The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 45
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The Significance of the Destruction of the Buffalo
large "Dutch oven," frying-pans, coffee-pots, camp-kettles, bread-
pans, coffee-mill, tin cups, tin plates, knives, forks, spoons, pot-
hooks, meat-broilers, shovels, spades, axes, mess-box, ammunition
reloading instruments, boxes of ammunition, poison for hides, and
provisions, such as flour, meal, bacon, canned fruits, vegetables,
As might be supposed, the camps established by the hunters,
when used for an extended period of time, became very unsanitary;
and, indeed, the hunters themselves became unspeakably filthy in
their attire and habits. A contemporary writer of the period thus
described the usual type of such men:
"In place of the buckskin suit of the Rocky Mountain hunter,
the buffalo hunter goes clad in a coarse dress of canvass, stiffened
with blood and grease. His hair often goes uncut and uncombed
for months together, and his hands are frequently unwashed for
many days. The culinary apparatus of the whole party consists
of a single large coffee pot, a 'Dutch oven,' and a skillet, and the
table set, of a tin cup to each man, and the latter vessel often
consisting merely of a battered fruit can. Each man's hunting
knife not only does duty in butchering the buffalo, but is the sole
implement used in dispatching his food, supplying the places of
spoon and fork as well as knife. The bill of fare consists of strong
coffee, often without milk or sugar, 'yeast-powder bread,' and
buffalo meat fried in buffalo tallow. When the meal is cooked,
the party encircles the skillet, dip their bread in the fat, and eat
their meat with their fingers. When bread fails, as often happens,
'buffalo straight,' or buffalo meat alone, affords them nourishing
sustenance. Occasionally, however, the fare is varied with the
addition of potatoes and canned fruits. They sleep generally in
the open air, in winter as well as in summer, subjected to every
inclemency of the weather. As may well be imagined, a buffalo
hunter, at the end of the season, is by no means prepossessing
in appearance, being, in addition to his filthy aspect, a paradise
for hordes of nameless parasites. They are yet a rollicking set,
and occasionally include men of intelligence who formerly pos-
sessed an ordinary degree of refinement."44
The great slaughter of the bison which came in the years from
1872-1878 witnessed the passing of the Southern herd. Where in
the beginning of the industry, independent hunters formed the
"J. A. Allen, History of the American Bison, 581-562.
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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/m1/53/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.