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Cross-Bred Buffalo

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

An article in the April 4, 1895 issue of The Saratoga Sun notes:

Col. Bill Root, of Laramie, has this to say concerning cross-breeding of buffalo which he shipped east to experiment on, “At the time, I shipped 20 elk to the game park of Rutherford Stuyvesant, NJ, there went with the load a fine, large, full-blooded male buffalo, for cross-breeding with Galway cattle.”

He continues, “They now have a number of these calves in their park, all of which are thriving fully as well as any of the straight-bred stock about the place. It is stated the robe from a cross-bred Galway is far superior to that of the genuine buffalo. The hair is particularly long and glossy and from its rarity will readily bring $100 in New York City.”

An article in the June 12, 1906 Sheridan Post further praises the quality of a cross-bred robe.

C. J. (Buffalo) Jones, one of the best known characters in the West, passed through Cheyenne recently on his way to Kansas, where he goes to purchase a number of black cattle for the government ranch at Grand Canon, Utah, where he is conducting interesting experiments for the government in the domestication of the buffalo and its cross breeding with cattle, which experiments are proving entirely successful.

He had with him a beautiful prepared skinning of the new animal produced by a second cross with the buffalo, which he calls the “Catalo.” The skin is a beautiful piece of fur, soft and silky to the touch and of deep, rich, reddish brown shading into black. 

It is far superior to any buffalo or bear skin. The animal from which it was taken, a “Catalo” he says, is the most desirable he has yet made. The meat of this animal he claims to be superior to any beef, and they grow very large, one he had just killed weighing full a ton on the hoof.

On the Internet we found an undated article by Frank Thone, entitled “America Makes Some New Animals” which, in part, states:

Charles Goodnight, a pioneer breeder of Texas, has a high estimate of the cattle-bison cross.

“They are immune from all diseases as far as I have tested them,” he states. “They are much greater in weight, eat much less and hold their flesh better under more adverse conditions. They have better meat, clear of fiber, and it never gets tough like beef. They have long and deep backs, enabling them to cut at least 150 pounds more meat than other cattle. The great secret of producing a larger quantity of meat lay in the hump of the buffalo, which instead of being a huge lump of fat, the hump of the animal forms the upper cut of a rib roast.”

Thone adds, the name of the final product of the cross-breeding of cattle and bison in itself a cross “Catalo.” Catalo here in the West are better known as Beefalo.

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