Texas Buffalo Shooting

I affirm.  Life is out of balance: this news article and oral interview (on the primary NPR site link) brings out the worst on both sides of the fence here in Texas.  Ranch managers and owners, near Benjamin, Texas, clash over the buffalo of QB Ranch (diversified operation, but also a hunting ranch) straying consistently upon the Niblo Ranch, a traditional operation.  After pushing through the fence, fifty-one buffalo of QB ranch were shot on the Niblo Ranch.

Buffalo, by law in Texas, are classified as indigenous animals and have not the same protections as cattle or sheep.  The Niblo ranch foreman who shot the buffalo has been charged with criminal mischief.

Texas Buffalo Shooting Triggers Culture Clash : NPR.

“Two hundred years ago, great herds of plains bison — massive majestic animals — roamed the endless prairie of West Texas. What happened to those herds stains the national conscience. The bleaching white bones of the 51 animals rotting in the Texas sun near the QB Ranch are a throwback, a reminder of the carnage a man with a rifle can do.”  — Wade Goodwyn of NPR.

I affirm.  The placement of buffalo on a ranch for trophy-hunting purposes may be legal, but it is base and immoral.  It is base because it reflects a lack of refinement of virtue, the virtue of preserving life for its own sake, be it buffalo or the sage grouse.  It is immoral, for the act of killing buffalo is killing another life without just cause.  It never was just to kill buffalo except for the family and tribe to survive in the time before the railroads came.  At that moment in time, the buffalo kill sustained life and the animal itself was worshiped for what it gave to keep tribes and families intact — so different from now.  Much has been written about the near-extermination of the buffalo in the nineteenth-century and it is not my purpose to go over the historiography of America’s western expansion.  I am an historian and I know the canon.  And, the process of settling the New World was based on erasing the wild, stomping out the natural, and assimilating all things New World to the Old.

The big ranches at Benjamin are costly monuments to the Old World’s erasure of the New.  The Dallas oilman that stocks his ranch with buffalo for bloodsport reflects European kings that killed stags throughout the day and the next day and the next.  NPR states there is a culture clash.  That is correct, but they stopped short of indicting the largest cultural clash of modern times:  the artifices of man versus the naturalism of the world, death versus life, the city against the garden.  The rotting buffalo near the QB ranch do not stink, it is industrialized culture that settles over their spirits that stinks to hell.

[Please also refer to The Fat-Takers by Lame Deer.]

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11 Comments

Filed under Life Out of Balance

11 responses to “Texas Buffalo Shooting

  1. StarkRavingZen

    Oh, Jack. This is just awful. Any type of stocked game ranch turns my stomach. People who don’t see the demonic nature of such a thing are just dead inside, I think. And the buffalo are such magnificent animals too…

    • Kristy, I thought of you as I wrote quickly this morning. I know how empathetic you are and how, if your read NPR’s article, affected you must be. There is light in all this darkness, my friend, I assure you. But, for now, it’s a bad day at the crossing.

  2. It sickens me. Buffalo have been a part of my consciousness…always. Anyone who has looked into the eyes of a buffalo knows there is magnificent Life there.

  3. I have spend a lot of time photographing the buffalo and its buffalo care take. I have up most respect for these animals. There is so much spiritual history that goes with them, especially the white buffalo. The white buffalo are very sacred animals to the native americans and so few herds are out there. I am so glad that I have been able to photograph these animals, especially the white buffalo. If anyone wants to view a few of these great beast please log on to my site. At a later date I will put more of the buffalo photos.

    • My gravatar is Evangeline’s photograph. I think she is one of the finest photographers working in the Southwest today. I am so ashamed of the behavior that my state exhibits.

  4. Jack: I have seen your photos and you have nothing to be ashamed of. If I could write like you, the combination of your writing and my photos, I would be world famous.

    • Evangeline, thank you. And, thanks for giving me permission use your buffalo photograph. I am still interested in buying one of your reprints of snow and buffalo. I’ll email you about size and you can respond. Brenda wants us to buy one. We have an Eric Andrews painting — Taos artist on the blogroll — of a New Mexico agrarian scene with house and field, painted in the Penasco area several years ago. We have a good collection of paintings and lithographs. We have a Curtis print of San Ildefonso. Your work would be very complimentary to our art — an award-winning photographer!

  5. With your collection of art my photo of the buffalo would feel at home. Thanks

  6. This is just disgusting. First, private game ranches for hunting…like fishing in a barrel. How sad it is to think we share the planet with people who find killing animals, just to hang their heads on the wall, sport.

    I don’t feel sorry for the owner, but I sure do feel sad about the loss of these magnificent animals. Shame on their killer. Sounds like he won’t get much grief for the doing. While I can imagine his frustration (and the others who had been bothered by the herd), the owner is probably the person who should have been…well…taken to task, if you get my drift.

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