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  • Writer's pictureKevin Pourier

Where do you get the buffalo horns?

One of the most common questions I get is "Where do you get the buffalo horn caps". Well, for one thing buffalo don't shed their horns. They lose them after they are dead. The Bison meat industry is a very big business in the US and Canada today. Almost every grocery store you go into today, in the Northern Plains, has bison steaks and burgers on it's shelves.

I have met many buffalo ranchers who raise their buffalo for meat and when they take their buffalo to the meat packing plants all but the meat is thrown away..... the heads, hides and bones. Traditionally, Northern Plains peoples used every part of the buffalo.... nothing went to waste! The hides were used to make drums and Tipi's, the horn caps were used to make horn spoons, cups and adornment. The bones were used to make sleds, children's toys and game pieces.

Today, Native artists are bringing back the idea of using everything. Instead of the all those valuable parts being tossed the artists are making art out of them again. The hides are being painted on, the bones are again being made into something and of course, I am making beautiful one of a kind jewelry and horn cups and spoons that are being collected worldwide.

I have never had one steady source of horn caps since I started over 20 yrs ago. I, just by chance, will acquire 4 or 5 big bull horn caps a year. These are very rare because the big bulls usually are kept as herd bulls or if they are butchered the heads are mounted as trophies. The horn caps are kept with the skull. I take the caps and cut them up and that's the last thing the owners of the skull want to happen.

So, it's a very rare thing for me to get the large horn caps I need. There are no catalogs to order from. I am always on the hunt for someone or some place to get some horn caps. If you have any or know of any source please contact me as I am always in need of material.

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