“Protect especially the buffalo, for the buffalo will give you food and shelter. The hide of the buffalo will keep you from the cold, from the heat, and from the rain. As long as you have the buffalo, you will never need to suffer.”
— From Yellowstone Valley and the Great Flood
“The chase on horseback, which goes by the name of ‘running,’ is the more violent and dashing mode of the two. Indeed, of all American wild sports, this is the wildest. Once among the buffalo, the hunter, unless long use has made him familiar with the situation, dashes forward in utter recklessness and self-abandonment. He thinks of nothing, cares for nothing but the game; his mind is stimulated to the highest pitch, yet intensely concentrated on one object.
The wounded buffalo springs at his enemy; the horse leaps violently aside; and then the hunter has need of a tenacious seat in the saddle, for if he is thrown to the ground there is no hope for him. When he sees his attack defeated the buffalo resumes his flight, but if the shot be well directed he soon stops; for a few moments he stands still, then totters and falls heavily upon the prairie.”
— Francis Parkman
Gale F. Trapp, 2012
Acrylic on board
The warrior has his prey in sight – the buffalo cow – tender and prized above all, until that fateful moment… the bull has turned. Now, all bets are off… not only did the warrior miss his prey, but in this moment the hunter has become the hunted.
So, did the bull turn intentionally, perhaps instinctively saving the cow and calf? Was that bull even aware of the rider beside him? Did that horse “leap violently aside”, saving the hunter and itself?
Would you have the courage to develop the skill it took to hunt buffalo on horseback?