A Big
Buffalo
Hunt


From the Lincoln Sentinel, March 6, 1924. (Reprinted from the Salina Evening Journal.)


Wilson, Nov. 12 - In the year of 1870, E.D. Schermerhorn, who at that time was living on the Elkhorn and nine years before he opened his store at Wilson, accomanied by Tom Walls of Lincoln County, started that winter on a big buffalo hunt. With their team and wagon they headed southwest and traveled and hunted until they reached the headwaters of the Walnut and from there they swung in south toward Dodge City and then east toward Larned. On their way out they were able to kill three old bulls but in relating their experience Mr. Schermerhorn said that it was at this time that he saw the only spotted buffalo that he had ever seen. They were just crossing Cheyenne Bottoms which was a lake of ice that winter, when they came onto a herd of buffalo and in this herd was an animal spotted with white. They were unable to get close to this herd although they attempted to for a matter of five or six miles.
Working their way back they came to Walnut Creek, between Hoisington and Great Bend, where they camped for two or three days. The ground was covered with about a foot of snow and it was rough going. Having run out of hay they started one morning to cut over to Fort Zarah to get some and as they crossed the Walnut and came out onto the valley land south of the creek the whole plain as far south as the Arkansas was alive with buffalo.
They immediately got busy and killed 27 buffalo, cutting off the hams and humps, leaving the hide on as it was of no value at that time being a year later that hides were in demand. These hams had a market value at Salina of 3 or 4 cents a pound.
After their hunt was over and they had all the hams they could conveniently carry the trip home was started and was made under the most severe and grueling conditions imaginable. The snow was so deep that Mr. Schermerhorn had to walk ahead of the team and see that they didn't drive into some ravine or gully, and it was while walking in this bitter cold winter weather that he froze his foot. Relief for this was obtained by skinning a calf and using the hide of the hind leg as a combination stocking and shoe.
The present day generation with their auto and trucks and thousand of other conveniences will never know the acid tests that had to be gone through within the early days of making the hardy generation of pioneer plainsmen.

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