Bucky McGrue, probably the premier Mormon historian of our time, records the conversation of a buffalo counter (Cowboy Mike Echtheart) and a Representative from the National buffalo hunting, processing and marketing firm Buffalo Trading Inc. (Big Jim Plunderton ). Based on records found at the Institute of Historical Documents in South New Bedford Mills, Indiana.
Echtheart: You know you got to quit buffalo hunting. They’s disappear’n all over the range.
Plunderton : Are you crazy? There’s buffalo everywhere. Far as the eye can see.
Echtheart: No. We buffalo counters have been counting ‘um up and I’m afraid the numbers are showing that the decline is steeper than ever before thought. Few years there won’t be any.
Plunderton : Nonsense. My daddy hunted buffalo, and his daddy did before him, and the Souix hunted ‘um before that. Always been plenty and always will be. Ain’t no way hunters could affect herds of that size.
Echtheart: But I’m telling you we’ve been count’n um. Studying up close. We Buffalo Counters are pretty confident about our data. We been pretty careful and it all points to the buffalo disappearing.
Plunderton : Let me see your data.
Echtheart: Take a look see. We aint’ hide’n noth’n.
Plunderton : Just as I thought. Looky here. Right there. See, buffaloes is goin’ up right there.
Echtheart: Yeah, that’s in a place in Wyoming, kind of isolated. But that tain’t the main trend. That be just one spot.
Plunderton : What you trying to hide?
Echtheart: What do you do with all these other numbers going down?
Plunderton : Natural cycles in buffalo. I’m saying ain’t hunters cause’n it.
Echtheart: Ain’t seen drops like this since we started count’n buffalo. Ain’t no natural cycles ever match this.
Plunderton : Well, so you say. But I had a couple of hunters tell me different.
Echtheart: Look we got lots of people count’n and we get the same story.
Plunderton : ‘sides, we intercepted a telagram from one of you counters saying you used a ‘trick’ to count these. We all know ya’ll are pull’n our legs.
Echtheart: We use lots a tricks. That trick was to throw a buffalo hide over the top of us, so we can get real close make sure we’re count’n right. Ain’t gonna do noth’n to affect the counts.
Plunderton : Says you. We know you buffalo counters got you an agenda. Got you sump’n you trying to sneak up on us, jus’ like you do with them buffalo you say ain’t there.
Echtheart: We all work for different companies, different counties, different states, all sorts of folks count’n all saying the same thing.
Plunderton : Well, what you aint’ thinking about is how if we quit hunt’n what will happen to the good folk who depend on the buffalo trade for their livelihoods? Why, think about the railroad folks that move the hides, the restauranteers that serve the meat, the folks that hunt the beasts. Why it would cost our country too much to give up the hunt. Think about the disruption. The buffalo trade is big. Why, whole states depend on the buffalo. You ain’t thinking about how this would affect the national economy. I say we wait until we are sure you are count’n right. Be damn foolish to give up hunt’n, stir’n things up for no need.
Echtheart: But you don’t get it. The Buffalo are go’n. There ain’t gonna be no trade if there tain’t no buffalo.
Plunderton : Well, you just gett’n riled about noth’n. I got me a train car full of buffalo.
Echtheart: I know you do.
Plunderton : Plus, if’n we don’t take um someone else will. Ain’t no point in us given up hunt’n when no one else is. Just ruin our buffalo trad’n.
Echtheart: Our counters say . . .
Plunderton : I trust ours and they saying sump’n differnt.
Echtheart: You got one guy at Buffaloes Trading Inc. that you are paying, we got hunderts of counters, all independent saying the buffalo are goin’.
Plunderton : Tain’t no nevermind. We gonna keep hunt’n. Never gonna knock these beasts down like you say. They breed like rabbits. There ain’t no end to the buffalo. You wait and see, people gonna be hunt’n buffalo the next hundred years. We got no worries.