Chapter

Where have all the Bison Gone?

Dale F. Lott

in American Bison

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930742 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233386.003.0022
Where have all the Bison Gone?

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From tens of millions of buffalo — more than 30 billion pounds of living, breathing bison-mass — to a carpet of whitening bones and a few hundred scattered survivors. The destruction of the buffalo isn't one horrendous story — it's several horrendous stories. The buffalo vanished in different places at different times for different reasons, its slaughter the work of different people. Many of North America's buffalo were already gone by the time the notorious hide hunt started on the plains. The horse changed everything. By 1700, mounted Native Americans began to evolve a new culture transported by the horse and supplied by the buffalo — the nomadic hunting bands the world has come to think of as the American Indian lifestyle. By 1800, the blanket of buffalo that had covered the southern plains was too thin in some years, and the chill of hunger crept through.

Keywords: buffalo hunting; bison destruction; North America; Native Americans; American Indian

Chapter.  4118 words. 

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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