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Discussion Starter #1
Much has been written about whether or not the buffalo runners could have wiped out an estimated 20 million bison that were supposedly on the plains in 1870. Some have said...."no way"!

Well....I ain't got no PH.D in math but figuring 1560 shooting days over a 5 year period (figured they took Sunday off) each hunter would have had to kill only 1.3 buffs a day to do this!

Some say cattle diseases infected the herds but I'm of the opine that "twern't so"! I believe them buffs died from lead poisoning....BIG TIME! Cordin to whut I've read....most of 'em was gone by 1875!

What say?
 

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Part of my family lived near Ft. Griffin, TX during the buffalo extermination. On bad days the story goes they could smell the rotting buffalo from miles away. Supposedly 200,000 buffalo hides were shipped out of Ft. Griffin.
Ed
 

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Buffalo Days and some!

Sharpsman,
The great northern herd ( area where I was raised) Was pretty much finished by early 1881. last Free roaming Buffalo Was killed in 1890 about 20 miles North of My Great Grandpa's homestead in Eastern Wyoming.

The Family ranch where I was raised we used to play in shallow depresions as a kid on the flat above the Ranch buildings these depresions are the dim remains of buffalo wallows.

Records show that 10,000 rounds a month of 45-110 alone, in late 1876 were being shipped to Ft Laramie. The hunt was pretty much from 1876 to 1880 with tens of thousands of hides shipped out of Miles City Mt. Alot of the last hunting was done in the area of Forsyth Mt, home of the Quigley Match. The Kanasas and Tx herds where as you say were pretty much gone by late 1875.

Today We hold buffalo and Creedmoor matches over the same dim buffalo wallows I played in as a kid on my family's Ranch here in NE Wyoming. It gives a real flavor to our matches. And its alot of fun.

My Great Grandpa Jacob Wasserburger and my other Great Grandpa Charles Zerbst where in the Deadwood area cutting timber for the rail lines 6 weeks after the Custer battle. On the banks of Warbonnet Creek(today known as Hat Creek) Buffalo Bill Cody and elements of the 6th US Cav turned back Sioux and Northern Cheyenne that had jumped the reservation at Ft Robinson Neb (Red Cloud Agency) here on this spot so marked today is where Buffalo Bill Cody killed the Cheyenne chief Yellow Hand. About 200 yards from this spot lies my Great Granpa Jacob Wasserburger in the family plot On his Ranch. The Ranch buildings are about 1 3/4 miles from this spot. The spot today is Called Montrose and is in the very North west corner of Neb. A small cemetry of the Wasserburgers and Skavidalls and Henry Familys is there and a Small church.

My Great Grandpa Charles Zerbst homesteaded in 1881 in NE Wyoming the story as it goes is that he was after 2 fellas that stole some 50 head of horses from him near Ft Robinson and headed north for Miles City Mt. He caught up with them on the banks of Doggy Creek above the North fork of the Cheyenne River and got his horses back. He decided to stay and homestead. I onced asked my Grandpa what happend to the old boys that stole Great GP's horses? he allowed they may of been under the floor of the first Soddy That Great GP built?

I am the 4th generation in Wyoming and was raised on a working cattle ranch, part of my tack as a kid, was a bridle and bit marked US Cav and was from Ft Robinson and the US 6th Cav. My HAM saddle was made in 1875 and belonged to my Grandpa-my dad and I got lucky to have use of it when I got older.

I was born and raised in buffalo and cattle country and feel god awful lucky to have been so blessed.

You ever get west and want to shoot we have one of the best Ranges in the USA for BPCR's


Kenny Wasserburger
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Kenny

Ain't never been in thet country afore but one of these days.....I'm gonna give ya a call and come up ta thet place of yurin! Would ya drive me around on it a little and tell me sum more of thet history iffen I do? I can bring plenty of ammo....that's fer shore!! Rdnck be dun tole me ya got one of 'em Injun targets set up so....thet wud do fer starters!

And I ain't just a bumpin my gums reegardin this!
 

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Sharpsman,

You ever get in my neck of the country let us know, And you can wail away on that there hostile target of mine! and The Creedmoor targets too! Bring lots and I mean lots of ammo!

I can take you up to a chunk of land on our ranch its a 960 acre block of land with a large sandstone butte in the northern part of the tract, this is called Signal Butte and with good reason it has the stain of ashes from many many signal fires on the hard cap rock atop of the butte. The area is unique for sure with dinosar bones and sea shells, to flint chips and the occasional arrow heads.

In 1978 while deer hunting in the southern part of our ranch in a deep draw I spotted part of a skull in a hole it was part of the skull cap and the inner horn bone of a buffalo. I left it lay. In the early 80's I showed paleointolgists bones in a ridge on a neighbors ranch part of Tex rex was what I had found. Whole poking around the area one of the docs found a actual half of a TRex Tooth. Many Triserotops are also found in the area by bone hunters.

Rdnck took a wack at that old hostile and came away with his Hair! in other words he hit it !!!!!!! at 1035 yards noooo less!

like I said i was very lucky to have grown up and lived where I have all my life.

Ya all are welcome heck come in May and shoot with the rest of us!


Kenny Wasserburger
 

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this one

Cheers,
Seems to me I read an article on this subject in a "Black Powder" magazine back in the early 80's that tied "hoof and mouth" disease to major finds of buffalo bones - where they all laid down and died. Seems it was written by a pathologist who had grown up in the area.
Railroad records only showded 2,000,000 hides shipped per year - this didn't even begin to dip into the birth rate of a heard of (estimated) 220,000,000 animals.
I really don't know who did what to whom - but I really don't think the rifle did the damage - I believe is was disease brought north by the Mexican cattle being imported at the time.

Been worng before!
cr
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Could THEY have done it?

Crashresidue

<<<220,000,000 animals.>>>

I've read of a maximum of sixty million but NOT TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLION! Where did you find this figure?

I've also read...through much research that as far as railroad records are concerned that many other researchers went this route in an attempt to establish some data reference the amount of hides shipped but they found that the railroads were VERY PROTECTIVE of their records and would not reveal or either outright LIED pertaining to turning this data over!
 

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Kenny Wasserburger

I wish you would write a book... you painted in your post and I think you could do wonders to paint such history and make one feel as though they are there.

Someday I too would like to come down your way out of the NW Montana territory. I got a good friend of mine in Chester who I think you know... Longrider (S.R.)

And yes, if I get down that way, I too would like to bring a bunch of ammo.
 

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Could they have DONE IT?

Crash,

Most Buffalo hunters accounts tell of a loss of 3-4 hides for every one that made it to shipping! Taking that into account some where in the area of 6-8 million buffalo were killed to get that 2 million hides to market each year? Something to keep in mind. Did they kill em all ????? I honestly dont know but they sure has **** made a awful dent in them I would say.


Montanian, yes Scott is a very good friend of mine. We are brothers in the 45-110 club. He is a great guy one of the good uns! You are welcome any time you can make it my way. God willing and the Creeks dont rise I will be in Butte the First weekend of June to Help Butch Ulsher host His first Traditional Creedmoor match the weekend following my match. This is our 7th year of holding my match. Another sister range is a good thing for the Tradtional Creedmoor style match, the New Zealand BPCR assoc. has built a range just like mine for their own National Creedmoor Match.
You know I guess one of these days I need to get the time to set down and do some more writting. I am not much of a writer just someone that likes to write and shoot alot and love history! Mike V. and I have talked about how much hard work it is to write a good article! Mike told me, your not a writer but a shooter that writes and that strikes a cord with alot of shooters! My english is poor my gramer worse yet I do enjoy it! Your not the first person to tell me I need to write a book, been working for several years on one for BPCR shooting but getting the time to do it is the hard part! My friend the Rdnck, wish I had his writing skills!

YOU know I enjoy this forum alot, this and the Shiloh site are going to be my main stops these days.

Kenny Wasserbuger
 

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I am new to this board, but I have to admit Kenny posted some great stories. I grew up in Oklahoma and I too remember playing in buffalo wallers growin' up. Brought back a lot of good memories. Thanks Kenny.
 

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Could They Have Done It?

I've read that 60,000,000 was an underestimate. But let's use it as a workable figure. I've also read that there were an estimated 10,000 buf runners. So, each shooter would have had to shoot on an average 6000 bufs during the hide heyday. Now, we know some were more prolific, but we also have to assume there were a lot of skulkers and lazy drunks who shot just enough hides to buy another bottle and soiled dove! Even the most prolific of shooters admitted to taking in the vicinity of 6 to 8000 bufs during the entire time, and I'd have to say they were exceedingly successful. The decline of the buffalo was not the sole result of hide hunting. Cattle born diseases like "Texas Fever" had something to do with it. If we can't conclude that a combination of factors contributed to the near extinction of these creatures, we are deluding ourselves.

Dan C
 

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Could They have done it ?

Dan,

The 60 millon figure is most likely a good one from all accounts.
Noted buffalo hunter Frank Mayer gives figures of 1.4 to 1.5 million hides a year shipped out of Dodge city for a period of several years. As for a buffao runner only killing 6000 in his entire time spent buffalo hunting thats a bit light of a figure I think.

Case in point Yellowstone Vic Smith (noted buffalo runner in my neck of the country Powder river and southern Mt area). In the Fall of 1879 Vic Smith hired two skinners, They worked for him october 1879 to mid March of 1880 in this 6 months of time, Vic killed 4470 buffalo in this six month time frame. The last winter Vic hunted in the winter of 1881-82 he killed 4500 buffalo. In just 3 years(winter seasons) he killed close to 13,500 buffalo all by him self. The Last part of 1882 when the season ended they killed 400,000 buffalo in the area from the mouth of the Big Horn to Sully springs alone. Thats a lot of buffalo falling to the big guns of the buffalo hunters.

I agree that other factors indeed helped speed the demise of the buffalo, but one can not neglect the fact the buffalo hunters killed large numbers of buffalo and it most certainly had effect on their end. As for the scientests, and their theory's?????? I got to remember some fellas in the science comunity that said Billy Dixon could of not made that shot at Adobe Walls cause a 50 wont shoot that far yet Mike V and Kirk Byran proved that it would shoot alot father then that, down at Yuma at the proving grounds.

Now days the Game and Fish have buffalo killed that come off Yellowstone park to prevent them from mixing with cattle and giving them something.

And private buffalo ranches have to have stict vacination programs to protect local cattle herds.

The fact remains that in the end the buffalo were gone no mater what took them and the plains indian was out of his main source of food.

Kenny Wasserburger
 

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Hide Hunting

Kenny:

I'd bet the 60,000,000 figure was close as well. Other's disagree. But I read Frank Meyer's book and he listed I believe 8500 or so bufs killed in his time on the range. Now there were some real humdinger buf shooters, no doubt. But like miners, the majority of them were probably pretty much hand to mouth. For every hunter that killed a lot of bufs, another killed just enough to stay drunk while he was in town! I'd have to say that hunters being hunters, there had to be quite a few who "over represented" their prowess on the hunting field as well. We mustn't immediately believe that every fish story is perfectly true! There were some buf runners who got rich! But they were few and far between. Then there were the buf shooting excursions from the railroad. Those animals were shot and left to rot, hide and all. No, the bufs got a raw deal, but history will remember the term "Buffalo Hunter" as the sole reason the animal was almost rendered extinct as a reproducable species. Regards;

Dan C
 

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My Hunting Mentors...

The "Great Buffalo Hunt" is one of my favorite topics. It might not be politically correct but I can honestly say I wish I could have "been there and done that."

Unfortunatly we were left with relatively few first-hand written accounts of this facinating part of our history. Far and away Frank Mayer's book "The Buffalo Harvest" is the most cited of them all. The trouble is we have no way of knowing for sure if these stories are accurate records of what happend or if they are just good yarns. Also, most of the accounts were written years after the events took place. They tell exciting tales of life on the plains but are often short on technical details. (Jim White kept a book recording his kills and where they occured. Few other hunters did this.) So the best we can do is play "Monday morning quaterback" and reconstruct the events.

I'll accept the figure of 60,000,000 bison. As for the number of hunters, estimates are that somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 men were engaged in this line of work from 1871 - 1883. In my opinion there were only a handful of hunters in the Jim White, Vic Smith, Tom Nixon, Cator & Mooar brothers "league." Buffalo hunting was a business requiring a big initial investment to get started in and a lot of hard work to be successful at. Most of those who tried their hand at buffalo hunting were probably young adventurers and drifters looking for quick, easy money. They either gave it up and went into something else - or died - having killed only a few buffalo each before doing so.

Buffalo are prolific animals that ranged over a huge territory. Of course just a handful of skilled and motivated hunters might be able to devastate a local population of shggies. But the numbers just don't come out for laying the blame of near extermination on the hands of the hide hunters and their Sharps, Rollers and Trapdoors. Too many buffalo to start with, too big of a country, too few hunters and too short of a time for it all to happen. Combine a 'lead-induced' population drop with a newly introduced cattle-borne disease. Now throw in other conditions such as weather and you have a formula for near disaster. Take any one of those situations out of the picture and the results would have been very different. We all heard the story of the passenger pigeon. The extinction of this bird has been blamed on market hunters. More recent investigation indicates that it was probably an avaian virus that wiped them out. The birds numbered in the billions and quickly disappeared. Humans may have played only a small part. Mind you, I'm not saying the buffalo hunters weren't a major factor in the near extermination of the species. All I'm saying is they weren't the ONLY factor.

Nowadays more than 10 million deer hunters take to the field killing untold millions of deer each year. Yet the deer population keeps increasing in many parts of the country.
 

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Adobe Walls

Dan -

Hundreds of the finest warriors up against a handful of determined defenders. If that isn't a sweet fight what is? Adobe Walls would have been a sight to admire - from a distance, a LONG distance! (I guess if I'm going to side with the hunters the honest thing to do would be to take my place inside Hanrahan's..)

I wonder why this dramatic and historically important event isn't better known. Maybe it's different in Texas but in my part of the country you'd have to be a serious student of the West or the buffalo hunt era to know what happened on June 27, 1874. Think of the hundreds of Westerns - movies, TV shows and such dealing with the OK Corral gunfight. You'd think that Adobe Walls, a story of such bravery and determination - on both sides - would have been made into a movie long ago. There's even a conspiracy angle. The coming attack was no secret and the hunters were duped into staying put.
 

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Interesting posts all. I think that one thing that is being overlooked here is the fact that not only were the hide hunters killing Buffalo, but also the indian tribes. Feeding thousands of hungry mouths accounted for quite a number of Buff, also the military and railroad, not to mention men who just went out to see how many they could kill just for the fun of it. I have read every book that I could find on the subject, and find it believable that predation was the source of their demise. Look for example at the Passenger Pidgeon. They didn't get some disease from cows!! :)
 

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We didn't do it!

Omaha;

Read Hide hunter's post a couple up from here. He remarks that recent information suggests the passenger pigeon may have succumbed to an avian virus. So, while the cows went moo, the pigeons went coo, but it probably wasn't market hunting that did it all by itself.

Dan C
 

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:) Greetings guys. I have also heard the estimated number of buffalo around this time. I am familiar with the dynamics of a specie to replace itself,or keep the population stable. A percentage of animals must survive in order for the population of that specie to remain relatively stable. External factors come into play,such as over hunting (hide hunters) taking such a large percentage of that population. Now put in that there is a new virus in town,and it also gets into the herd. Now we have two factors that did not exist prior to the white man pushing into these areas of high density populations,but he introduced them. The animals are going down in population due to the hunting,and is maybe still in the area of the razors edge( as for being able to replace itself ),this virus (brusilosis) gets into the heards,and pushs it down some more. At this point we have a problem in the animals being able to replace itself. Add in the fencing,migration paterns being disrupted,and we now have the almost extinction of a specie.. We only need a couple of factors to get into the equation in a short period of time that are not...normal..for the critter to have to contend with. King
 
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