Hunting Wild Game

Many European and American settlers noted the abundance of game as they moved out onto the prairies. “Prairie-chickens and quails, when I first went on the overland [stage] line were numerous between the Missouri river and the Platte,” said Frank A. Root, author with William E. Connelley of The Overland Stage to California (1901). “They were seen every day from the stage-coach, numbering thousands.

“Naturally they were the most plentiful along the stage route in Northern Kansas in the vicinity of the settlements and ranches, and there were a great many along the Little Blue river in southern Nebraska. They were multiplying so rapidly that it seemed that they never could be thinned out. For a long time they furnished much of the choice food for ranchmen, and the freighters and travelers shot thousands of them while on their way across the plains. . . .

“There was an abundance of wild game in the ’60’s. In eastern Kansas large numbers of wild turkeys and a great many rabbits were seen. Along the Little Blue river there were also many wild turkeys and rabbits, and deer and antelope were also plentiful. In the Platte valley were a great many deer, antelope, and an occasional elk, while a few miles distant, south from the stream and away from the heavily traveled thoroughfare, buffaloes abounded by hundreds of thousands. A great many came north to the Platte and there slaked their thirst. Buffalo wallows were numerous along the Platte in staging days. . . .

“Down the South Platte for 200 miles east of Denver there were occasional sage-hens near the road; but few of the stage boys ate them, because, they said, it required a cast-iron stomach to digest them. Occasionally we ran across a pack of gray wolves on the plains, but usually they were scarce. The native prairie wolves-the coyote-were quite numerous, and many of them could at times be seen from the stage-coach. A pelican was now and then seen along the South Platte, in the vicinity of old Julesburg, but out of reach of the ordinary rifle of those early days.”

A herd of buffalo on the Plains in western Kansas. From Frank A. Root and William E. Connelley, The Overland Stage to California (1901).

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.