Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Man Who Saved The Buffalo

James "Scotty" Philip (30 April 1858 – 23 July 1911) was a South Dakota rancher, remembered as the "Man who saved the Buffalo" due to his role in helping to preserve the American Bison from extinction.

While he was building his cattle herd, Scotty Philip met Pete Dupree, whose son Fred had rescued 5 bison calves from an 1881 buffalo hunt along the Grand River. After Dupree's death, Philip decided to preserve the species from extinction, and in 1899 he purchased Dupree's herd, which now numbered 74 head, from Dupree's brother-in-law, Dug Carlin.

Philip prepared a special pasture for the bison along the western side of the Missouri River north of Fort Pierre, and drove the herd there in 1901.

Scotty Philip died suddenly on July 23, 1911: by that time the herd had grown to approximately a thousand head. He was buried on a family cemetery near his buffalo pasture. As the funeral procession passed, some of the bison came down out of the hills. Newspapers of the time suggested the bison were "showing their respect to the man who had saved them".

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