Monday, February 16, 2015

What Caused the Bison Extinction?

Anthrax and brucellosis contributed to human slaughter of wild buffalo herds.

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  1. Any idea as to when buffalo last roamed in the Helena/Townsend area?

    1. I have never seen any ethnographic accounts of buffalo in the area after Lewis and Clark, but that does not mean there weren't any. I do know that those traveling through the Helena valley were on their way to hunt buffalo across the divide, but not following herds here. That would indicate that there were no buffalo locally. Certainly there were no buffalo when the gold rush began. At least I have never read such accounts of local buffalo. I would say that they had moved elsewhere at least by that time. Maybe someone else has a better answer?

    2. My family has a number of skulls, skull fragments and miscellaneous bones that were dredged from a warm water slough in the Townsend area. I've always wondered their age, they were well preserved in the muck. I made the assumption that there were not a lot in the area much after the gold frenzy. Thanks Ellen.