The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 39
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The Significance of the Destruction of the Buffalo
were unable to move rapidly,19 they fell easy victims to the Indian
hunters, who, upon snowshoes, dispatched them with bow and arrow
or drove their lances into their bodies.20 But still a more novel
plan was when a savage, disguised in a wolf-skin, would approach
the herd and carry out his work of destruction before the animals
became aware of the source of their danger ;21 or, disguised in the
robe of a buffalo, would lead the herd in a headlong flight over a
precipice. One of the early travellers to the West describes this
clever ruse in the following words:
"This mode of hunting was to select one of the most active and
fleet young man, who, disguised with a buffalo-skin fastened about
his body, with the horns and ears so secured as to deceive the
buffalo, placed himself at a convenient distance between the herd
of buffalo and some of the river precipices, which sometimes extend
for miles. His companions, in the meantime, get in the rear and
along the flanks of the herd and, showing themselves at a given
signal, advance upon the herd. The herd, thus alarmed, runs from
the hunters toward the river. The Indian who thus acts as a decoy,
when the precipice is reached, suddenly secures himself in some
crevice of the cliff which he had previously selected, leaving the
herd on the brink. It is then impossible for the foremost of the
herd to retreat or to turn aside, being pressed on by those behind,
and they tumble headlong off the cliff, strewing the shore with
their dead bodies."22
As a rule, the squaws accompanied the Indian hunters on these
occasions, and when the animals were slain, they would set to work
to preserve the hides and meat.23 The flesh of the slain animals
was cut up into pieces of about one hundred pounds each and put
into folding sacks made of buffalo hides. It was then conveyed to
the camp, where it was cut up into smaller pieces and hung out
on poles to dry in the hot sun until it became hard and brittle.
"Students of the wild life of the West have often been at a loss to under-
stand how the buffaloes survived on the snow-covered plains of the North.
Mr. Martin S. Garretson, secretary of the American Bison Society, says
that they often broke thick ice with their heads and that they would stick
their muzzles through the thick snow and eat the tender grass found there.
See his The American Bison, 18.
20J. A. Allen, History of the American Bison, 574-575.
"George Catlin, North American Indians, TI, 249-257.
mIbid; also found in F. W. Heodge, Handbook, Part I, p. 170.
"Thomas C. Battey, A Quaker Among the Indians, 186.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/47/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.