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
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
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
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
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.
We found another 20 animal herd but no bulls. With all the rolling hills these big animals could disappear relatively easily
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.
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
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
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
Plus the numbers of interesting things you get with this trophy. I’ll share some more pictures later when I have a moment
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
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
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!!!!!
I’m getting it tanned for a rug
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.
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
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
This one way exceeded my expectations.
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.
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
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!
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.
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?
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 ??.
There are some very very good private herd hunts out there for those willing to look and be picky. Great experience when done right.
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.
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!
Enjoy that fine table fare (and, all the "bonus" procucts)!
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
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?
Congratulations on a beautiful animal and thanks for taking us along!