All of the plains Indians depended upon the buffalo for food, clothing, and housing. (The teepees were covered with ten to twelve buffalo hides.) The Comanches were the first tribe in what is now the United States to have horses, which made them efficient harvesters of the buffalo. Every part of the huge animal was used by these nomadic hunters—fur for robes and bedding, horns for spoons and other utensils, hooves for glue, and leather for saddles, bridles, and canteens. The number killed each year by the Comanches and the other Indians of the Plains was less than the reproductive capacity of the herds. In 1800 there were sixty million buffalo. Around 1840 the killing began as the white man’s sport. Even then the impact on the economies of the tribes in the plains was negligible.
In 1869 an eastern inventor was granted a patent that would create circumstances so detrimental to the Comanche way of life that in six short years they would move to the Oklahoma Reservation. The patent was for a process to tan buffalo hides into supple, soft leather, quickly, and economically. An eastern tanner using the new process created an immediate market, and in the economic doldrums of the times, gave opportunities for quick money to any hunter who had the new .50-caliber Sharps rifle and a willingness to travel to the great American plains. Between 1872 and 1874 professional hunters slaughtered 4,274,000 buffalo. The famous Buffalo Bill Cody killed 4,300 in just eight months. Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, and Wild Bill Hickock joined in the killing spree. The rapid destruction of this great natural resource alarmed even the Congress of the United States, who, in their collective wisdom, passed legislation to protect the buffalo. Ulysses S. Grant, who vetoed more legislation than that of the combined seventeen presidents who preceded him, vetoed this bill, too.
By 1900 there were fewer than 300 wild buffalo in the U.S. and Canada, but from that date to today, wild buffalo in National Parks and domesticated buffalo on buffalo ranches have grown in sufficient numbers to allow you and me to eat like the Comanches did in the early 1700s.
For a long time buffalo steaks, roasts and other cuts were only found in very expensive restaurants as a specialty main course. The delicious meat from naturally fed buffalo was not available from the corner grocer or the supermarket.
That has changed. We have two varieties of buffalo at Hillers as well as many different cuts. One is all natural and the other is all natural and kosher. Neither has been given any hormones or additives, just pure natural feed.
Invite some friends for dinner and show off.