Buffalo Skull Yellowstone National ParkMy kinship with wild bison was generated while tracking grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park. In my early days, the decade of the 1970s, you could go for a week without seeing a grizzly bear; they were scarce and spooky. After the rapid closing of Yellowstone's garbage dumps beginning in 1968 (where virtually all bears fed), some 272 grizzlies were killed at town dumps outside the park or by park personnel. But the buffalo were there every day, all over the remote edges of Pelican and Hayden valleys. I watched them like Africans watched elephants--or like Native Americans watched bison until European Americans slaughtered our 60 million buffalo into near extinction by 1881. By 1902, only 23 wild bison remained in the wild, up Pelican Creek where the Army couldn't catch them. These ice-age beasts dominated my days--from April through November--like a running rainbow sweeping across the sagebrush hills of the valley. These were the great-great grandchildren of those 23 animals, whose genealogy gives me joy on the darkest days.


Doug's buffalo writing

The Beast We Never Knew
From In the Presence of Buffalo: Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter (Westwinds Press, 2013) by Dan Brister

Bison Distant ThunderBison: Distant Thunder
by Douglas Gruenau. New York: Takarajima Books, November 1995
Download a pdf (9.9 mb) or read online

The Yellowstone MassacreThe Yellowstone Massacre
Audubon 99.3 (May-June 1997)
Download a pdf (43.63mb) or read online




Yellowstone Bison Slaugher: Field ReportYellowstone Bison Slaughter: Field Report
Wild Earth 7.2 (Summer 1997)
Download a pdf (16.75mb) or read online

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