field notes ➤ S. W. Woodhouse, 1853

❝ Bison Americanus — The American Bison, or Buffalo. . . .

This noble animal, which is one of the most important of our North American quadrupeds—which is almost the sole dependence of the western prairie Indians, not only as an article of food, but also for clothing and other conveniences of life—is from year to year fast diminishing in numbers, and its range, once so extensive, is now quite limited.

In the year 1850, whilst I was attached to the Creek boundary survey, commanded by Lieut. J.C. Woodruff, Topographical Engineers, U. S. Army, we first met with these animals about sixty miles west of the Arkansas river and north of the Red Fork. The first we saw were a few old bulls; but after travelling one more day, we came among herds, which continued to increase in numbers constantly until we arrived at the crossing of the North Fork of the Canadian, where they were very numerous. In the spring of the year, I was told that they are found within twenty miles of the point where we crossed the Arkansas. I saw the sign of their having been there that spring.

Their trails were abundant, and looked old, as if they had been used for years during their migrations, and were running parallel to each other; but their general direction was north and south.

On our route across Texas none of these animals were seen, nor was there a sign of their having been there for many years, with the exception of the crossing of Live Oak creek, where they had evidently been a few years previously; here were some of their bones. In all probability they followed down the Pecos river.

They are now only known in northern Texas, and come occasionally within twenty miles of Fredericksburg.

I have seen a few of these animals tamed in the Creek nation, running with the common cattle. ❞

Report of an Expedition Down the Zuni and Colorado Rivers
by Captain L. Sitgreaves
(U.S. Government Printing Office, 1853)

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