The Great Buffalo Hoax of ’73

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 Based on records found at the Institute of Historical Documents in South New Bedford Mills, Indiana.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.


  1. I see what you did there. :)

  2. Hey, wait…

  3. Mmmmmm … buffalo …

    Veriest cleverest, Steve.

  4. I love the moving buffalo graphic thingy :)

  5. and here i thought climate change was all a pile of buffalo poop.. thanks for straightening me out

  6. Steve, thank you for this good example of how our older, wiser forebears dealt with problems of scarcity, by letting the free enterprise system sort things out. Just imagine how much worse it all would have turned out for the bison and the bison industry if the federal government had nationalized it and imposed socialism and trampled the rights of the hunters.

  7. What? You mean the Feds found out about the 3,425,430 buffalo I’ve been hiding in Wyoming?

    Next thing you know, they’res going to find out that it’s really been ME who has been dumping billions of tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere!

  8. “Studying up close.” No way. “Studyin’ up close.” Yeah, maybe. But definitely not Studying up close. Let’s be precise here.

  9. Lucas Schmogler says:

    Sorry, I don’t believe in buffalo.

  10. do you cook buffalo like bambi?

  11. Really well done, Steve!

  12. We almost got rammed by a buffalo in Yellowstone this summer, but instead he veered off at the last moment and took out a Prius. I’m not sure what point he was trying to make, but it seemed strangely relevant here.

  13. Just wondering, what is the MPAA rating on that buffalo?

  14. Jacob, is that all you noticed?


  15. Buffalo meat is very tasty and nutritious. We have given up eating beef as our red meat of choice. Did you know Buffalo has less calories and fat than chicken and is high in iron?

  16. Hey, I was just counting buffalo. Studyin’ up close, and whatnot.

  17. I heard buffalo farts were bad for the environment. Good thing people shot them.

  18. Sharon LDS in Tenn says:

    MORE Steve, you are sharp AND funny.
    ODE to THE most DELICIOUS roast I EVER had
    in Cheyenne, Wyoming !!! Pretty good ‘buff’ burgers
    Proof we need a local McBuffalo!!!
    Buff, – buff, – buff-a-lo;
    Eat the meat, but chew it slow;
    So nu-tri-cious – don’t you know;
    Cows ‘R’ cry’in’, rain or snow;
    Let’s all shoot ‘an eat ’em fast;
    Buff – buff – buff-a-lo.

  19. Sharon LDS in Tenn says:

    (what do you want from me anyway?)
    I live in “MUSIC CITY, USA LOLs

  20. This is making me hungry for buffalo wings.

  21. Is it true that when a bell rings somewhere, a buffalo gets its wings?

  22. If you’re implying that buffalo wings are angelic, then I believe that’s true.

  23. John Mansfield says:

    Very poignant to reflect upon from our 21st Century vantage, a world without vast buffalo herds and therefore misery without end.

  24. Sharon, I’m putting you in for a niblet for that poem!

  25. Sharon LDS in Tenn says:

    Yahooo. Tanks… I will proudly stick it up where everyone can see it!
    My bery bery furstest one. ;-))
    Usually I am either boring or too preachy!
    Practice makes ………….a tad better!

  26. Rameumptom, I heard it was when you say you don’t believe in buffalo one drops over dead. (I can never remember). Or maybe buffalo counting. Or climate change. Gah. My head hurts. Climate change cant drop over dead.

    Screw it. They get their wings.

  27. Cap,
    You know, Pres Uchtdorf just gave a talk on not complicating things. I think there’s nothing simpler than Clarence the angel giving out wings.

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