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Audubon Hunts Buffalo


Famed naturalist James J. Audubon arrived at Fort Union on this date in 1843, and for the next two months, he worked on pieces for Quadrupeds of North America.

Audubon was an excellent shot and was eager to hunt buffalo. After killing his first bull, some fur traders he was with cracked open the animal’s skull and ate its brains. The experience brought about a conversion in Audubon. “What a terrible destruction of life,” he wrote, “as it were for nothing, or next to it, as the tongues only were brought in, and the flesh of this fine animal was left to beasts and birds of prey, or to rot on the spots where they fell... Immense numbers are murdered almost daily... this cannot last... before many years the Buffalo, like the Great Auk, will have disappeared...”

Source: Ken Rogers, “Audubon, James,” http://www.state.nd.us/arts/artist_archive/A/Audubon_John.htm

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm