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Does anyone know why the Buffalo did not become the most common American "cattle"?


FredCDobbs
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I've never understood it.

 

Buffalo tastes better than  European cows.

 

There were plenty of free Buffalo in the West.

 

So why didn't American Buffalo become the most common type of American Cattle as a food and leather supply?

They were shot.

 

The reason they were shot is to force the Native tribes that relied on them into starvation, and subsequent submission to the reservation system, and dependence on the beef supplied them by Federal government contractors.

 

A contributory factor is that buffalo, or bison, were wild, big, and unruly.  Cattle were already domesticated, relatively small, and manageable.  With the exception of the Texas Longhorn.

 

A reason buffalo taste better, and this is a guess, is that they are mostly grass fed.  Most beef are grain fed.  I hear, though have not tasted, grass fed beef tastes different/better.

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I'm a little afraid to open this one up. Without quoting reference material, I'll just say that they were hunted to near extinction solely for their hides, with full carrion left to scavengers and rot. Their numbers were quickly reduced from millions to mere hundreds.

 

Wild and domestic cattle filled the void for meat.

 

That's my understanding of it.

 

And then came the Arabs, and they all drove Mercedes.

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Thanks fellas.....

 

I don’t know the reason why, but it seems that if a new wide-open country has millions of head of native wild cattle already in place, rounding them up for sale would be the easiest thing to do.

 

The buffalo weren’t all killed off until after the Civil War and the completion in 1869 of the trans-continental railroad. For 300 years the Spanish imported cattle from Europe, and the cows didn’t do as well on the open grazing land as Buffalo did.

 

So why go to the expense of importing thousands of cattle and waiting years for herds to expand and grow, while there were millions of free buffalo still available in the 1700s and early 1800s? Why didn’t they sell the meat and the hides? They did that to the cows. Cow hides have always been used for clothes, shoes, boots, coats, etc. But I think they didn’t need to import the cows.

 

I’m thinkin’ maybe that buffalo might have been more independent than cattle and were perhaps too difficult to keep in one small range, and to difficult to round up, control, and herd. Like trying to herd cats. In early cattle decades, fences weren’t used and weren’t needed, so maybe they stayed around grazing in one place better than the buffalo did, in the era before fencing.

 

It might have taken too many cowboys to move a small group of buffalo. Plus, the lack of pickup trucks back in the old days........ :)

 

 

 

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Thanks fellas.....

 

I don’t know the reason why, but it seems that if a new wide-open country has millions of head of native wild cattle already in place, rounding them up for sale would be the easiest thing to do.

 

The buffalo weren’t all killed off until after the Civil War and the completion in 1869 of the trans-continental railroad. For 300 years the Spanish imported cattle from Europe, and the cows didn’t do as well on the open grazing land as Buffalo did.

 

So why go to the expense of importing thousands of cattle and waiting years for herds to expand and grow, while there were millions of free buffalo still available in the 1700s and early 1800s? Why didn’t they sell the meat and the hides? They did that to the cows. Cow hides have always been used for clothes, shoes, boots, coats, etc. But I think they didn’t need to import the cows.

 

I’m thinkin’ maybe that buffalo might have been more independent than cattle and were perhaps too difficult to keep in one small range, and to difficult to round up, control, and herd. Like trying to herd cats. In early cattle decades, fences weren’t used and weren’t needed, so maybe they stayed around grazing in one place better than the buffalo did, in the era before fencing.

I think you've gone a long way to answering your question.  A good reason the Spanish and other colonists brought cattle with them is that the places they started (Mexico, and the East Coast) had no buffalo.  As for not making use of the meat, well, the place where the buffalo were, and the place where the meat would do any good in large quantities were far apart, with only rivers and horse-packing for transportation.  Hides could be relatively easily dried and transported, but meat would have to be dried and cured to keep from spoiling, making it unappetizing for most potential consumers, besides being a holy hell of a lot of work.

 

And buffalo are real big.  And they don't care too much if someone on a horse rides toward them.  And they migrate, and cattle don't.  The way Natives made use of them is by herding, or rather stampeding the buffalo toward funnels they constructed, or toward cliffs by setting prairie fires .

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I think you've gone a long way to answering your question.  A good reason the Spanish and other colonists brought cattle with them is that the places they started (Mexico, and the East Coast) had no buffalo.  As for not making use of the meat, well, the place where the buffalo were, and the place where the meat would do any good in large quantities were far apart, with only rivers and horse-packing for transportation.  Hides could be relatively easily dried and transported, but meat would have to be dried and cured to keep from spoiling, making it unappetizing for most potential consumers, besides being a holy hell of a lot of work.

 

And buffalo are real big.  And they don't care too much if someone on a horse rides toward them.  And they migrate, and cattle don't.  The way Natives made use of them is by herding, or rather stampeding the buffalo toward funnels they constructed, or toward cliffs by setting prairie fires .

 

One main reason as noted was the ability to move cattle over long distances verses buffalo.     In Red River if Matt had to move buffalo instead of cattle that long distance Dunson wouldn't have ended up with all that cash and he would of killed Matt instead of following the orders of a women!   :lol:

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They were shot.

 

The reason they were shot is to force the Native tribes that relied on them into starvation, and subsequent submission to the reservation system, and dependence on the beef supplied them by Federal government contractors.

 

A contributory factor is that buffalo, or bison, were wild, big, and unruly.  Cattle were already domesticated, relatively small, and manageable.  With the exception of the Texas Longhorn.

 

A reason buffalo taste better, and this is a guess, is that they are mostly grass fed.  Most beef are grain fed.  I hear, though have not tasted, grass fed beef tastes different/better.

This is pretty much spot-on.  Another factor in their demise was more people moving into the Great Plains and setting up their own farms, ranches, and towns.  Fencing doesn't normally deter a herd of migrating animals like bison, but if a property owner caught them trespassing, well, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

 

Bison are leaner animals in part, because of diet, and too, I think, because the mature males have to go through rutting season.  

I helped out on our family farm the first 12 years of my life, and we had cattle, but only 1 or 2 bulls to service the heifers.  Most of the male calves were cut when they came of age, thus becoming steers.  They were almost exclusively grain fed.  I never thought much about the grain-fed vs. grass-fed debate until I had a hamburger from grass-fed cows a few years ago.  It was awesome!  I can't find grass-fed beef in my area so easily, and because of that, my beef consumption has greatly diminished.  Grass-fed tends to be less greasy and more flavorful than grain-fed.  Grain-fed advocates will tell you their product is juicier, when properly prepared, which I believe to be true.  I guess it depends on one's personal tastes, but health-wise, I think grass-fed is a healthier choice, but more expensive.

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