Hunting the American Bison

A couple of times I have hunted the respected big plains animal, The American Bison.  The main reason that I hunt them is because we enjoy eating the meat.  In my families opinion, it taste better and is better for you than beef.  It is also expensive, unless you harvest, clean, and butcher your own meat.  If you do all of that, it is less than four bucks a pound and leaves you with about 500 pounds of cut and wrapped meat in the freezer.

The American Bison is that it is large and very tough animal.  They can jump a 6 ft. fence with ease and are very difficult to kill.  There is a reason that the Injuns ran them off cliffs.  First thing you need to know is never ever look them in the eye.

Here is a wild one, that snuck up to the flat bed truck to get some food.

As you can see, they are very intimidating.  This is a 5-6 year old bull that snuck up on me.  I was in all camo so it is possible that he didn’t know I was there because they do not have good vision.

The second thing you need to remember is that when a Bison female gives birth to twins, she abandons both of them because she cannot take care of both.  I know, strange right?  In the wild, they usually die.  However, these days they are bottle fed.  What you need to know is that they will act like dog and be friendly but they do not know their strength and size and if you take your eyes off them they can stir up trouble very fast so in this case keep your eyes on them.

The proper way to look at a young twin buffalo

This is the correct way to pet one. Eyes forward and stiff arm motion.  Sort of like the Heisman.  Notice that I am acting a little stand offish? That is because I know that I am going to have to harvest his dad in twenty minutes.


This is NOT the correct way to be around a vicious American Bison.

What you need to remember is how difficult it is to actually bring down a Buffalo is.We were with an ole cow poke that worked the largest ranch in the United States, Ted Turner’s ranch.  He didn’t say much but when he did his words had a lot of value to them.  I asked him how hard it was to bring one of these big animals down and he thought about it awhile and finally said “There is a reason the Injuns ran ’em off cliffs”.  I am not sure I understood exactly what he was saying until later.  He took us out in his old truck that had a little hokey crane on it.  Then we began our hunt from the truck, and we walked about 30 feet from the truck.  We then surveyed the herd until the ole cowboy picked out a younger bull that was younger than three years old.  We agreed on the bull and I lifted my rifle because I knew I had to hit him right in the heart to drop him where he stood.  I switched off safety, then the ole poke said “I bet you 50 bucks you dont drop him with your first shot.”  Then I replied “your on like donkey kong ole man”.  I fired and put one in the ole boiler maker and dropped him.  Refer to the photo below.

As you can see the Bison went down hard

Notice in the photo all the bison in the herd looking at the one laying on the ground?  Well I didn’t, I just turned around and said “Hey Rusty, looks like you are going to have to get your wallet out”.  He was looking over my shoulder when he replied “Not yet kid, the fat lady aint singing yet and do you have another bullet?”

Of course I didn’t have another bullet because I only had one because a bet is a bet.  Then all hell broke loose.  The entire herd, including the one I shot, started heading our direction at a rapid pace.  We had to retreat to the truck.  Where ole Rusty started to drive off with the entire herd in tow.  I noticed one falling off the pace and peeled off and up the hill and we figured that may be the one I hit.  So he dropped us off at these big boulders and said to go up and around and to finish the job while he kept these guys busy.  So off we went, and I found my bison laying down.  He finally graciously expired where we took this photo.  Now, we knew we only had a limited time and feared the herd would return so we took a quick photo and began field dressing while ole Rusty kept the herd busy.

A quick picture taken of the American Bison

Now here is where I give all you hunters out there the most important advice.  This is really important and will save you from harassment from all your hunting buddies.  Even if time is restricted, or the sky is falling, or its hailing grapefruit, never, ever take a hunting photo with a fence in the background.  EVER!!!!  Sort of takes the hunt right out of accomplishment and the story.

The hunt was not all that exciting, it was more of a cluster %$* to say the least, but we did harvest a great eating animal and that was more of the point.  Four days after this photo we each went home to our families and made Buffalo Prime Rib for Christmas.  That was the last meal I would have with my grandma, and last Christmas we all would spend with her.  So for me, this Buffalo Prime Rib was very special in deed and I will never forget that meal or the Christmas we had together.

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