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Dismal River Club - bison
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Contributors to this thread:
JG 14-Dec-23
JG 14-Dec-23
JG 14-Dec-23
JG 14-Dec-23
Fuzz 15-Dec-23
Bowboy 15-Dec-23
midwest 15-Dec-23
ki-ke 15-Dec-23
huntinelk 15-Dec-23
Fuzz 15-Dec-23
Chief 419 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
No Mercy 15-Dec-23
njbuck 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
Scoot 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
fuzzy 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
Fuzz 15-Dec-23
buckeye 15-Dec-23
Bake 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
APauls 15-Dec-23
huntinelk 15-Dec-23
Jethro 15-Dec-23
drycreek 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
Treeline 15-Dec-23
bghunter 15-Dec-23
Gib 15-Dec-23
Robear 15-Dec-23
Quinn @work 15-Dec-23
JG 15-Dec-23
Lewis 16-Dec-23
Bou'bound 16-Dec-23
JG 16-Dec-23
Bowboy 16-Dec-23
Insheart 16-Dec-23
t-roy 16-Dec-23
pav 17-Dec-23
Gator 17-Dec-23
elkmtngear 17-Dec-23
Ron Niziolek 17-Dec-23
goelk 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Thornton 17-Dec-23
LUNG$HOT 17-Dec-23
LUNG$HOT 17-Dec-23
JG 17-Dec-23
Thornton 17-Dec-23
Stoneman 17-Dec-23
jmiller 18-Dec-23
Husker 18-Dec-23
ki-ke 18-Dec-23
jmiller 18-Dec-23
Supernaut 18-Dec-23
bluedog 18-Dec-23
deserthunter 18-Dec-23
From: JG
14-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
I just got back from a bison hunt with Dismal River Club. To say I’m impressed and elated is an understatement

I applied for multiple years for a free range bison hunt, it was expensive and I had no luck. I’m 57 and the clock is ticking on my bucket list big game animals so I signed up for this estate hunt.

To be honest I thought this would be an easy hunt. Immediately when I met my guide I knew I may be mistaken. In 7 years as a guide he only had one other true bow hunter and they ended up having to shoot the bison with a gun to finally kill it.

The lodge, accommodations, food and especially the people at this camp were truly outstanding. 5* for sure

From: JG
14-Dec-23
Proceeding me at the hunt was a Cabelas signature group. They were all buzzing with excitement, great folks and we had fun getting to know each other and hear their adventures. There was one cross bow hunter and all scored with great trophies.

My wife and I were the only ones in the camp for my hunt. The staff couldn’t have been more accommodating and made it fun for us

From: JG
14-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
We entered the 5.5 sq mile estate at about 730 am. Almost immediately my guide spotted a trophy bull at about 300 yards out. If I had a rifle my hunt would have ended quickly. I didn’t. I had my bow. It was set up with 550grain arrows - Valkyrie and 70lb. I felt comfortable out to 70 yards if the wind was calm and the animal was calm

Well the wind wasn’t calm. Gusts of 25-30 mph on the hill tops. There was virtually no cover except the grass and rolling hills and what I didn’t expect - I wore my heavy elk hunting boots and the ground was deep, loose sand making walking not fun

The good news is there were plenty of bison

From: JG
14-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
There was no way we could get close enough to the big herd. We had to find trophy bulls by themselves. The good news was the herd consisted of mainly immature bulls and cows. The breeding season was past and the trophy bulls didn’t normally like hanging with the ladies

We found two bulls by themselves. I got two chances at stalks at these animals. On one stalk one bull got within 15 yards of me but came up to me behind a lone tree and busted us. I did have a 70 yard shot at one bull but the wind was howling and the bull was skidish so I passed the shot

From: Fuzz
15-Dec-23
Awesome... keep it coming!

From: Bowboy
15-Dec-23
Keep posting.

From: midwest
15-Dec-23
Giddyup!

From: ki-ke
15-Dec-23
Following….

From: huntinelk
15-Dec-23
Very cool John, keep it coming

From: Fuzz
15-Dec-23

Fuzz's embedded Photo
Fuzz's embedded Photo

From: Chief 419
15-Dec-23
Tuned in. Type faster!

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
After the first two stalks it was about 11am and we decide to let those two bull settle down. We crossed the Dismal River to look for another bull. It was gorgeous. The river actually holds trout up stream.

The river bottom was a safe zone for hunting. They shot a bison down there once and it took 14 hours to get it out

The history of the bison and the importance to the Indians was sickening and fascinating. The dismal river bottom was an area the Indians actually drove bison over cliffs to kill them. I didn’t see it but they say there are areas where the bones are still there.

I fell in love with these cool animal.

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
After about 1 hour driving through the sand looking for another bull we drove into a sand pit. Center high, one tire off the ground. Stuck. No trees to winch outselfs free

We found another 20 animal herd but no bulls. With all the rolling hills these big animals could disappear relatively easily

From: JG
15-Dec-23
The wind was howling, it was cold for this southern body so I jumped in the truck to do emails. We had to wait to get pulled out

After about 10 min my awesome guide entered the truck and said “do you want to kill a bison?” Obviously the chase was on

He spotted two bulls walking the fence line. He didn’t tell me but man we had to very fast walk /trot about 1/2 mile to get ahead of them with the wind in our favor. My legs were burning with the heavy boots

They stopped on a hill along the fence. We ran out of cover at 60 yards. The wind was howling. As we debated what to do they bedded. These animals were smart. The fence to their back. On a hill and they positioned themselves to easily watch all the open country around them

We debated getting aggressive but decided to go back, get the truck pulled out and see what the country looked like on the other side of them

Another walk in the sand back to the truck.

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
We got the truck unstuck. Drove way around to the other side of the bulls

We easily got within 97 yards. Another bull had joined them. So now we had 3 bulls bedded on the hill. You can see two in this picture but there was another one behind them

We were scratching our heads what to do. Just light grass for cover and the bulls higher than us!!!! The only thing good was the howling wind was perfect

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
The next hour and 10 min will be etched in my memory forever

We decided to belly crawl to close the distance. Moving when the closest bull looked perpendicular. Remember, I’m 57, it was all sand that was filled with thistles. The worst part was keeping my bow out of the sand. Fortunately my guide went first so he took the bulk of the thistles but I’m still pulling them out of my legs

We got within 50 yards. Now we stuck out easily because we are on the next hill over from the closest bull. We got lucky. The bull was on off dozing off

We both turned ourselves around since we are now going down hill

We discussed our options and I decided to knock an arrow and go to my knees then take the 50 yard shot it he got up

Well he didn’t even look at me when I got to my knees. He must have been sleeping.

I then decided to knee walk closer when I felt I could get away with it. Oh man. My rear end, thighs, and calves locked tight. Like really right. At 40 I couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to stand

I was at the bottom of the hill and the grass was really helping me. I got away with it

Then I eased another 10 yards using the grass as cover.

I didn’t really want to get any closer than 30 yards so I signaled to the guide to get the bull up. He wolf called and whistled till the bull stood and I took the shot

You can see the white spot on the picture. That’s my arrow in flight

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
I got lucky. I didn’t see this as it unfolded with the grass but he stopped with his leg back.

My broadhead etched his huge knee bone and took out both lungs. It actually cut a soft ball sized chunk off one of the lungs.

The bull ran about 70 yards into the next draw. The other two were with him.

We looked them over well and soon saw blood pouring out one bulls nose. I didn’t want to shoot until I was confident.

I took another 60 yard shot once I knew which bull was mine. I didn’t think through it. Rushed. 25-30 mph cross with and 60 yards pushed my arrow right into his shoulder.

He was hurting but that arrow made him mad. He ran over the next small hill and shortly after we watched him go down. I’d guess he ran 150-200 yards

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
So now it’s 230pm and we have a bull down. What an awesome animal. It’s is difficult to describe how massive and beautiful these bison are

Plus the numbers of interesting things you get with this trophy. I’ll share some more pictures later when I have a moment

From: No Mercy
15-Dec-23
AWESOME! Congrats sir!

From: njbuck
15-Dec-23
Amazing bull, congrats on a great hunt. The pic of you drawing on him and the arrow in flight are priceless!

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Such a cool animal

The hair on his head was 10” tall. The hide was over an 1” thick on the top of his head

They say during windy cold days they face directly into the wind. Now I know why

My guide said the govt stress tested animals on when cold weather bothered them. He said cattle get stressed at 0F, elk -10F and bison didn’t even blink at -40F

From: Scoot
15-Dec-23
Wow- you got some great pics! Very cool hunt!

From: JG
15-Dec-23
Njbuck - I have a video of the whole thing once I stood up. My guide filmed it at 50 yards. It’s really cool

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
I won’t post some of my field dressing pictures but the size of the belly and lungs is staggering.

I did get some other neat things for my trophy room

The sack will be fun to do something with. I bet it weighted 1.5 pounds. Really soft hair

My guide said they used them for face coverings in NE during Covid

I’m getting it tanned

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Look at this picture. My guide is 6’5” and this is not photo shopped

Dismal river had an amazing set up to take care of the animal properly. We had the 1/2’s in the cooler, cleaned up and back at camp at 8pm

The sides weighed 351lb and 353lb. I took home 520lb of awesome boneless meat!!!!!

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
My guide picture

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Head picture that was missed

From: fuzzy
15-Dec-23
Wow!

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Look at the size of the back hide

I’m getting it tanned for a rug

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Ok, this is a fun trophy you can get from a bison.

I called Ross Taylor before my hunt to see if they would make a cane out of my bull if I got one. The lady at Ross was absolutely awesome. She gave me clear instructions on how to freeze and ship the bison penis and tips on how to have fun with it in your trophy room. She also instructed me to shoot a big one to get a cane

Well we had drama. On Monday I packed the frozen bison penis in 10lb of tee shirts in an insulated box. Paid FedEx $277 to ship over night from Memphis to Utah. The FedEx lady said it’s the most unique thing she’s shipped in her career and asked that I bring the cane in when it’s done

Well FedEx didn’t deliver it in 24 hours. We were stressing. Well Ross called me and my tee shirts had enough R value to keep it partially frozen for 50 hours. My bison penis is in great shape and long enough for a cane.

From: Fuzz
15-Dec-23
Congratulations! Thanks for the write up! Good job on sneaking in for a close shot instead of trying a low odds shot in the wind.

From: buckeye
15-Dec-23
What a massive animal, wow!. You will have meat for a long time. Such a cool experience I'm sure.

From: Bake
15-Dec-23
Awesome thread! Thank you. I like threads like this as they lots of times make me want to go do something that maybe wasn't high on my radar before.

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
New way for me to set up an animal to dress

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Ok I left camp at 630am and got home at 8pm completely happy, sore and my body filled with thistles and thorns.

This is up with the hardest, most enjoyable days I’ve ever had bow hunting. Seems the more difficult the more rewarding

I was the only client my guide of 7 years got a bison without a bullet. With a gun I would have been tagged out in 20 min. With a bow this hunt is a hunt imo even thought it’s an estate hunt

My wife stayed at camp and for good reason. 5*****. The food, lodge, people were amazing

From: JG
15-Dec-23

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
One of the coolest things about this hunt is the meat. I ended up with 520lb. Essentially paid $19/lb for the meat with the cost of the hunt

Dismal river has it going. You have to stay over one day in that awesome lodge because it takes 12 hours to cut up the bison. They flash froze it over night in vacuum packed packages. I left the next morning with frozen meat

It took 4 100 quart coolers to get the meat back. I’d guess 400lb or so is lean hamburger and the rest roasts and steaks.

The meat is absolutely fantastic. We are enjoying handing it out to friends and family. A big plus for this hunt

From: JG
15-Dec-23
I’ve been on a bunch of guided trips. I can’t say enough about what an amazing experience Dismal River offers. A++++ outfit. I can’t event think how this could be made better

This one way exceeded my expectations.

From: APauls
15-Dec-23
What a cool thread and hunt. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an awesome time!

From: huntinelk
15-Dec-23
Congratulations John on a great animal, adventure and story

From: Jethro
15-Dec-23
Congratulations on the hunt. Excellent write up too. Well done. Did you, or could you have, brought the ribs home on bone?

Also this was a really interesting sentence "She gave me clear instructions on how to freeze and ship the bison penis and tips on how to have fun with it in your trophy room." Really leaves one guessing as to what tips she offered you.

From: drycreek
15-Dec-23
Wow, what a massive animal ! Thanks for taking us along on what has to be a great hunt. Aside from the grass burrs or whatever they were, I wish I had been there with you…..

From: JG
15-Dec-23
Jethro - I don’t know about the ribs. I do know Lee, the butcher, was about as nice of a man as you’d like to work with. If it didn’t mess up his process I bet he’d do it. I asked for 1lb packs of burger instead of two pound. It essentially doubled his work on the burger and since it’s a 12 hour job on a tight timeline he said he really couldn’t do it. I completely understood

As for the cane. This is a family site so you’ll have to use your imagination. What I will tell you, every lady that knows what I’m making are fascinated by it and I get a bunch of questions I don’t know the answer to. Show your wife the picture of the cane

Small bulls can be made into putters for you golfers

From: Treeline
15-Dec-23
Congratulations! Sounds like an awesome trip! Glad you were successful with the bow! Huge animal for sure!

My first critter with my first bow I made was a young bison bull (4 year old). Have to agree, the meat is excellent and you got a lot more from that giant!

From: bghunter
15-Dec-23
Great bull and enjoyed the write up.

That is a bucket list animal for me too and one day it will come true. Glad you were able to be successful in your dream and take us along.

From: Gib
15-Dec-23
Congratulations on an awesome animal!!! And thanks for sharing the story, loved it

From: Robear
15-Dec-23
That was a fun read. Is the cost of processing included in the hunt? I assume you are having a shoulder mount? That bull will be gorgeous on the wall.

From: Quinn @work
15-Dec-23
Glad the penis made it to Utah. :)

Thanks for sharing this experience. Nice job taking it with a bow. It looks like an incredible place. I don't know bison, but that looks like a big bull. How old do they think it was to get that big?

From: JG
15-Dec-23
The cost of processing was $950. The quality of the processing was outstanding. Lee did an outstanding job

The guide estimated my bull to be 7-8 years old. I have no better info than that. He was big enough for me and I can make a cane ??.

From: Lewis
16-Dec-23
From a fellow Tennessean I thank for very much for taking us along on your hunt I really enjoyed the entire trip and congratulations on your success Good luck Lewis

From: Bou'bound
16-Dec-23
Great job. As you said people who have not walked up on dead bull simply have no idea how big they are. Imagine a pile of 10-15 deer average size whitetails stacked Like cordwood and you have a 1200-2000 pound bison. It’s insane.

There are some very very good private herd hunts out there for those willing to look and be picky. Great experience when done right.

From: JG
16-Dec-23
Some more cool info I picked up on

This estate has been in place for 27 years. My bull was born there. They don’t supplement feed unless they have a significant drought in the summer for growing grass. This year there is plenty of grass. They do give them minerals since they can’t migrate to get them

They also buy Ted Turner bulls that are tagged so they are not shot. These supplement the genetics to keep from completely interbreeding.

The meat is absolutely fabulous. No gamy taste at all. A lot like beef but a little sweeter.

From: Bowboy
16-Dec-23
Great recap and pictures. Congrats!

From: Insheart
16-Dec-23
What a great writeup. Do you have more pics?

From: t-roy
16-Dec-23
They are huge animals! Congrats on your hunt.

From: pav
17-Dec-23
Congrats on a fine bull!

Quite impressive they fully process your meat on the spot. Harvested a bull back in October. Indian guide skinned and quartered it on the spot, but I had to drive the meat nearly four hours into Billings for processing. Totally agree... the meat is fantastic!

From: Gator
17-Dec-23
Very good write up and pictures. Currently doing research on a bison hunt. Definitely number one on my bucket list.

From: elkmtngear
17-Dec-23
Awesome recap, and, educational as well !

Enjoy that fine table fare (and, all the "bonus" procucts)!

From: Ron Niziolek
17-Dec-23
Excellent recap!

From: goelk
17-Dec-23
COOL Thanks

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Love it! Thanks for taking the time.

From: Thornton
17-Dec-23
Looks like he was pinned (or penned) against a high fence?

From: LUNG$HOT
17-Dec-23
Looks like an awesome time!

From: LUNG$HOT
17-Dec-23
Thornton, did you read the thread at all? He clearly states this is an “Estate Hunt” on a ranch and not a public land pursuit. So yes there’s obviously going to be some fences around to contain the animals which the ranch owns. You act like it’s tied to the post

From: JG
17-Dec-23
Yes he was up against the fence. I hate it but it’s really what happened. It was a 5.5 sq mile enclosure but the bulls ran the fence line. They were smart. The bedded with their backs against them

If the wind is strong - seemed to always be- and the right direction, my guide said you can walk right up to a lone bedded bull and probably get it up by poking it with your arrow.

I have plenty of more pictures. Is there something you’d like to see? One of the most interesting to me is how the guide pulled the stomach out. He actually cut hand holes and pulled it out. No way I would have thought if that!!! I don’t post because it’s the gut pile

17-Dec-23
good stuff...thanks for posting!

From: Thornton
17-Dec-23
Lungshot- I already know that, and I'd say it again. So in this case "pinned" may be appropriate.

From: Stoneman
17-Dec-23
Great recap! Thanks for sharing. Meat looks delicious.

From: jmiller
18-Dec-23
Fantastic! Bison hunting, when not done in a canned hunt scenario, is truly an experience!

From: Husker
18-Dec-23
Great pictures & story JG! Post up more pictures if you have them.

From: ki-ke
18-Dec-23
Great write up JG! Thanks for sharing.

Are the quality cuts, like the straps and prime hind cuts as tender as you would like, or on the tougher side? Wondering if doing that hunt with the primary objective as quality meat, if a younger bill or a cow would be a better choice. Do you believe it makes a difference?

From: jmiller
18-Dec-23
I shot a mature cow bison on the Lower Brule a few years back. The meat is delicious but it is quite tough.

From: Supernaut
18-Dec-23
Wow, great pictures and write ups!

Congratulations on a beautiful animal and thanks for taking us along!

From: bluedog
18-Dec-23
Great story! Thanks for sharing. Digressing: Waaay back when I was a kid my Dad read in a George Herter book about Custer State Park having a slaughter house to maintain herd size. He wrote them and said he'd take half a yearling. About 6 months later got a call from train station saying we had a shipment to pick up. It was wrapped and frozen perfect. The meat was excellent, whole family loved it. Leaner than beef but delicious . I'd like to have half a yearling in freezer for sure.

From: deserthunter
18-Dec-23
Congrats on a cool trophy. $950.00 to cut and wrap, flash freeze is a smoking deal with the processing costs these days.

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