Register for the NBA’s October Regional

Register for the NBA’s October Regional
Bison Management Webinars
Free to NBA Members!

Register now for the NBA’s inaugural Regional Bison Management Webinar Series!

All webinars are free to NBA members and will be hosted on the Zoom platform. Presentations will be recorded for later viewing in the NBA member’s area. See the full agenda below and register at the following Zoom links:





Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

The Legacy of Wind Cave National Park

The Legacy of Wind Cave National Park

Below are 3 bright slices of the rich heritage of Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.

First: In the video below the fine storyteller Sina Bear Eagle tells the beautiful Lakota tradition of Wind Cave as the place from which humans and bison emerged in ancient times.

Second: Briefly, what’s the history of Wind Cave National Park from the time President Theodore Roosevelt established it Jan 3, 1903, with its own genetically pure herd of bison from the New York Zoo? At 154 miles of explored passageways (so far) the 7th longest cave in the world . . .

Third: A bright new segment captivates a female student from the Latino Heritage Intern program. New generations, new enthusiasm for conservation and wildlife.

So let’s relax and enjoy these segments of the wonderful heritage of Wind Cave National Park.

The Lakota Emergence Story

Sina Bear Eagle tells her Cheyenne Creek community version of the Lakota Emergence Story that comes from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In Lakota culture, history is passed down to new generations through the spoken word. There are many different versions of the Emergence Story, varying from band to band and family to family.

This version comes from the Cheyenne Creek community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota tribe. The story was told by Wilmer Mesteth—a tribal historian and spiritual leader—to Sina Bear Eagle, who retells it in the following passage.

This story begins at a time when the plants and the animals were still being brought into existence, but there were no people or bison living on the earth. People at that time lived underground in the Tunkan Tipi—the spirit lodge—and were waiting as the earth was prepared for them to live upon it.

The Natural Opening of Wind Cave. Can you hear the “breathing earth” through the hole?

To get to the spirit lodge, one must take a passageway through what the ancestors referred to as Oniya Oshoka, where the earth “breathes inside.”

This place is known today as Wind Cave, referred to in modern Lakota as Maka Oniye or “breathing earth.” Somewhere, hidden deep inside this passageway, is a portal to the spirit lodge and the spirit world.

There were two spirits who lived on the surface of the earth: Iktomi and Anog-Ite.

Iktomi, the spider, was the trickster spirit. Before he was Iktomi, his name was Woksape—“Wisdom”—but lost his name and position when he helped the evil spirit Gnaskinyan play a trick on all the other spirits.

Anog-Ite, the double face woman, had two faces on her head. On one side, she had a lovely face, rivaling the beauty of any other woman who existed. On the other, she had a horrible face, which was twisted and gnarled. To see this face would put chills down any person’s spine.

Anog-Ite was once Ite, the human wife of the wind spirit Tate. She longed to be a spirit herself, so when the evil Gnaskinyan told her dressing up as the moon spirit, Hanwi, would grant her wish, she followed without question.

Gnaskinyan used both Ite and Woksape as pawns in his trick on the other spirits.

The Creator, Takuskanskan, decided not to punish Gnaskinyan for this trick, because evil does what’s in its nature.

Woksape and Ite were both punished because they let their pride determine their actions and allowed themselves to be guided by evil, when both should have known better.
Takuskanskan transformed the two into Iktomi and Anog-Ite, allowing Iktomi to play tricks forever and Anog Ite to be the spirit she desired to be. Both were banished to the surface of the earth.

Iktomi and Anog-Ite had only each other for company. Iktomi spent his time playing tricks on Anog-Ite, torturing her and never allowing her to live in peace, but this pastime soon bored him.

He wanted new people to play tricks on, so he set his sights on the humans. He knew he needed help for this trick; he asked Anog-Ite, promising he’d never torment her again. She agreed to these terms and began loading a leather pack.

Anog-Ite filled this pack with buckskin clothing intricately decorated with porcupine quills, different types of berries, and dried meat. She then loaded the pack onto the back of her wolf companion, Sungmanitu Tanka.

When the wolf was ready, Iktomi led him to a hole in the ground and sent the wolf inside Oniya Oshoka to find the humans. The wolf followed the passageways until it met the humans.

A lone wolf. Anog-Ite’s wolf was named Sungmanitu Tanka. Credit NPS Photo by Jacob W. Frank.

Once there, he told the people about the wonders of the Earth’s surface, and showed them the pack on his back. One man took out the buckskin clothing and felt the soft leather. His wife tried on a dress and when he looked at her he thought the dress accentuated her beauty.

Next they took out the meat, tasted it, and passed it around amongst some of the people. The meat intrigued them. They’d never hunted before, and had never tasted anything like meat. They wanted more.

The wolf told them if they followed him to the surface of the Earth, he’d show them where to find meat and all the other gifts he brought.

The leader of the humans was a man named Tokahe—“The First One”—and he refused to go with the wolf. He objected, saying the Creator had instructed them to stay underground, and that’s what he’d do.

Most of the people stayed with Tokahe, but all those who tried the meat followed the wolf to the surface.

The journey to the surface was long and perilous. When they reached the hole, the first thing the people saw was a giant blue sky above them. The surface of the earth was bright, and it was summertime, so all the plants were in bloom.

The people looked around and thought the earth’s surface was the most gorgeous place they’d ever been before.

The wolf led the people to the lodge of Anog-Ite, who was in disguise; she had her sina—“shawl”—wrapped over her head, hiding her horrible face and revealing only her beautiful face.

Anog-Ite invited the people inside, and they asked her about the clothes and the food. She promised to teach the people how to obtain those things, and soon she taught the people how to hunt and how to work and tan an animal hide.

This work was difficult, however. The people had never struggled like this in the spirit lodge. They grew tired easily and worked slowly.

Time passed, and summer turned to fall, then to winter. The people knew nothing about the Earth’s seasons and had worked so slowly that, by the time the first snow came, they didn’t have enough clothes or food for everyone.

They began to freeze and starve. They returned to the lodge of Anog-Ite to beg for help, but it was then that she revealed her true intentions.

She ripped the shawl from her head, revealing her horrible face, and with both faces—beautiful and horrible—laughed at the people.

The people recoiled in terror and ran away, so she sent her wolf after them to chase and snap at their heels. They ran back to the site of the hole from which they’d emerged, only to find that it had been covered, leaving them trapped on the surface.

Two buffalo at Wind Cave. NPS.

The people didn’t know what to do nor where to go, so they simply sat down on the ground and cried.

At this time the Creator heard them, and asked why they were there. They explained the story of the wolf and Anog-Ite, but the Creator was upset.

The Creator said, “You should not have disobeyed me; now I have to punish you.” The way the Creator did that was by transforming them—turning them from people into these great, wild beasts. This was the first bison herd.

Time passed, and the earth was finally ready for people to live upon it.
The Creator instructed Tokahe to lead the people through the passageway in the cave and onto the surface. On the way, they stopped to pray four times, stopping last at the entrance.

On the surface, the people saw the hoof prints of a bison.

The Creator instructed them to follow that bison. From the bison, they could get food, tools, clothes and shelter. The bison would lead them to water. Everything they needed to survive on the earth would come from the bison.

Buffalo along the road in Wind Cave National Park.

When they left the cave, the Creator shrunk the hole from the size of a man to the size it is now, too small for most people to enter, to serve as a reminder so the people would never forget from where they’d come.

Bison Bellows: Wind Cave National Park—Riding the Rails Back Home

Buffalo at the entrance to Wind Cave National Park, Visitor center. Photo courtesy of Greg Schroeder.

Before the mid-1800s, bison dotted the South Dakota plains.

But by the 1890s, South Dakota resembled a bleak wildlife landscape. The wild free roaming bison were gone and so were the elk, the pronghorn, other wildlife and the people that once roamed freely across the plains.
By the 1900s some efforts were underway locally to restore prairie wildlife; yet, it wasn’t until people on the east coast gathered together to create the New York Zoological Society in 1905 and its subdivision of the American Bison Society, led by William Hornaday and President Theodore Roosevelt that bison conservation actually began to have a home.

In 1913, the New York Zoological Society raised sufficient numbers of bison that they could imagine doing something that had never been done before. They proposed a new vision of conservation partnership between private and public entities, in order to donate and restore bison to Wind Cave National Park nestled in the South Dakota Black Hills landscape.

In November, 1913, 14 bison departed New York City by train for the long trip westward back home to Hot Springs, South Dakota and then by wagon to Wind Cave National Park.

This cross-country movement of bison, from private possession to public lands, represented a major milestone in wildlife conservation.

The 14 bison multiplied rapidly among the pines in the Black Hills of South Dakota in Wind Cave National Park. Photo courtesy of Greg Schroeder.

It is interesting to visualize enthusiastic crowds gathering at train stations to see the 14 bison from New York City heading home westward.

It may be that some of those communities included people who earlier rode the same rails westward in order to decimate wild bison.

The story of bison restoration at Wind Cave National Park is one of remarkable change in societal intent and perception, and one of how a small yet determined society can transform the attitude of a nation.

Although bison suffered an unnatural and traumatic population decline, the Wind Cave bison herd now serves as a foundation for future conservation.

Those 14 bison in 1913 were the beginning of over a century of bison conservation at Wind Cave National Park. They have served as a source of bison to reestablish other herds across the United States and most recently in Mexico and have brought delight and inspiration of millions of park visitors and supporters of the National Park Service.

According to the Lakota people, Wind Cave is the place from which Wakan Tanka, or the Great Mystery, sent bison to the Sioux hunting grounds through a person, known as the buffalo woman, who ascended from Wind Cave to give the Lakota people bison.

Surveying Buffalo at Wind Cave National Park
in the Latino Heritage Internship Program

by Nicole Segnini , Intern, Office of Communications

”I never thought I would learn so much about wildlife in such a short time and be interested in learning more.”

S’mores, late-night card games, embarrassing stories, trying to light up a fire, seeing bison for the first time, learning about Lakota culture, and seeing Cave Boxwork for the first time.

That’s a summary of what I did with a team of interns from the Mosaics In Science and Latino Heritage Internship Program, with some of the Environment for the Americas (EFTA) staff.

Our team: Yuyavan, Paola, Brooke, Will, Shanelle, Griselda, Sheylda and Jedi. The team was full of incredibly smart people whom I learned so much from. I never thought I would learn so much about wildlife in such a short time, and be interested in learning more.

“Our team—we learned about the park’s extensive prairie landscape and its wildlife and helped the park’s wildlife biologist count their bison.”

We went to South Dakota, land of lots of cows, and Wind Cave National Park. During the trip, we learned about the park’s extensive prairie landscape and its wildlife (especially bison and prairie dogs) and helped the park’s wildlife biologist do a count of bison.

I have always cared about animals and wildlife and their conservation. But hearing all of them talk about specific issues, encouraged me to learn more and be more proactive in learning about important wildlife conservation efforts.

At Wind Cave, we did a Natural Entrance Cave Tour and learned about its discovery, where it got its name, and its significance in Lakota culture.

We saw its incredible and unique boxwork throughout the tour. Boxwork is made of thin blades of calcite that project from cave walls and ceilings, forming a honeycomb pattern. 

At one point the lights were turned off, so we could see how it really looks inside the cave. I may have (or may have not) been a tiny bit scared… it was pitch black. It is crazy to think that back in the day people would explore the cave with just a candle…

Our guide, Angela, who is the park’s wildlife biologist, was amazing. She talked about the park’s bison herd and conservation efforts, but she also taught us about other wildlife in the park, like pronghorns and prairie dogs!

After some sandwiches, we headed out to “hunt” bison. We did a bison count or bison survey. This means: we found the park’s herd and counted how many bison and calves were in it.

Discovering bison for the first time. “I counted about 114—from a safe distance.”

A regular count helps Wind Cave keep track of how fast the bison population is growing and can monitor the herd to make sure the animals, and their habitat, are protected and conserved for future generations.

By the end of the count, between 110 to 130 bison, including 12 calves, were observed. I counted about 114. Of course, our count was done from a safe distance. (We did NOT pet the fluffy cows!!).

This was not only a great educational opportunity for us, but it was also a great way to connect with people who share the same love for nature and conservation and to experience the outdoors as some of us had never done before.

Some of us had never even seen a bison (now I have seen quite a few!), others had never gone camping! This trip also encouraged me to learn more about conservation efforts and wildlife at our parks and to head outside to discover.

I am very thankful to Environment for the Americas for allowing me to be part of this amazing adventure!

I am so happy I met Brooke, Yuya, Will, Paola, Shanelle, Griselda and Sheylda. I think we were a great team and worked well with each other. I loved hearing from them about their work, projects, passions, backgrounds and families and sharing things in common with one another.

BONUS! Bison from Custer State Park came to visit us at our camping site!

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Why not celebrate this year’s National Buffalo Day by telling a favorite buffalo story?

Why not celebrate this year’s National Buffalo Day by telling a favorite buffalo story?

How will you celebrate National Buffalo Day this year?

Protecting buffalo calves from wolves was—and today still is in certain areas—a major concern for the entire herd. Sketch by Charles M. Russell, Nov, 1907.

National Bison Day, November 6, 2021, is an annual event. It falls on the first Saturday in November each year.  Americans are encouraged to reflect on the impact Bison have as a part of our environmental and cultural heritage.

Here’s a fun way for us to celebrate: Since we all love stories, why not honor this year’s National Buffalo Day by telling a favorite buffalo story?

Tell it several times—to your family, your buddies, a treasured friend in your long-time care home. Maybe at a meeting you happen to attend that day.

If you work with buffalo, I bet you have a personal, amazing or interesting story or two to share. Even second or third hand will be just fine.

If you’ll share them with us, we’ll reprint them here for National Buffalo Day. Please note the source and send them to us at:

I’m starting early, so you might use these or zero in on your own.

Beginning in 2012, the movement grew to name the Bison as America’s national mammal to bring together bison supporters, including Native Americans, bison producers, conservationists, sportsmen and educators to celebrate the significance of Bison.

It took 4 years and that finally happened on May 9, 2016, when the Bison—and by general consensus, the Buffalo—became our National Mammal with its own special National Bison Day.

The American bison is not only the country’s official mammal; It is also the state mammal of Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas. Many towns, creeks and rivers throughout North America bear the name Buffalo or Bison.

Remember that in North America, we regard the terms Buffalo and Bison as interchangeable—no apologies. So use whichever you prefer!

For reference see National Geographic guidelines, and US-based dictionaries, including Websters Collegiate Dictionary, which declare the terms interchangeable. Buffalo has a long history in North America, dating from 1625 when first recorded—even before Bison was first documented, in 1774.

Professor Dale F. Lott, University of California scientist and author of American Bison: A Natural History puts it well, I think.

“I decided to use both names. . . ” he writes,  “My Science side is drawn to Bison. Yet the side of me that grew up American is drawn to Buffalo—the name by which most Americans have long known it.

Buffalo honors its long, intense and dramatic relationship with the peoples of North America.”

Here are 3 of my all-time favorite buffalo stories. Two are gleaned from that master of Buffalo Lore and knowledge—William Hornaday of the original Smithsonian Museum. His book The Extermination of the American Bison, was published by the US Government Printing Office in 1889.

The other story came from Mike Faith, buffalo manager for Standing Rock herds for some 20 years, now Standing Rock tribal chairman.

How will you celebrate the occasion of National Bison Day, Nov 6? I’m starting early by offering you my 3 favorite buffalo stories.

Will you share some of your favorites too? If we start collecting right now maybe we can have them ready by November 6.

First: Here’s my Number 1 Favorite Buffalo Story:

Noble Fathers We Saw in Action

by Francie M. Berg | Jul 14, 2020

Large gray wolves danced around the circle of bulls in impatient expectancy, licking their chops, while the bulls faced them, snorting and pawing dirt. Painting by CM Russell, The Buffalo Book, David A. Dary.

Buffalo bulls are born with a strong sense of responsibility. The Noble Fathers, they were called in earlier times, for protecting mothers and calves from the ravages of wolves or weather.

When attacked by packs of wolves—and in blizzards and fierce storms, it was said—they form a circle or triangle facing into the wind and shield cows and calves from risks of wintery blasts and vicious wolves.

This remarkable buffalo story—one of my favorites—was told by a medical soldier on the western Plains, back in buffalo hunting days.

One day this army surgeon was out buffalo hunting. As he headed back to camp he saw what he described as “the curious action of a little knot of 6 or 8 buffalo.”

Riding closer, unseen behind the crest of a rocky butte, he noted they were all bulls, standing in a tight circle with their massive heads facing out, snorting and pawing dirt.

A dozen large gray wolves danced around them in impatient expectancy, licking their chops. Now and then a wolf dived in, nipping at buffalo heels.

After a few moments the knot broke up, still keeping its compact mass, and started off for the main herd, a half mile away.

Then to his very great astonishment, the surgeon saw what the bulls were protecting in their midst—a newborn calf trying to stand on wobbly legs.

It stumbled a few paces, then fell back down.

The bulls formed their protective circle again, shaking big heads and stout horns fiercely. The hungry wolves sat back down and licked their chops, awaiting a better chance to attack.

Again, the calf struggled to his feet, stumbled farther ahead, then fell. Each time he fell, he showed a bit more strength The bulls faced out again, fiercely tightening their circle, pawing dust and bellowing.

From his hiding place the surgeon watched this drama play out a few times. The calf struggled ahead, a bit stronger each time before it collapsed. Wolves dove in, snapping at the bulls, got tossed in the air, Furious bulls plunged, pawed dust and slashed with savage horns.

After some time—satisfied that the little calf was safe, the surgeon rode on.

Telling the story later, he said, “I have no doubt the Noble Fathers did their whole duty by their offspring and carried it safely to the herd.”

While the Army surgeon watched, the buffalo bulls protected one small newborn calf until he was strong though to catch up with the herd. Courtesy of National Park Service.

I saw those “noble fathers” in action once myself—and they did protect the buffalo calves.

We were riding horseback in the North Unit of Teddy Roosevelt Park with some friends.

Our kids were teenagers then and we were about 15 riders. As we rode over a hill, we saw—spread out and grazing below us—the North Unit herd of about 60 buffalo.

They looked up, startled by the sudden appearance of so many riders, and began to run. We reined in our horses and paused to watch.

They didn’t run far. The big bulls stopped in an open area and formed a tight circle facing us, shaking their massive heads, while cows and calves took the inside, milling around

It was clearly a defensive position they all understood—and we did too—the calves well-hidden and nosed around by nervous moms in the center, while the bulls came forward—ready and eager to take us on.

Describing a similar defensive move during the 19th century, Colonel R.I. Dodge, wrote in his Plains of the Great West:

“The bulls with heads erect, tails cocked in air, nostrils expanded and eyes that seem to flash fire, walk uneasily to and fro, menacing the intruders by pawing the earth and tossing their huge heads.”

We paused and watched the amazing bulls for awhile, charmed to think that for over 100 years and several generations this herd and their ancestors had lived safely inside the Teddy Roosevelt National Park—with no large enemies to fear.

Yet this generation of noble fathers stood just as ready to fight us off and protect with their lives the young calves and their mothers, just as dozens of observers had described their responses to real dangers long ago.

No hungry wolves would have broken through their defenses that day! No wolves or grizzly bears or hunters.

Of course, we skirted far around the herd and let the buffalo bulls think they had stood off our attack.

(Copyright 2020 by Francie M. Berg. on July 14, 2020, in the blog <>, from William Hornaday’s 1889 book “The Extermination of the American Bison,” and a personal family experience.)

Mother Buffalo help each other

My 2nd most favorite story
Francie M. Berg,

Told by Mike Faith, Standing Rock’s Buffalo Manager for some 20 years, now Standing Rock Tribal Chairman.

Mike Faith told me buffalo watch out for each other for warning signs of danger or stress.

When it comes time for a cow to give birth she finds a secluded place such as a ravine with trees. She has time for herself, to be alone there when the calf is born.

There she is able to bond with her newborn, nourish and defend it, until it is strong enough to join the herd.

But she’s not quite alone. The mother has several female friends who hang around—not so close as to interfere, says Faith—but near enough to watch for predators and guard against possible interruptions.

Buffalo cows often watch out for each other, and give help when needed. National Park Service.

 “If a new mother is too nervous, gets up and moves away before she’s ready, she might not bond with her calf,” he says.

“If she gets spooked, she might abandon her newborn and not come back. The calf can die of starvation.”

Faith told me that one morning he saw three cows acting in a peculiar way.

They were grazing together on the plateau above a cutbank.

One at a time, each buffalo cow walked over to the edge of the cutbank, looked down on the flat below for awhile and then returned to her grazing.

They stayed nearby and occasionally each one went back and looked over the bank again.

As he sat in his pickup and watched, Faith couldn’t see what the cows were concerned about, but didn’t want to disturb them.

So he drove around where he could see the grassy area below the bank.

There he saw two coyotes circling a young, sleeping calf at some distance.

As he drove closer, the coyotes saw him and started to run.

They disappeared over the hill, but Faith said he had no doubt if the coyotes had come too close to the sleeping calf, the cows would have charged down the steep trail and chased them away.

The buffalo mother’s two friends were helping her keep watch and protect the sleeping calf.

(Copyright 2020, as told to Francie M. Berg by Mike Faith, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman, Ft. Yates, ND.)

Great Indian Buffalo Horses

My 3rd most Favorite Buffalo Story
by Francie M. Berg, Jun 30, 2020

According to all accounts Indian buffalo hunting horses were better trained for the job than those of white hunters, reported William Hornaday. Painting by CM Russell.

Painting by CM Russell, Amon Carter museum.

According to all accounts, the Indian buffalo hunting horses were better trained for the job than those of white hunters, reported William Hornaday. He credited this to the fact that Indian hunters shooting with bow and arrows required free use of both their hands.

This was only possible when the horse took the right course of its own free will and held close to the buffalo during a charge—as guided by knee pressure alone.

“Indeed,” he wrote. “In running buffalo with only the bow and arrow, nothing but the willing cooperation of the horse could have possibly made this mode of hunting successful.

“But for the willingness and even genuine eagerness with which the buffalo horses entered into the chase, hunting on horseback would have been attended with almost insurmountable difficulties.”

Indian horses seemed to take special pleasure in running buffalo.

William Hornaday noted that the explorers, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were impressed with the passion for buffalo hunting of the Indian horses they purchased from the Shoshones in trade for their journey across the Rocky Mountains.

After they had traveled to the Pacific Ocean and back, they re-crossed the Continental Divide, and then divided their party.

Clark took the horses on the southern route through rich buffalo country along the Yellowstone River.

He delegated their 49 Indian horses to Sergeant Pryor with a couple of riders to bring downriver, while to save time he and the others went on boats that they built, mostly of cottonwood trees.

But he got a complaint from Sgt. Pryor, who sent word that he needed at least one more rider.

It was almost impossible, Pryor reported, to drive their horses along the shore with the help of only two men.

There were so many herds of buffalo grazing on the rich grasses of the Yellowstone Valley, and the Indian horses were so eager to hunt them, that they tried to roundup every herd they saw.

“In passing every gangue of buffalow, the loos horses immediately set off in pursuit of them, and surrounded the buffalo herd with almost as much skill as their riders could have done,” Clark wrote in his journal.

“All those that speed sufficient would head the buffalow and those of less speed would pursue on as fast as they could.”

Sgt. Pryor found the only practical method was to have the extra man ride ahead—and whenever he saw a herd of buffalo to chase them off before the main horse herd came close enough to pursue them.

As reported by Hornaday, the Hon. H.H. Sibley also told of the dedication of one horse that had lost its rider on a Red River Metis hunt.

An experienced buffalo horse “continued the chase as if he of himself could accomplish great things, so much do these animals become imbued with a passion of this sport!” CM Russell painting.

“One of the hunters fell from his saddle and was unable to overtake his horse, which continued the chase as if he of himself could accomplish great things, so much do these animals become imbued with a passion of this sport!”

Another hunter who left his favorite buffalo horse in camp for a day’s rest, asked his wife to tie the horse. But the horse pulled loose and galloped off to join the hunt.

“The chase ended. He came neighing to his master—who he soon singled out.”

 “He continued to keep pace with the hunters in their pursuit of the buffalo, seeming to await with impatience the fall of some of them to earth.

“The chase ended. He came neighing to his master, who he soon singled out, although the men were dispersed here and there for a distance of miles,” wrote Sibley.

(Copyright Jun 30, 2020, by Francie M. Berg from the blog <> quoting from William Hornaday’s 1889 book “The Extermination of the American Bison,” and the “Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806.”)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

ND Capital Gallery Honors Buffalo with Bison Ballet Exhibit

ND Capital Gallery Honors Buffalo with Bison Ballet Exhibit

Dave Borlaug holds a “Bison Ballet” exhibit painted by Sally Chernenko at The Capitol Gallery in downtown Bismarck.

“One of the most remarkable displays we’ve ever had is the Bison Ballet Exhibit,” says David Borlaug, Co-Director of The Capital Gallery. “22 artists with 70 pieces.”

Some of the artists exhibiting are Kaye Burian, Sam Coleman, James McCulloch, Walter Piehl, Marcella Rose, Monte Yellow Bird and Butch Thunder Hawk.

“Each, in their own way, expressing how these ‘Primas of the Plains,’ look though their mind’s eye,” adds co-director Marci Narum. “From highly detailed, representational paintings, to expressive or abstract, along with bronzes and other three-dimensional works, it’s a fascinating display.”

It’s true that when people think about North Dakota, one of the first things to come to mind is bison—or buffalo. They are an inspiration to many.

“No subject matter has been more popular. I mean, here we are on the Northern Plains. The monarch of the plains. But whether it’s realistic, expressive or abstract people love Bison,” said Borlaug.

Branches of The Capital Gallery are also in Fargo and Medora—in Medora at the Herald Schafer Heritage Center. Borlaug says after the show closes Oct 19, they will be restaging exhibits and moving art work back and forth between the three Galleries. 

All items are for sale, and the Galleries also have gift shops. Open Monday through Saturday 10 am-5 pm. Sundays by appointment.

It’s the love for bison in the Peace Garden State that has artists like Linda Donlin wanting to take part in the show.

“We could go out to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and see them and photograph them and appreciate the beauty and understand what they’ve meant to the people that came before us. And that for the people that will go ahead of us and still have them to appreciate,” explained Donlin.

Donlin’s knife painting method is seen in both of the pieces of art she has on display in the Bison Ballet.

In Spring Storm, she has a mother and her calf grazing in the Badlands, and in A Bison Rising, she chose to focus on the beauty of the animal.

“They have such beautiful, soulful eyes and I wanted to show this very majestic bison on a bluff and looking out and have this beautiful sunrise behind him. Then the name just came to me: A Bison Rising,” said Donlin.

The gallery is covered in one-of-a-kind renditions of the bison.

“From ceramic to bronze sculptures to clay and of course the myriad of canvasses,” explained Borlaug.

Borlaug says Bison Ballet also shows an array of artists from newcomers to familiar faces they’ve worked with in the past. (Credits to Bismarck Tribune and Nexstar Media, 2021.)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Wainwright’s Buffalo Legacy

Wainwright’s Buffalo Legacy

Today a magnificent, lunging buffalo bull statue greets visitors in Wainwright with a silent bellow. It was erected just off the highway on Main Street in July 1965 in memory of the great buffalo herds that once roamed Buffalo National Park. The unveiling attended by many townspeople—including a group of Buffalo Riders who rode the range in the buffalo park. Sculptor, Heiko Hespe.

Wainwright, Alberta, is a midsized town in the Canadian Great Plains with a tumultuous buffalo legacy. It lies east of the Rocky Mountains just west a few miles from the Saskatchewan border and to the northeast of Calgary.

From ancient times buffalo grazed those northern grasslands by the millions. Then they were gone—every single one—seemingly for good. Suddenly they returned and multiplied again to many thousands—for 30 years—then totally vanished again.

Today a peaceful “Bud Cotton Buffalo Paddock” stands at the entrance to Camp Wainwright in celebration of that rich buffalo heritage.

Four yearling bison, donated by the Superintendent of Elk Island National Park to commemorate that plains-bison-saving-effort at Buffalo National Park from 1909 to 1939, have grown to a stable 35 head. Also today a magnificent, lunging buffalo bull statue greets visitors with a silent bellow.

What happened during those 30 chaotic years? And who was the legendary Bud Cotton?

This is the story of those 30 years and Bud Cotton’s tribute to his Buffalo Roundup Gang and their stories.

Every school child in Wainwright knows what happened. Their fathers, grandfathers or uncles maybe rode with Bud Cotton in the great buffalo round-ups between 1909 and 1939.

Bud Cotton is a legend. He didn’t forget. In fact, he wrote down the stories. They’re well known in Wainwright.

Bud Cotton’s stories are today family tales told around campfires and in lecture halls.

Great Days—Never to be Forgotten!

“Great days!” Bud Cotton recalls. ”The Buffalo Riders will never forget!”

“Frost bites and bruised bones healed and were forgotten. But memories of hard rides and frozen sandwich lunches, out in the Park hills, a blazing fire to help drive away the frost from tingling toes and cold-seared faces. You would be roasted on one side and froze on the other.

Bringing them in to the corrals against the drift fence at Wainwright on a dead run! The buffalo bore some scars—and so did the Buffalo Roundup Riders.

“Buffalo we had corralled, branded and manhandled by the thousand bore some scars and brands. But then the riders still bear scars and sore bones as mementoes of those same good old days!”

From 1912 through 1940, E.J. (‘Bud’) Cotton was the Buffalo Park Warden at Wainwright, Alberta.

An old-fashioned buffalo handler who rode hard and worked his crew hard in the worst possible winter weather, he arranged for his men to change their lathered-up horses each noon–with fresh horses for the always-challenging afternoon ride.

Cotton hired a hard-riding Buffalo Roundup Gang—as he called them—for ‘fall’ roundup, which they tackled in stride during the coldest days of winter when buffalo hides were prime.

Long before the advent of low-stress handling practices were being advocated for buffalo, the buffalo herds were literally wild animals, and they came stampeding between the drift fences toward the open gate at a dead run.

Cotton said his corral fences looked strong enough to hold an elephant “but just stick around until we run a bunch of buffalo into them, then watch the splinters fly!”

When the second wave of buffalo arrived at Wainwright in 1909 they were welcomed with joy. The town was waiting.

Canadian officials realized their plains buffalo were fast disappearing and began their search for ways to repopulate their grasslands with buffalo before they went extinct. 

They found it south of the border in Montana in the healthy, growing buffalo herd owned by Michel Pablo and Charles Allard on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

With settlers closing in on them, the Montanans were losing their free range on Indian land by the turn of the century. Pablo, the surviving owner, decided to sell. He hoped to sell them to the US government, but his offer was scorned in Washington.

Canada offered to pay Pablo’s price for the whole herd of some 300 head at $200 each plus $45 for shipping by rail. Rounding up the buffalo and getting them to the shipping point in Ravali MT was not easy—it took Pablo and his round-up crew 6 years. By then he had twice that many to sell.

Meanwhile, 9 miles south of Wainwritght the handlers were hurrying to complete a 9-foot wire fence built around 200 square miles to hold them.

The first year, 1907, 411 buffalo made the 1,200 mile journey switching over onto five railway systems in all. The destination was to have been Wainwright, but because the fences were not finished there, they lived at Elk Island Park for a time.

Two years later the herd was moved to Wainwright except for 49 strays which could not be captured—they formed the first herd in Elk Island Park. 

Unloading buffalo from the freight train at Wainwright.

In July the Wainwright Star reported that 190 additional buffalo had arrived and approximately 150 head would be shipped later .  .  .

In total, Michael Pablo shipped 716, according to Canadian buffalo historian Valerius Geist. Canada paid $245 each, including the same for each newborn calf.

By 1910 the count was 800 buffalo, 2 moose, 4 elk and 36 deer which got fenced in too. Later 13 antelope, 11 moose and 2 more elk were added.

In 1923 the Hollywood movie “The Last Frontier” was filmed at Wainwright. The Park Riders were signed up as stunt men and extras.

Buffalo were also shipped to zoos and parks all over the world.

 Bud Cotton’s Buffalo Roundup Gang

For the first 10 years the buffalo herd at Wainwright was allowed to multiply naturally. But soon it was growing too fast even for its 200-square mile range. Every few years the whole herd doubled in size—and then doubled again!

For the first 10 years the buffalo herd at Wainwright was allowed to multiply naturally. It doubled—and then doubled again.

Only a few head were corralled now and again and shipped to England, Ireland, Germany and Italy and to various parks in the US and Canada. Still the healthy herd multiplied.

Something had to be done to curb the growth. The decision was to build a slaughter house and sell prime buffalo hides and meat.

Bud Cotton hired a hard-riding Buffalo Roundup Gang—as he called them—for ‘fall’ roundup, which they tackled in stride for 19 years during the coldest days of winter when the hides were prime.

Long before the advent of low-stress practices were advocated for handling buffalo, they were generally treated like cattle—expected to respond like cattle.

Instead buffalo responded like deer, elk and other wild animals, and they stampeded between the drift fences at the Wainwright pasture toward the gate at a dead run.

But buffalo are not cattle—they were literally wild animals.

Cotton said their corral fences looked strong enough to hold an elephant “but just stick around until we run a bunch of buffalo into them, then watch the splinters fly!”

He praised his Buffalo Riders for their toughness and endurance.

“Bert Kitchen should still show some scars,” he wrote.

“We happened to be heading fast through a narrow draw on the high lope, eight riders strung out head to tail, trying to head off a bunch of break-away buffalo.

“Bert was in the lead when his horse went down, some of our horses jumped over him and some just walked down his lanky frame. Our horses were all shod with ‘never-slip’ or Spade Caulks.

“We all sighed ‘Poor Bert,’ but by the time we had circled back to the rescue, Bert had picked himself out of the snow and was mounted again, and mumbled something about how he had busted his cigarette lighter.

Vern Treffry holding a buffalo calf.

“Vern Treffry will always remember his grand slide down Jameson Lake hill. It was sure hard on his vest buttons, but he made it down to the bottom and headed the buffalo while his saddle horse looked on from the top of the hill, one leg still jammed deep in a badger hole.”

“Hi Dunning tied onto a balky buffalo cow and hitched her hard and fast onto his saddle horn. Now a buffalo cow is not bashful. Things started to happen fast!!

“First his saddle cinch loosened and the saddle started to turn. About that time his horse just didn’t like the looks of the buffalo cow so close and hooked one hind leg over the taut rope and started to buck.

“Hi was sure in the middle of trouble with no hope of getting that hard knot from the saddle horn.

“Warren Blinn rides in close and cuts Hi’s new rope, thus leaving Hi and his horse free from the now thoroughly peeved buffalo.

“Still Hi was uncertain whether to bless Warren for saving him from a real dirty mix-up, or to cuss him for cutting his brand new Italian hemp lariat!

“Jack Johnston, he too was on our Riding Crew. He raced his buckskin pony ahead to open a gate for us, but apparently the buffalo were coming just too fast. Guess about 20 head of buffalos ran over him. Lucky though, they were ‘light shippers’ so Jack was able to keep his date down Greenshilds way that night.

“Dick McNairn rode with the roundup crew for many a winter and could tell you tales of fast running buffalo and cold miles of saddle polishing.

“Dick riding hard and close, trying to haze in a big grumpy buffalo bull on one of our roundups. Down goes his horse in a slitherin’ roll, the bull whirls and stands there looking Dick right in the eye.

“Dick was pinned down by one leg as the horse rolled, but he looked that old bull right in the eye. The bull snorted and loped away just as we were riding up to unscramble one lone rider.

“Felix Courier could tell you tales too. On one roundup his horse fell and left him on foot bout ten miles out around Sandhill Corner.

“His saddle horse came in with the bunch, so we sent out the truck to pick up what could be a busted-up rider.

“He was OK, tho a little perturbed about getting cold beans for supper at camp.

“One real bad mix-up Felix got into was when we were running a fast bunch into the corral approaches, racing close in on the drag of a packed herd of a couple hundred buffalo.

“Suddenly the bunch split around a heavy clump of willow. This left him smack in front of the obstacle.

“His horse piled up on the willows and we had to pry Felix loose. He cussed the saddle horse and the buffalos a little and complained of being a little stiff the next day, but was still chasing buffalo on the roundup.”

“We had about 12 regular riders on the roundups.

“We always looked forward to the times that the Gang rode together. Taking hard knocks, broken bones and bitter cold weather as a matter of course, our riders came back year after year, because there was something fascinating and a surging exhilaration that only the Buffalo Riders will ever know.

Bert Kitchen with his trick roping corralling the Gang instead of the Buffalo.

“Only these riders experienced the thrill of careening over an open Range for miles with 5,000 to 8,000 buffalo thundering along in flying dust of snow clouds.

“Park Regulations prohibited any visitors on our roundup drives, so We the Crew rode alone to sights and scenes that we will never forget.”

First roundup

The first roundup was in 1921—it extended into January.

Said one park rider, “Despite below zero weather, icy range conditions and deep snow and roundup—corralling and cutting out of beef from the main herd continued. It was cold, hard riding but we—the riders—always had the buffalo at the slaughterhouse and never held up the butchering crews.

“On the first buffalo roundup, the main herd had never been corralled and did not know what a gate was for. So both the buffalo and the park round-up crew had lots to learn.

“We learned fast that the buffalo could outrun and outwind our horses as we tried to run them over 20 miles, through bush, sand ridges and snow-covered badger holes.

“The herd in 1921 was a little over 4,000 head . . .  and wild!

“I have seen us riders pick up around 1,000 head in the Battle River hills and riding our horses to a frazzle towards the corrals on the dead run . . . were lucky if we were successful in getting 200 or 300 in our corrals.

“I might add that on some days we landed at the bunk house with no buffalo to show for the hard day’s ride!”

You might wonder:  Why were the Roundup Riders working so hard with buffalo in the coldest part of winter? When, unlike this, cattlemen roundup, sort and sell during the often-delightful golden days of fall.

Cotton explains the difference: “With cattle we don’t worry about how prime the hides are. Down on the big cattle ranches—roundups for beef are pretty well all finished up by the time snow hits.

“With the buffalo it’s different, as both beef and hide count, and the buffalo’s hide is not considered prime until December or later.

“This hide, when prime, makes beautiful robes and coats. That’s why you will hear of riders hitting the roundup trails in 40 below zero weather, right up to their necks in snow banks.”

A typical Buffalo Roundup day with Bud Cotton

At one point in his memoirs Bud Cotton suggests we ride along with him for a typical day on a Buffalo Roundup.

In his own western vernacular, he writes, “Throw a gallon of oats into that lop-eared saddle pony of yours, Stranger. Then we’ll lope along to the ranch for a day or so with the round-up crew.

 “Two hundred square miles of range, sandhills, muskeg and brush, 8,000 buffalo to find and run into the corrals. Come along with the gang. We’re headed out for those sand ridges you can see some 12 miles west.

“We’re headed out for those sand ridges you can see some 12 miles west.”

“Just stick close to one of the riders when we start them on the run. If your horse goes into a nose dive and leaves you afoot, just hit for the top of a butte. We’ll come back and pick you up later, for once we start buffalo running we can’t leave them till we hit the corrals.

“Where will your horse be? Why he’ll be running with us.

“There’s the buffalo! About a thousand, spread out and grazing contentedly among the sand dunes. Sure a great sight! To look at them you would never think they could run, would you?” Get ready, they can—40 miles an hour! And they can spin on a dime! Photo Wainwright Park, by Carsell.

“Getting pretty close now. Some of the riders have circled wide and are closing in around the bunch and the buffalo are getting restless at the sight of saddle horses.

“A bull here and there is pawing dirt and snorting. A tail goes up—and the Mammy buffalo start fretting over their calves.

“Then with a thunder of hoofs the whole bunch are off at a pace that makes your horse stretch himself and the wind and dust bring tears to your eyes, as with nerves atingle you try to stay with the racing herd.

“This is no range steer round-up. The pace is too fast. Fast as a wild horse round-up only worse. Buffalo will not bunch when driven, but try to break away in small bunches, every direction.

“So you go careening along over the hills in the wake of the herd. The leading buffalo are a full mile ahead, with some of the riders on either flank working like Trojans to keep them heading in the right direction.

“As you see more small bunches break away from the riders and into the sand ridges you think, ’What’s the use of trying to hang on to those crazy brutes? We won’t get them near the corrals, let alone into them.’

“Then you hold your breath and all leather that’s within reach as your horse slides down a sand bank and all but stands on his nose.

“You just get your breath back again when a howl from a racing rider off your left tells you to look out! Here she comes!

“A COMING IS SHE . . . with blood in her eye. You have got between a mammy buffalo and her winded calf.

“Right under your horse’s tail! Giddup! Gee! Bet you wish you could step on the gas. Your horse carries you safely away from the indignant old mother buffalo!

“You heave a sigh and wonder what’s next. ’Don’t get bogged in muskeg,’ howls a rider on your right as you top the sand ridge.

“Cresting the ridge and as your horse slides and leaps down into a heavily timbered valley, you catch a glimpse of drift fences and corral gates two miles away on the other side.

“The only way you know there are any buffalo is by the snorts and crashing of brush as the brutes tear through. Then ‘Ker-splash!’ and you are in the muskeg . . .

“You hear yells all around. ‘Where the devil is that crossing?’

The only way you know there are any buffalo is by the snorts and crashing of brush as they tear through. Then ‘Ker-splash!—you’re in the muskeg . . .

“Where’s the buffalo, the riders and everything, you wonder as you scrape mud out of your eyes and try to encourage your horse to get back on solid ground.

“There’s a crash and a grunt right behind you as a lone old buffalo bull comes in. He looks big so you go right across that muskeg and give him lots of room.

“Out on solid ground again the noise ahead tells you the riders have a bunch and are fighting to hold them from breaking away. Fully 500 buffaloes are running strong and fighting to get away as riders streak here and there trying to hold the milling herd and head them down the drift fence.

“The leaders are heading straight for the gate now, with all the riders spread out in the rear.
‘Well we sure got ‘em now. Maybe—if we can hold ‘em.’

“Part of the bunch go through the gate and the remainder turn and hit for the open spaces. Despite some breakneck riding, part of them get away.

“’Well we got about 400 that time anyway,’ a rider with yellow chaps remarks as he comes up alongside on a sweat-lathered horse. ‘Lots more left for another day.’

“’There’s two buffalo mired back there in the muskeg,’ a rider announces as he lopes up and joins us at the gate. ‘Let’s go back and snake ‘em out.’

“Back in the muskeg, where it has been crowded and trampled into the deep mud, a yearling wallows right up to his neck. A lariat whistles out and lands over its head as a rider circles close.

“A snub of the rope around the saddle horn, a heave as the horse puts his weight on the rope and out he comes. Easy money!

“Further over, struggles and flounders an old cow, just stuck deep enough to hold, but too far out to reach with a lariat. It’s a case of wade in and all hands on the tow line. Gradually, with her eyes a-rolling and snorting vengeance out comes the dear old dame.

“’Snub that line!’ yell the boys on foot as they pass the end of the lariat to a rider and then scatter. For just as soon as the cow hits solid footing she lets out a snort and charges her rescuers. No gratitude there!

“She has to be thrown and the rope taken off. This operation takes nerve as it is a case of slipping the rope, then beating it for your horse before the spiteful cow can get up.

“Let’s high-tail it for camp and dinner. The riders are away in a swirl of dust. Arriving at camp tired, sweaty and sore, you crawl off the horse. Your belt buckle feels up against your backbone and you are hungry enough to eat an ox.

“After dinner, with a smile of complaisance and a cigarette in your mush you wander down to the stable corrals and watch riders saddling up fresh horses for the afternoon work, which consists of putting through the corral chutes the buffalo that you helped run into that mile-square enclosure awhile ago.

“On a fresh horse you ramble up to the corrals with a couple of riders who are taking charge of the big slide gates, when the other riders run the bunch in.

“But you notice broken posts and splintered planks here and there which tells you that something besides the wind has been blowing around here.

“Yells in the distance and a drumming of hoofs tells you that the action has started. Coming into view over a fold in the rough ground half a mile away, you see the buffalo coming on the dead run, with riders darting here and there in the rear, herding, holding and turning the buffalo along drift fences.

Riders—at upper left—bring them in at a fast run, darting here and there, herding, holding and turning the buffalo. Some go in–others break back in every direction.

 “As the buffalo near the corral gates, the converging drift fences bunch them into a compact running mass, dust clouds with buffalo and riders all mixed-up. Part go into the corral. Some break back.

“The big gates slide shut with buffalo inside milling. Some charge back at the gate and, landing with a crash, threaten to go through. One hits the side head-on and is hurtled back by the impact with its neck broken.

“Just a spasmodic kick or two and there it lies, dead—rather than submit to being manhandled.

“The others quiet down into a sullen and resentful submission, jumpy and showing fight as riders appear on the corral sides.

“The sweating and heaving saddle ponies are all tied up along the corral, for their part is done. The riders have to get into the corrals with the buffalo and work them afoot. A saddle horse in that corral full of buffalo would not last a minute.

“A man, by keeping on the alert, can always climb out of the way when a buffalo takes after him—though he wants his jumping apparatus in first-class condition.

“With 100 or so in the corrals the cutting out starts. From there on into the chutes one at a time.

“If it’s a beef animal it is released into the beef enclosure where it is held until butchers are ready for it.

“The others are let right through the chutes after being checked for the annual herd census into a 16-square mile enclosure until after roundup.

“That night, back at the bunk house with the riders, a full supper under your belt and the old pipe smoking just right, the excitement of the day is still with you and you want to hear more about this ‘Buffalodom.’

“Now anybody can ride—but to hit the saddle day after day, sunshine and rain, requires more than that. We all rode for wages, yet if that was all we rode for, those old roundups would have been riderless.

“It was for the love of the game and the horses that kept us at it—when hambones were weary and knees felt like lumps of lead. It was the creak of saddle leather, a horse and the lure of the open range that got a fellow—and he stuck!

“So stranger, dawn comes early in range land. Let’s hit the blankets, for there’s still over 6,000 buffalo roaming the hills tonight that we have to corral during the next few weeks.

“Sport? Sure you’ll get lots of it—saddle blisters too—if you ride with the Buffalo Park roundup crew!”

Closing out the Wainwright Herd

In 1925, 1,625 buffalo were shipped out to Wood Buffalo Park. Then for the next four years about 2,000 head made the 700-mile rail and water trek to Great Slave Lake.

For 4 years some 2,000 buffalo travelled 700 miles each year by water and rail to a new home at Great Slave Lake. This photo shows the stockyards where buffalo were loaded onto boats for part of their trip.

The first shipments were branded with ‘Gamb Joint W’ brand. The ‘W’ brand provided identification so that northern game wardens could distinguish the Wainwright buffalo from their own herd. They branded 1,634 head before protests from the SPCA forced them to discontinue branding.

“In 1938 command was received from Ottawa that the Wainwright Buffalo Park Reserve was to be cleared of all animals—to become a National Defense Area,” recalls Cotton.

The pasture was deemed ideal for a military practice range. The buffalo had to go.

In 1945-46, the Camp was used as a prisoner of war facility where over 1,000 German Officers were interned.

“In all the 6,673 head of buffalo they shipped north still holds the record as being the largest movement of wildlife ever undertaken by rail and water.

“Others were rounded up and slaughtered. And the remaining gallant animals that couldn’t be corralled were shot as they roamed the plains.

It was wartime in Europe—time for war preparation in Canada.

“The round-up continued all winter and by spring of ’40 the Battle River Valleys became deserted range lands, void of all animals.

“In the peak years in Buffalo Park we were handling over 8,000 buffalo through the corrals. Two thousand was the record of the annual slaughter through the processing plant. Other years from 1200 to 1600 were cut out for beef and hides.

By 1940 over 40,000 Great Plains Bison were produced and shipped from Buffalo National Park all over North America, Europe and Asia.

“Sam Purshell was our sharpshooter and undoubtedly holds the world’s record with an estimated 39,000 buffalo shot. Sam’s job was a real tough and cold one. Ten to 40 below, he was out in the beef enclosure averaging 50 to 80 animals a day to keep the slaughter house crew busy.

“The buffalo riders too hold a record! Through corrals over 48,000 buffalo were checked through on 19 roundups. In addition to branding 1,634 of the 6,673 shipped north, 60 head of buffalo heifers were dehorned for a special assignment.

“For 30 years the buffalo had again trod the old trails and dug out the sand-filled wallows of their ancestors. The Battle River hills rumbled again with the thunder of mating bulls in mid-summer.

Battle River hills rumbled once again with the thunder of mating bulls in mid-summer for the Leader of the Herd. Now it’s only an illusion for Bud Cotton. Yet he longs to see a faded old buffalo wandering the valleys and sand ridges and looks for him—“Every time I travel over that ridge!” Photo 1909, JH Gano.

“Dust clouds rose from drumming hoofs . . . but now the dust clouds rise as the huge army tanks complete their maneuvers. The Department of National Defense took over on July 1, 1940.

“Allen Treffry rode with us on the roundups for many a year. Later he rode the old Buffalo Range in a jeep for DND.

“Twenty-one years had gone by since we cleared the last buffalo out of the park, but I’ll bet he still looked down in the valleys and sand ridges—hoping to see a buffalo.

“I know I do—every time I travel over that ridge!”

Excerpted from: Saga of the Wainwright Buffalo Reserve, by Bud Cotton, Buffalo Park Warden 1912-1940, from Buffalo Trails and Tales, Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, 1973.

NEXT: Celebrate National Bison Day, November 6, 2021


Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Pin It on Pinterest