Reward for killer of rare white buffalo upped to $45,000
By Marty Sabota
Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, Buffalo Woman, were killed just shy of the white buffalo’s first birthday.
Arby Little Soldier, great-great-great grandson of Sitting Bull and owner/operator of the Lakota Ranch, said Monday that he found the calf slaughtered and skinned April 30 after returning to the North Texas town from an out-of-town trip to Oklahoma City.
"Someone who probably knew we were out of town killed him and stripped the meat," Little Soldier said. "I could tell it was him because of the white hair that was left on the head and tail."
He said the mother appeared ill Monday, but eventually fed, and he concentrated on taking care of her calf’s remains. He found her dead the next morning, "about a 20-foot radius from where she gave birth to Lightning."
He wasn’t sure how Buffalo Woman died, but speculated that she had been shot with a poisonous arrow because of a small mark. No arrow was found.
"I think it was a professional hit on the mom," Little Soldier said. "It was a slow death."
The Hunt County Sheriff’s Department, the Texas Rangers, the Bureau of Indians Affairs and other agencies are investigating the deaths.
1) The calf was less than a year old, so its hide couldn't be very impressive. A full-grown white buffalo would've been better.
2) There are white buffaloes elsewhere that aren't world-famous religious icons. It's crazy to select a high-profile target when you don't have to.
3) This buffalo resided on the Lakota Buffalo Ranch and was the subject of an upcoming powwow. The killers must've known it was sacred to many Indians.
4) A tranquilizer would've worked as well as poison on the mother. In fact, it would've worked better, since the poison failed to incapacitate the mother immediately.
From all the available evidence, I doubt this was simply poaching with no thought of the calf's meaning to Indians. Like many people, I suspect it was an intentional hate crime. Skinning the primary "offender" (the white buffalo) and poisoning the secondary "offender" (its mother)--sounds like the approach you'd take if you hated Indians and their "pagan" religion.
For more on the subject, see White Buffalo Hunt in Texas, White Buffalo = Third of Its Kind? and White Buffalo Calf Born.