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Buffalo Hunt, by J. E. Johnson

Joseph E. Johnson, editor and publisher of The Huntsman's Echo of Wood River Centre in Buffalo County, took a hunting and exploring trip with friends during the summer of 1860. Shortly afterward, on July 26, Johnson described his buffalo hunting experiences for Echo readers:

"Early last week, in company with several of the boys, we started out northwesterly on an exploring tour towards the Loupe [River]. Day warm and clear; went across the Bottom six miles, passing near several herds of buffalo. Boys couldn't sit so they shouldered arms and away shot at, wounded and followed a buffalo into the hills, where Jim made a finishing shot, and immediately from a high point a couple of miles distant, hailed us. We turned over the pathless hills and was soon on the spot, where the huge black monster had passed his last struggle.

"Taking a rare chunk--of hump-rib, for roast, broil and fry, three of the boys and one team, we pursued our way--leaving a team to transport the fallen game homeward. We passed over an exceedingly rolling, or, we might say hilly country, covered with short, sweet grass, with little water and no wood, and scarce a bush to relieve the monotony of the waving ground, until we approached near the Loupe, when we found some wood and more water. . . .

"We camped near the river, upon a delightful spot, and soon a bright campfire blazed around our black camp kettle. Supper over and our skin-table removed for foundations to our sleeping arrangements, heavy shower of musketos fell, which gave us business enough until sleep overtook us. We dreamed of vast multitudes of buffalo, that filled the prairies and whose heavy tread and hoarse bellowings filled our ears, and we awoke to find ourself lying upon our back upon the prairie, as we dropped off; with the loud thunders of heaven rattling around, and the lightnings playing about us fearfully. The boys were aroused and our grub, arms, ammunition and blankets half secured under a rude tent formed by drawing a wagon cover over a pole laid in forks horizontally. About the time we got well drenched the rain ceased." After a breakfast of roast buffalo, the party began its return home, "a thousand pounds of meat heavier" than when they had started several days before.

(July 2006)



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