August 2, 1867
"In such manner has the work of the semi-annual hunts been conducted for over half a century, and in the same way will it continue, growing less in importance yearly, until the last buffalo shall have ceased to exist. Their importance the years gone by can hardly be overestimated. They have furnished the main support of a population numbering ten thousand souls."
The Great Fur Land - The Great Fall Hunt
The serious decrease in the number of buffalo, which has been observed year by year, threatens to produce a very disastrous effect upon the provision trade of the country; and the time can not be far distant when some new provision must be found to take the place of the old. We recollect very well when pemmican, which now can be procured with difficulty for one shilling and three pence a pound, could be had at two pence, and dried meat formerly costing two pence now costs ten pence. This is a fact which threatens to revolutionize in a manner the whole business of the territory, but more particularly the transport service of the company. The camp, which has for days been on the verge of starvation, after the return of the hunters from the chase becomes a scene of feasting and revelry; and gastronomic feats are performed which seem incredible to those unacquainted with the appetite begotten of a roving life, unlimited fresh air, and the digestible nature of the food. As with the daughters of the horse-leech, there is a continued demand for more, until the consumption of tongues, melting hump, and dripping ribs, bids fair to threaten the entire camp with immediate asphyxia. All night long the feasting continues among the groups formed about the camp-fires, and roasting, boiling, and stewing are the order of the hour. Were the supply certain to be exhausted on the morrow, the consumption would go on just the same, the improvident hunter entertaining no idea of reserving of present excess for future scarcity. Happily, the supply is abundant, for it sometimes happens that the carts are fully loaded with meat in a single chase. In that event, the major part of them are at once started homeward in charge of boys and the younger men, while the hunters follow up the herd to obtain a further supply of robes. A view of the prairie, after a run in which the acquisition of robes is the sole object, reveals the enormous waste of life which annually occurs. The plain for miles is covered with the carcasses of buffalo from which nothing has been taken save the hides, tongues, and it may be the more savory portions of the hump; the remainder being left to the wolves and carrion-birds. Should the first run fail to secure a sufficient supply of meat, however, the chase is continued until the complement is obtained, each hunter starting his carts homeward as they are filled.
In such manner has the work of the semi-annual hunts been conducted for over half a century, and in the same way will it continue, growing less in importance yearly, until the last buffalo shall have ceased to exist. Their importance the years gone by can hardly be overestimated. They have furnished the main support of a population numbering ten thousand souls, and furnished the trade with a great part of its annual supplies of robes and furs. An enterprising and flourishing province is springing up about the site of the little colony of hunters, rendered all the more easy of establishment by the stability and wealth derived from the chase. But, unfortunately, the older nomads are crowded by this civilization. They belong to a race apart, and are scared by fences and enclosures, as if they confined even the free air within bounds and limits. Gradually they retire before it, following the buffalo closer and closer to the Rocky Mountains, until finally both will disappear together.