Marc Simmons: Comanches taught bison hunting to new settlers

"On occasion in past columns, I’ve referred to the New Mexican buffalo hunter, called a cibolero, derived from the local word cíbolo, meaning buffalo.

Recently, in my file on the subject, I discovered that I had accumulated enough new information to warrant another look here. Mainly that look comprises interesting and colorful snippets of fact, embellishing a picture of the cilboleros’ distinctive hunting practices.

The ability of the New Mexicans to engage in buffalo hunting on the Llano Estacado, or vast plains of Eastern New Mexico and West Texas, had been limited prior to 1786. In that year, Gov. Juan Bautista de Anza made peace with the Comanches, which allowed Hispanic hunters to pursue buffalo without fear of attack.

As the occupation developed, it became the custom for large parties annually to venture onto the plains from September through November to lay in a winter supply of dried meat. At that time, the animals were fat from summer grazing, and their furry coats for the taking."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: New Mexico 'ciboleros' learned to lance buffalos from Comanche (The Santa Fe New Mexican 7/28)

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