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American BisonA Natural History$
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Dale Lott, Jan van Wagtendonk, and Kevin Shaffer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233386

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233386.001.0001

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(p.180) Chapter 23 Attitudes
American Bison

Dale F. Lott

University of California Press

Today, the hide hunt and the hide hunters seem utterly foreign to most of us. The hide hunters have achieved the anomalous status of despised frontiersmen. Public policy toward wilderness and wild things implements attitudes — private values. The value we put on animals feels so natural and right and inevitable that it's a shock when we first learn that others feel differently about an animal's death. There is no more dramatic illustration of such differences and their consequences than the public policy debate in the 1870s about the fate of the bison. At one level it was about consequences: impact on Native Americans, impact on the bison as a natural resource, proposed legislation. But the debate drew on, and illustrated, basic attitudes toward wildlife in general and bison in particular. Then as now, attitudes were mixed.

Keywords:   hide hunt, hide hunters, wilderness, bison, public policy debate, Native Americans

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