Hunting the Buffalo with Indians: Four Hundred Animals a Day the Bag of the Eighties, Daily Racing Form, 1919-12-11


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HUNTING THE BUFFALO. WITH INDIANS Four Hundred Animals a Day the Bag of the Eighties. Dr. George Bird Grinnell. who in 1874 became natural history editor of Forest and Stream, and worked for that outdoor magazine for thirty-fire years immediately aHer graduating from college, went west witli a scientific expedition. fiame was plentiful then, although the last elk had lieen killed in Pennsylvania and the last moose in New York. There were elk in Michigan and Iowa and west of the Missouri they were abundant. His first elk was killed less than ninety miles west of Omaha and vast numbers of antelope and buffalo fed on the Nebraska plains. That first expedition lasted about three mqnths and visits to the west repeated each year thereafter taught Dr. Grinnell much about that unexplored country. Then the plains were uninhabited except by Indians. It was long before the dajs of the cattle and the cowboy. Maiiy of the Indians were hostile and the doctor early learned to lie prepared for an attack, which was quite certain never to take place at the time when it was expected. A mans rifle was his constant companion and he was safe, only when constantly on the watch for signs of Indians. But there were friendly Indians, too. One summer Dr. Grinnell limited with 4,080 Pawnees, who were looking for buffalo to get their winter supply of meat. Day after day the long train of women, children and old men moved over the prairie from camp to camp, while the active men were out picking up straggling buffalo, elk, deer, turkeys or other game. Telling of an Indian buffalo hunt the other day Dr. Grinnell said: "When the far traveling scouts sent out to find buffalo brought in the word that a herd large enough for a surround had been seen, all got ready for the chase. The best buffalo horses were caught and tied up, women sharpened their knives, men whetted their arrow points and the people were in a state of subdued excitement. The camp moved up near to the herd and when the men went ui to surround the buffalo the women followed with their pack horses to bring in the jneat. "One who has ridden on a buffalo chase with a company of seven or eight hundred naked men, mounted on naked horses, will never forget that ride. "To his right and left along the broad front he saw the line of heads of horses rhythmically lifting in their stride the smooth, brown bodies of the riders, sometimes touched by the sun, and their long hair streaming out behind and rising and falling with the motion of the horses. ."When the swift moving line had passed over the last ridge and come so near to the buffalo that these turned to run. the signal for the charge was given, and each man was free to do his best. "Then came the belter skelter, race through clouds of dust kicked up by many animals. Buffalo and Indians were on every side, and through the haze one and another dark rider was seen to push up close to the side of a fat cow. lean over, pierce her with, an arrow that sank to the feather and ..then turn off toward another victim. Not a shot Was heard, for iio Indian had a gun. "That day 4! buffalo were slain, but the men and women who cut up and loaded these on the horses saved everything meat, skins, marrow bones and intestinesfor all the btiffalo yielded was I used . "In 1S74 Gen. Custer led his expedition to the Black Hills of Dakota and I was one of the naturalists, and in 3875. with Col. Ludlow I first saw t ho wonders of the Yellowstone Park. On these trips much was seen of large game conditions in the untouched west. "While passing through Montana in 1875 we encountered frequent parties of skin hunters on whose wagons were lashed great stacks of the dried skins of elk, deer and antelope piled up as high as a load of hay."

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