1994 29¢ Western Wildlife
Legends of the West
Issue Date: October 18, 1994
City: Laramie, WY, Tucson, AZ and Lawton, OK
Quantity: 19,282,800 panes
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10
Their hooves pounding like thunder, thousands of bison race across the prairie. An Indian decorated with feathers draws his mount close to a buffalo. Leaning for a good shot, he lets loose his arrow, and in a cloud of dust the buffalo crashes to the ground! Such images are as much a part of the wild west as the shootout.
Grizzly bears, mountain lions, deer, elk, big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, bald eagles, and prairie dogs were all abundant in the wild west. But the story of America’s largest animal (weighing up to 3,000 pounds), the bison or buffalo, best describes how white settlement affected western wildlife.
Two hundred years ago, about 70 million buffalo thrived on the plentiful grasses of the plains. Native Americans first hunted buffalo for commercial purposes in the early 1800s, trading the hides to whites for manufactured goods. Whites soon began harvesting the animals to feed railroad workers. In 1870 a new tanning process was developed, and hide prices soared. After nearly two decades of unabashed slaughter, a survey discovered there were only 800 buffalo left on the continent! Due to protection, the buffalo has made a remarkable comeback, and today tens of thousands of these remarkable animals once more roam the prairies.