the cows and yearling
calves.  These, in a few moments leave the bulls behind them, but as they are
greatly preferred by the hunter, he always (if well mounted) pursues them and
allows the bulls to escape.  During the winter of 1842 and 43, as we were told,
Buffaloes were abundant around Fort Union, and during the night picked up
straggling handfuls of hay that happened to be scattered about the place.  An
attempt was made to secure some of them alive, by strewing hay as a bait, from
the interior of the old fort, which is about two hundred yards off, to some
distance from the gateway, hoping the animals would feed along into the
enclosure.  They ate the hay to the very gate; but as the hogs and common cattle
were regularly placed there, for security, during the night, the Buffaloes would
not enter, probably on account of the various odours issuing from the interior.
As the Buffaloes generally found some hay scattered around, they soon became
accustomed to sleep in the vicinity of the fort, but went off every morning, and
disappeared behind the hills, about a mile off.
     One night they were fired at, from a four-pounder loaded with musket-balls.
Three were killed, and several were wounded, but this disaster did not prevent
them from returning frequently to the fort at night, and they were occasionally
shot, during the whole winter, quite near the fort.
     As various accounts of Buffalo-hunts have been already written, we will
pass over our earliest adventures in that way, which occurred many years ago,
and give you merely a sketch of the mode in which we killed them during our
journey to the West, in 1843.
     One morning in July, our party and several persons attached to Fort Union,
(for we were then located there,) crossed the river, landed opposite the fort,
and passing through the rich alluvial belt of woodland which margins the river,
were early on our way to the adjacent prairie, beyond the hills.  Our equipment
consisted of an old Jersey wagon, to which we had two horses attached, tandem,
driven by Mr. CULBERTSON, principal at the fort.  This wagon carried Mr. HARRIS,
BELL, and ourselves, and we were followed by two carts, which contained the rest
of the party, while behind came the running horses or hunters, led carefully
along.  After crossing the lower prairie, we ascended between the steep banks of
the rugged ravines, until we reached the high undulating plains above.  On
turning to take a retrospective view, we beheld the fort and a considerable
expanse of broken and prairie-land behind us, and the course of the river was
seen as it wound along, for some distance.  Resuming our advance we soon saw a
number of antelopes, some of which had young ones with them.  After travelling
about ten miles farther we approached the Fox river, and at this point one of
the party espied a small herd of Bisons at a considerable distance off.  Mr.
CULBERTSON, after searching for them with the telescope, handed it to us and
showed us where they were.  They were all lying down and appeared perfectly
unconscious of the existence of our party.  Our vehicles and horses were now
turned towards them and we travelled cautiously to within about a quarter of a
mile of the herd, covered by a high ridge of land which concealed us from their
view.  The wind was favourable, (blowing towards us,) and now the hunters threw
aside their coats, tied handkerchiefs around their heads, looked to their guns,
mounted their steeds, and moved slowly and cautiously towards the game.  The
rest of the party crawled carefully to the top of the ridge to see the chase.
At the word of command, given by Mr. CULBERTSON, the hunters dashed forward
after the bulls, which already began to run off in a line nearly parallel with
the ridge we were upon.  The swift horses, urged on by their eager riders and
their own impetuosity, soon began to overtake the affrighted animals; two of
them separated from the others and were pursued by Mr. CULBERTSON and Mr. BELL;
presently the former fired, and we could see that he had wounded one of the
bulls.  It stopped after going a little way and stood with its head hanging down
and its nose near the ground.  The blood appeared to be pouring from its mouth
and nostrils, and its drooping tail showed the agony of the poor beast.  Yet it
stood firm, and its sturdy legs upheld its ponderous body as if nought had
happened.  We hastened toward it but ere we approached the spot, the wounded
animal fell, rolled on its side, and expired.  It was quite dead when we reached
it.  In the mean time Mr. BELL had continued in hot haste after the other, and
Mr. HARRIS and Mr. SQUIRE had each selected, and were following one of the main
party.  Mr. BELL shot, and his ball took effect in the buttocks of the animal.
At this moment Mr. SQUIRE's horse threw him over his head fully ten feet:  he
fell on his powder-horn and was severely bruised; he called to some one to stop
his horse and was soon on his legs, but felt sick for a few moments.  Friend
HARRIS, who was perfectly cool, neared his bull, shot it through the lungs, and
it fell dead on the spot.  Mr. BELL was still in pursuit of his wounded animal
and Mr. HARRIS and Mr. SQUIRE joined and followed the fourth, which, however,
was soon out of sight.  We saw Mr. BELL shoot two or three times, and heard guns
fired, either by Mr. HARRIS or Mr. SQUIRE, but the weather was so hot that
fearful of injuring their horses they were obliged to allow the bull they
pursued to escape.  The one shot by Mr. BELL, tumbled upon his knees, got up
again, and rushed on one of the hunters, who shot it once more, when it paused,
and almost immediately fell dead.
     The flesh of the Buffaloes thus killed was sent to the fort in the cart,
and we continued our route and passed the night on the prairie, at a spot about
half way between the Yellow-Stone and the Missouri rivers.  Here, just before
sundown, seven more bulls were discovered by the hunters, and Mr. HARRIS, Mr.
BELL and Mr. CULBERTSON each killed one.  In this part of the prairie we
observed several burrows made by the swift fox, but could not see any of those
animals although we watched for some time in hopes of doing so.  They probably
scented our party and would not approach.  The hunters on the prairies, either
from hunger or because they have not a very delicate appetite, sometimes break
in the skull of a buffalo and eat the brains raw.  At sunrise we were all up,
and soon had our coffee, after which a mulatto man called LAFLEUR, an excellent
hunter attached to the American Fur-Company, accompanied Mr. HARRIS and Mr. BELL
on a hunt for antelopes, as we wanted no more Buffaloes.  After waiting the
return of the party, who came back unsuccessful, we broke up our camp and turned
our steps homeward.
     The Buffalo bulls which have been with their fair ones are at this season
wretchedly poor, but some of them, which appear not to have much fondness for
the latter, or may have been driven off by their rivals, are in pretty good
condition.  The prairies are in some places whitened with the skulls of the
Buffalo, dried and bleached by the summer's sun and the frosts and snows of
those severe latitudes in winter.  Thousands are killed merely for their
tongues, and their large carcasses remain to feed the wolves and other rapacious
prowlers on the grassy wastes.
     A large Bison bull will generally weigh nearly two thousand pounds, and a
fat cow, about twelve hundred.  We weighed one of the bulls killed by our party
and found it to reach seventeen hundred and twenty seven pounds, although it had
already lost a good deal of blood.  This was an old bull and was not fat; it had
probably weighed more at some previous period.  We were told that at this season
a great many half-breed Indians were engaged in killing Buffaloes and curing
their flesh for winter use, on Moose river, about 200 miles north of us.
     When these animals are shot at a distance of fifty or sixty yards, they
rarely, if ever, charge on the hunters.  Mr. CULBERTSON told us he had killed as
many as nine bulls from the same spot, unseen by these terrible animals.  There
are times, however, when they have been known to gore both horse and rider,
after being severely wounded, and have dropped down dead but a few minutes
afterwards.  There are indeed instances of bulls receiving many balls without
being immediately killed, and we saw one which during one of our hunts was shot
no less than twenty-four times before it dropped.
     A bull that our party had wounded in the shoulder, and which was thought
too badly hurt to do much harm to any one, was found rather dangerous when we
approached him, as he would dart forward at the nearest of his foes, and but
that his wound prevented him from wheeling and turning rapidly, he would
certainly have done some mischief.  We fired at him from our six-barrelled
revolving pistol, which, however, seemed to have little other effect than to
render him more savage and furious.  His appearance was well calculated to appal
the bravest, had we not felt assured that his strength was fast diminish.   We
ourselves were a little too confident, and narrowly escaped being overtaken by
him through our imprudence.  We placed ourselves directly in his front, and as
he advanced, fired at his head and ran back, not supposing that he could
overtake us; but he soon got within a few feet of our rear, with head lowered,
and every preparation made for giving us a hoist; the next instant, however, we
had jumped aside, and the animal was unable to alter his headlong course quick
enough to avenge himself on us.  Mr. BELL now put a ball directly through his
lungs, and with a gush of blood from the mouth and nostrils, he fell upon his
knees and gave up the ghost, falling (as usual) on the side, quite dead.
     On another occasion, when the same party were hunting near the end of the
month of July, Mr. SQUIRE wounded a bull twice, but no blood flowing from the
mouth, it was concluded the wounds were only in the flesh, and the animal was
shot by Mr. CULBERTSON, OWEN MCKENZIE, and Mr. SQUIRE, again.  This renewed fire
only seemed to enrage him the more, and he made a dash at the hunters so sudden
and unexpected, that Mr. SQUIRE, attempting to escape, rode between the beast
and a ravine which was near, when the bull turned upon him, his horse became
frightened and leaped down the bank, the Buffalo following him so closely that
he was nearly unhorsed; he lost his presence of mind and dropped his gun; he,
however, fortunately hung on by the mane and recovered his seat.  The horse was
the fleetest, and saved his life.  He told us subsequently that he had never
been so terrified before.  This bull was fired at several times after SQUIRE's
adventure, and was found to have twelve balls lodged in him when he was killed.
He was in very bad condition, and being in the rutting season we found the flesh
too rank for our dainty palates and only took the tongue with us.
     Soon afterwards we killed a cow in company with many bulls and were at
first afraid that they would charge upon us, which in similar rases they
frequently do, but our party was too large and they did not venture near,
although their angry bellowings and their unwillingness to leave the spot showed
their rage at parting with her.  As the sun was now sinking fast towards the
horizon on the extended prairie, we soon began to make our way toward the
camping ground and passed within a moderate distance of a large herd of
Buffaloes, which we did not stop to molest but increasing our speed reached our
quarters for the night, just as the shadows of the western plain indicated that
we should not behold the orb of day until the morrow.
     Our camp was near three conical hills called the Mamelles, only about
thirty miles from Fort Union, although we had travelled nearly fifty by the time
we reached the spot.  After unloading and unsaddling our tired beasts, all hands
assisted in getting wood and bringing water, and we were soon quietly enjoying a
cup of coffee.  The time of refreshment to the weary hunter is always one of
interest:  the group of stalwart frames stretched in various attitudes around or
near the blazing watch-fires, recalls to our minds the masterpieces of the great
delineators of night scenes; and we have often at such times beheld living
pictures, far surpassing any of those contained in the galleries of Europe.
     There were signs of grizzly bears around us, and during the night we heard
a number of wolves howling among the bushes in the vicinity.  The service berry
was abundant and we ate a good many of them, and after a hasty preparation in
the morning started again after the Buffaloes we had seen the previous evening.
Having rode for sometime, one of our party who was in advance as a scout, made
customary signal from the top of a high hill, that buffaloes were insight; this
is done by walking the hunter's horse backward and forward several times.  We
hurried on and found our scout lying close to his horse's neck, as if asleep on
the back of the animal.  He pointed out where he had discovered the game, but
they had gone out of sight, and (as he said) were travelling fast, the herd
being composed of both bulls and cows.  The hunters mounted at once, and
galloped on in rapid pursuit, while we followed more leisurely over hills and
plains and across ravines and broken ground, at the risk of our necks.  Now and
then we could see the hunters, and occasionally the Buffaloes, which had taken a
direction toward the Fort.  At last we reached an eminence from which we saw the
hunters approaching the Buffaloes in order to begin the chase in earnest.  It
seems that there is no etiquette among Buffalo hunters, and this not being
understood beforehand by our friend HARRIS, he was disappointed in his wish to
kill a cow.  The country was not as favourable to the hunters as it was to the
flying herd.  The females separated from the males, and the latter turned in our
direction and passed within a few hundred yards of us without our being able to
fire at them.  Indeed we willingly suffered them to pass unmolested, as they are
always very dangerous when they have been parted from the cows.  Only one female
was killed on this occasion.  On our way homeward we made towards the coupee, an
opening in the hills, where we expected to find water for our horses and mules,
as our supply of Missouri water was only enough for ourselves.
     The water found on these prairies is generally unfit to drink, (unless as a
matter of necessity,) and we most frequently carried eight or ten gallons from
the river, on our journey through the plains.  We did not find water where we
expected, and were obliged to proceed about two miles to the eastward, where we
luckily found a puddle sufficient for the wants of our horses and mules.  There
was not a bush in sight at this place, and we collected Buffalo dung to make a
fire to cook with.  In the winter this prairie fuel is often too wet to burn,
and the hunters and Indians have to eat their meat raw.  It can however hardly
be new to our readers to hear that they are often glad to get any thing, either
raw or cooked, when in this desolate region.
     Young Buffalo bulls are sometimes castrated by the Indians, as we were
told, for the purpose of rendering them larger and fatter; and we were informed,
that when full grown they have been shot, and found to be far superior to others
in the herd, in size as well as flavour.  During severe winters the Buffaloes
become very poor, and when the snow has covered the ground for several months to
the depth of two or three feet, they are wretched objects to behold.  They
frequently in this emaciated state lose their hair and become covered with
scabs; and the magpies alight on their backs and pick the sores.  The poor
animals in these dreadful seasons die in great numbers.
     A singular trait in the Buffalo when caught young, was related to us, as
follows:  When a calf is taken, if the person who captures it places one of his
fingers in its mouth, it will follow him afterwards, whether on foot or on
horseback, for several miles.
     We now give a few notes from our journal kept at Fort Union, which may
interest our readers.
     August 7th, 1843, a Buffalo cow was killed and brought into the fort, and
to the astonishment of all, was found to be near her time of calving.  This was
an extraordinary circumstance at that season of the year.
     August 8th, The young Buffaloes have commenced shedding their first (or
red) coat of hair, which drops off in patches about the size of the palm of a
man's hand.  The new hair is dark brownish black.  We caught one of these calves
with a lasso, and had several men to hold him, but on approaching to pull off
some of the old hair, he kicked and bounced about in such a furious manner that
we could not get near him.  Mr. CULBERTSON had it however taken to the press
post, and there it was drawn up and held so closely that we could handle it, and
we tore off some pieces of its old pelage, which hung to the side with
surprising tenacity.
     The process of butchering or cutting up the carcass of the Buffalo is
generally performed in a slovenly and disgusting manner by the hunters, and the
choicest parts only are saved, unless food is scarce.  The liver and brains are
eagerly sought for, and the hump is excellent when broiled.  The pieces of flesh
from the sides are called by the French, fillets, or the depouille; the marrow
bodes are sometimes cut out, and the paunch is stripped of its covering of fat.
     Some idea of the immense number of Bisons to be still seen on the wild
prairies, may be formed from the following account, given to us by Mr. KIPP, one
of the principals of the American Fur Company.  "While he was travelling from
Travers' Bay to the Mandan nation in the month of August, in a cart heavily
laden, he passed through herds of Buffalo for six days in succession.  At
another time he saw the great prairie near Fort Clark on the Missouri river,
almost blackened by these animals, which covered the plain to the hills that
bounded the view in all directions, and probably extended farther.
     When the Bisons first see a person, whether white or red, they trot or
canter off forty or fifty yards, and then stop suddenly, turn their heads and
gaze on their foe for a few moments, then take a course and go off at full speed
until out of sight, and beyond the scent of man.
     Although large, heavy, and comparatively clumsy, the Bison is at times
brisk and frolicksome, and these huge animals often play and gambol about
kicking their heels in the air with surprising agility, and throwing their
hinder parts to the right and left alternately, or from one side to the other,
their heels the while flying about and their tails whisking in the air.  They
are very impatient in the fly and mosquito season, and are often seen kicking
and running against the wind to rid themselves of these tormentors.
     The different Indian tribes hunt the Buffalo in various ways:  some pursue
them on horseback and shoot them with arrows, which they point with old bits of
iron, or old knife blades.  They are rarely expert in loading or reloading guns,
(even if they have them,) but in the closely contested race between their horse
and the animal, they prefer the rifle to the bow and arrow.  Other tribes follow
them with patient perseverance on foot, until they come within shooting
distance, or kill them by stratagem.
     The Mandan Indians chase the Buffalo in parties of from twenty to fifty,
and each man is provided with two horses, one of which he rides, and the other
being trained expressly for the chase, is led to the place where the Buffaloes
are started.  The hunters are armed with bows and arrows, their quivers
containing from thirty to fifty arrows according to the wealth of the owner.
When they come in sight of their game, they quit the horses on which they have
ridden, mount those led for them, ply the whip, soon gain the flank or even the
centre of the herd, and shoot their arrows into the fattest, according to their
fancy.  When a Buffalo has been shot, if the blood flows from the nose or mouth,
he is considered mortally wounded; if not, they shoot a second or a third arrow
into the wounded animal.
     The Buffalo, when first started by the hunters, carries his tail close down
between the legs; but when wounded, he switches his tail about, especially if
intending to fight his pursuer, and it behooves the hunter to watch these
movements closely, as the horse will often shy, and without due care the rider
may be thrown, which when in a herd of Buffalo is almost certain death.  An
arrow will kill a Buffalo instantly if it takes effect in the heart, but if it
does not reach the right spot, a dozen arrows will not even arrest one in his
course, and of the wounded, many run out of sight and are lost to the hunter.
     At times the wounded Bison turns so quickly and makes such a sudden rush
upon the hunter, that if the steed is not a good one and the rider perfectly
cool, they are overtaken, the horse gored and knocked down, and the hunter
thrown off and either gored or trampled to death.  But if the horse is a fleet
one, and the hunter expert, the Bison is easily outrun and they escape.  At best
it may be said that this mode of Buffalo hunting is dangerous sport, and one
requires both skill and nerve to come off success fully.
     The Gros Ventres, Blackfeet and Assinaboines often take the Buffalo in
large pens, usually called parks, constructed in the following manner.
     Two converging fences built of sticks logs and brushwood are made, leading
to the mouth of a pen somewhat in the shape of a funnel.  The pen itself is
either square or round, according to the nature of the ground where it is to be
placed, at the narrow end of the funnel, which is always on the verge of a
sudden break or precipice in the prairie ten or fifteen feet deep, and is made
as strong as possible.  When this trap is completed, a young man very swift of
foot starts at daylight, provided with a Bison's hide and head, to cover his
body and head when he approaches the herd that is to be taken, on nearing which
he bleats like a young Buffalo calf, and makes his way slowly towards the mouth
of the converging fences leading to the pen.  He repeats this cry at intervals,
the Buffaloes follow the decoy, and a dozen or more of mounted Indians at some
distance behind the herd gallop from one side to the other on both their flanks,
urging them by this means to enter the funnel, which having done, a crowd of men
women and children come and assist in frightening them, and as soon as they have
fairly entered the road to the pen beneath the precipice, the disguised Indian,
still bleating occasionally, runs to the edge of the precipice, quickly
descends, and makes his escape, climbing over the barricade or fence of the pen
beneath, while the herd follow on till the leader (probably an old bull) is
forced to leap down into the pen, and is followed by the whole herd, which is
thus ensnared, and easily destroyed even by the women and children, as there is
no means of escape for them.
     This method of capturing the Bison is especially resorted to in October and
November, as the hide is at that season in good condition and saleable, and the
meat can be preserved for the winter supply.  When the Indians have thus driven
a herd of Buffalo into a pen, the warriors all assemble by the side of the
enclosure, the pipe is lighted, and the chiefs smoke to the honour of the Great
Spirit, to the four points of the compass, and to the herd of Bisons.  As soon
as this ceremony has ended, the destruction commences, guns are fired and arrows
shot from every direction at the devoted animals, and the whole herd is
slaughtered before the Indians enter the space where the Buffaloes have become
their victims.  Even the children shoot tiny arrows at them when thus captured,
and try the strength of their young arms upon them.
     It sometimes happens, however, that the leader of the herd becomes alarmed
and restless while driving to the precipice, and should the fence be weak,
breaks through, and the whole drove follow and escape.  It also sometimes
occurs, that after the Bisons are in the pen, which is often so filled that they
touch each other, the terrified crowd swaying to and fro, their weight against
the fence breaks it down, and if the smallest gap is made, it is immediately
widened, when they dash through and scamper off, leaving the Indians in dismay
and disappointment.  The side fences for the purpose of leading the Buffaloes to
the pens extend at times nearly half a mile, and some of the pens cover two or
three hundred yards of ground.  It takes much time and labour to construct one
of these great traps or snares, as the Indians sometimes have to bring timber
from a considerable distance to make the fences and render them strong and
     The Bison has several enemies:  the worst is, of course, man; then comes
the grizzly bear; and next, the wolf.  The bear follows them and succeeds in
destroying a good many; the wolf hunts them in packs, and commits great havoc
among them, especially among the calves and the cows when calving.  Many
Buffaloes are killed when they are struggling in the mire on the shores of
rivers where they sometimes stick fast, so that the wolves or bears can attack
them to advantage; eating out their eyes and devouring the unresisting animals
by piecemeal.
     When we were ascending the Missouri river, the first Buffaloes were heard
of near Fort Leavenworth, some having a short time before been killed within
forty miles of that place.  We did not, however, see any of these animals until
we had passed Fort Croghan, but above this point we met with them almost daily,
either floating dead on the river, or gazing at our steamboat from the shore.
     Every part of the Bison is useful to the Indians, and their method of
making boats, by stretching the raw hide over a sort of bowl-shaped frame work,
is well known.  These boats are generally made by the women, and we saw some of
them at the Mandan village.  The horns are made into drinking vessels, ladles,
and spoons.  The skins form a good bed, or admirable covering from the cold, and
the flesh is excellent food, whether fresh or dried or made into pemmican; the
fat is reduced and put up in bladders, and in some cases used for frying fish,
     The hide of the Buffalo is tanned or dressed altogether by the women, or
squaws, and the children; the process is as follows:  The skin is first hung on
a post, and all the adhering flesh taken off with a bone, toothed somewhat like
a saw; this is performed by scraping the skin downwards, and requires
considerable labour.  The hide is then stretched on the ground and fastened down
with pegs; it is then allowed to remain till dry, which is usually the case in a
day or two.  After it is dry--the flesh side is pared down with the blade of a
knife fastened in a bone, called a grate, which renders the skin even and takes
off about a quarter of its thickness.  The hair is taken off with the same
instrument and these operations being performed, and the skin reduced to a
proper thickness, it is covered over either with brains, liver or grease, and
left for a night.  The next day the skin is rubbed and scraped either in the sun
or by a fire, until the greasy matter has been worked into it, and it is nearly
dry; then a cord is fastened to two poles and over this the skin is thrown, and
pulled, rubbed and worked until quite dry; after which it is sewed together
around the edges excepting at one end; a smoke is made with rotten wood in a
hole dug in the earth, and the skin is suspended over it, on sticks set up like
a tripod, and thoroughly smoked, which completes the tanning and renders the
skin able to bear wet without losing its softness or pliability afterwards.
     Buffalo robes are dressed in the same manner, only that the hair is not
removed and they are not smoked.  They are generally divided into two parts:  a
strip is taken from each half on the back of the skin where the hump was, and
the two halves, or sides, are sewed together after they are dressed, with thread
made of the sinews of the animal; which process being finished, the robe is
complete and ready for market.
     The scrapings of the skins, we were informed, are sometimes boiled with
berries, and make a kind of jelly which is considered good food in some cases by
the Indians.  The strips cut off from the skins are sewed together and make
robes for the children, or caps, mittens, shoes, &c.  The bones are pounded fine
with a large stone and boiled, the grease which rises to the top is skimmed off
and put into bladders.  This is the favourite and famous marrow grease, which is
equal to butter.  The sinews are used for stringing their bows, and are a
substitute for thread; the intestines are eaten, the shoulder-blades made into
hoes, and in fact (as we have already stated) nothing is lost or wasted, but
every portion of the animal, by the skill and industry of the Indians, is
rendered useful.
     Balls are found in the stomach of the Buffalo, as in our common domestic
     Having heard frequent discussions respecting the breeding of the Bison in a
domesticated state, and knowing that ROBERT WICKLIFFE, Esq., of Kentucky, had
raised some of these animals, we requested his son, then on his way to Europe,
to ask that gentleman to give us some account of their habits under his care,
and shortly afterwards received a letter from him, dated Lexington Nov. 6th,
1843, in which he gives an interesting account of the Bison breeding with the
common cow, and other particulars connected with this animal.  After expressing
his desire to comply with our request intimated to him by his son, he proceeds
to give us the following information: " as far," he writes, "as his limited
knowledge of natural history and his attention to these animals will permit him
to do."  He proceeds: "The herd of Buffalo I now possess have descended from one
or two cows that I purchased from a man who brought them from the country called
the Upper Missouri; I have had them for about thirty years, but from giving them
away and the occasional killing of them by mischievous persons, as well as other
causes, my whole stock at this time does not exceed ten or twelve.  I have
sometimes confined them in separate parks from other cattle, but generally they
herd and feed with my stock of farm cattle, They graze in company with them as
gently as the others.  The Buffalo cows, I think, go with young about the same
time the common cow does, and produce once a year; none of mine have ever had
more than one at a birth.  The approach of the sexes is similar to that of the
common bull and cow under similar circumstances at all times when the cow is in
heat, a period which seems, as with the common cow, confined neither to day, nor
night, nor any particular season, and the cows bring forth their young of course
at different times and seasons of the year, the same as our domesticated cattle.
I do not find my Buffaloes more furious or wild than the common cattle of the
same age that graze with them.
     "Although the Buffalo, like the domestic cow, brings forth its young at
different seasons of the year, this I attribute to the effect of domestication,
as it is different with all animals in a state of nature.  I have always heard
their time for calving in our latitude was from March until July, and it is very
obviously the season which nature assigns for the increase of both races, as
most of my calves were from the Buffaloes and common cows at this season.  On
getting possession of the tame Buffalo, I endeavoured to cross them as much as I
could with my common cows, to which experiment I found the tame or common bull
unwilling to accede, and he was always shy of a Buffalo cow, but the Buffalo
bull was willing to breed with the common cow.
     "From the domestic cow I have several half breeds, one of which was a
heifer; this I put with a domestic bull, and it produced a bull calf.  This I
castrated, and it made a very fine steer, and when killed produced very fine
beef.  I bred from the same heifer several calves, and then, that the experiment
might be perfect, I put one of them to the Buffalo bull, and she brought me a
bull calf which I raised to be a very fine large animal, perhaps the only one to
be met with in the world of his blood, viz., a three quarter, half quarter, and
half quarter of the common blood.  After making these experiments, I have left
them to propagate their breed themselves, so that I have only had a few half
bleeds, and they always prove the same, even by a Buffalo bull.  The full blood
is not as large as the improved stock, but as large as the ordinary cattle of
the country.  The crossed or half blood are larger than either the Buffalo or
common cow.  The hump, brisket, ribs and tongue of the full and half blooded are
preferable to those of the common beef, but the round and other parts are much
inferior.  The udder or bag of the Buffalo is smaller than that of the common
cow, but I have allowed the calves of both to run with their dams upon the same
pasture, and those of the Buffalo were always the fattest; and old hunters have
told me, that when a young Buffalo calf is taken, it requires the milk of two
common cows to raise it.  Of this I have no doubt, having received the same
information from hunters of the greatest veracity.  The bag or udder of the half
breed is larger than that of full blooded animals, and they would, I have no
doubt, make good milkers.
     "The wool of the wild Buffalo grows on their descendants when domesticated,
but I think they have less of wool than their progenitors.  The domesticated
Buffalo still retains the grunt of the wild animal, and is incapable of making
any other noise, and they still observe the habit of having select places within
their feeding grounds to wallow in.
     "The Buffalo has a much deeper shoulder than the tame ox, but is lighter
behind.  He walks more actively than the latter, and I think has more strength
than a common ox of the same weight.  I have broke them to the yoke, and found
them capable of making excellent oxen; and for drawing wagons, carts, or other
heavily laden vehicles on long journeys, they would, I think, be greatly
preferable to the common ox.  I have as yet had no opportunity of testing the
longevity of the Buffalo, as all mine that have died, did so from accident or
were killed because they became aged.  I have some cows that are nearly twenty
years old, that are healthy and vigorous, and one of them has now a sucking
     "The young Buffalo calf is of a sandy red or rufous colour, and commences
changing to a dark brown at about six months old, which last colour it always
retains.  The mixed breeds are of various colours; I have had them striped with
black, on a gray ground like the zebra, some of them brindled red, some pure red
with white faces, and others red without any markings of white.  The mixed
bloods have not only produced in my stock from the tame and the Buffalo bull,
but I have seen the half bloods reproducing; viz.:  those that were the product
of the common cow and wild Buffalo bull.  I was informed that at the first
settlement of the country, cows that were considered the best for milking, were
from the half blood, down to the quarter, and even eighth of the Buffalo blood.
But my experiments have not satisfied me that the half Buffalo bull will produce
again.  That the half breed heifer will be productive from either race, as I
have before stated, I have tested beyond the possibility of a doubt.
     "The domesticated Buffalo retains the same haughty bearing that
distinguishes him in his natural state.  He will, however, feed or fatten on
whatever suits the tame cow, and requires about the same amount of food.  I have
never milked either the full blood or mixed breed, but have no doubt they might
be made good milkers, although their bags or udders are less than those of the
common cow; yet from the strength of the calf, the dam must yield as much or
even more milk than the common cow."
     Since reading the above letter, we recollect that the Buffalo calves that
were kept at Fort Union, though well fed every day, were in the habit of sucking
each other's ears for hours together.
     There exists a singular variety of the Bison, which is however very scarce,
and the skin of which is called by both the hunters and fur traders a "beaver
robe."  These are valued so highly that some have sold for more than three
hundred dollars.  Of this variety Mr. CULBERTSON had the goodness to present us
with a superb specimen, which we had lined with cloth, and find a most excellent
defense against the cold, whilst driving in our wagon during the severity of our
northern winters.

                           GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.

     The range of the Bison is still very extensive; but although it was once
met with on the Atlantic coast, it has, like many others, receded and gone west
and south, driven onward by the march of civilization and the advance of the axe
and plough.  His habits, as we have seen, are migratory, and the extreme
northern and southern limits of the wandering herds not exactly defined.
Authors state, that at the time of the first settlement of Canada it was not
known in that country, and SAGARD THEODAT mentions having heard that bulls
existed in the far west, but saw none himself.  According to Dr. RICHARDSON,
Great Slave Lake, latitude 60 degrees, was at one time the northern boundary of
their range; but of late years, according to the testimony of the natives, they
have taken possession of the flat limestone district of Slave Point on the north
side of that lake, and have wandered to the vicinity of Great Marten Lake, in
latitude 63 degrees or 64 degrees.  The Bison was not known formerly to the
north of the Columbia river on the Pacific coast, and LEWIS and CLARK found
Buffalo robes were an important article of traffic between the inhabitants of
the cast side and those west of the Rocky mountains.  The Bison is spoken of by
HERNANDEZ as being found in New Spain or Mexico, and it probably extended
farther south.  LAWSON speaks of two Buffaloes that were killed in one season on
Cape Fear river, in North Carolina.  The Bison formerly existed in South
Carolina on the seaboard, and we were informed that from the last herd seen in
that State, two were killed in the vicinity of Columbia.  It thus appears that
at one period this animal ranged over nearly the whole of North America.
     At the present time, the Buffalo is found in vast herds in some of the
great prairies, and scattered more sparsely nearly over the whole length and
breadth of the valleys east and west that adjoin the Rocky Mountain chain.