Buffalo Hunting


New member
Jul 7, 2001
Austin, Tx
Has anyone ever been buffalo hunting. We started putting in for it this year and have no clue how difficult it actually is to get one of those dudes. If it's anything like Yellowstone I'll be taking a feed bucket and camera with me cause it doesn't seem to difficult to hunt the things.

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It's hard to hunt them if ya throw rocks at then first, Or try to BRAND them with a hot iron....

Then chase them on FOOT with a bow :D :D

Seriously, I don't know Jack about them, BUt I want to get one someday too !!!!
When they first had it up here you got to go out with a ranger to the buffalo. He would look at them and say, "Shoot that one" and it was all over. I know that the buffalo here are park buffalo and are used to people and are not very hard to get near. I also know that my horse hates the damn things. And remember, if they are laying down you have to look at the horns to tell if it is a bull or cow.
Az has 2 buffulo hunts the first one is worthless.. you go out with a part official and they tell you what one to shoot in the corral(no shit) then after you first shot I hear they put a few more in it....

The second one is house rock ranch on the north rim of the grand canyon. Now this is true hunting.. you pulll up to the house they give you a seminar and open the door... you have a huge place to hunt. they dont tell you where the animals are and they dont follow you.. There are no vehicles allow on the property(even to retrieve game) its either horse or foot only.... Lots of people dont even see an animal and when they do see the the thing takes off like a bat out of hell... I have heard this is one of the toughest hunts (for buffulo) in the world......

The Henry Mtns in So. UT are, as I've been told, much like Del described. I talked to a prof at USU who got drawn this past year and he said it took them almost three days to get the thing out with horses!!! :eek: He said it was one of the most challenging hunts he's ever been on and this is from a guy who puts about 20K out a year in applications!!! He's got a pretty full size polar bear mount in his office.
I drew a cow permit in Jackson last fall. Seeing buffalo was no problem but finding them off the elk refuge/teton park and on NF was the hardest part. Bulls were scattered around the NF but the cows hung out down in the flats.

On the second evening of the hunt I caught a herd (50 to 60) coming into a spring for water and filled my tag.

I've been on a couple of ranch hunts and I couldn't really tell any difference between the domestic and the wild ones when it came to smarts.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 04-09-2002 11:34: Message edited by: wyote ]</font>

What were the ranch hunts like????? I was looking on the web, and most of them seemed like a two hour hunt. It seemed like a lot of money to drive up to a herd, pick one out and whack it.
I was just talking to a freaind of mine today.. he is headed up to montana for a buffulo hunt during the memorial day weekend.. its on a ranch and the hunt is under $500 bucks for a young bull(about the size of a big elk).. he did say they were sold out on the hunt... I will get some pics when he comes back and some more info... this ranch is thinning its herd from what I understand...

Dale T

Ranch hunts are short, like you said. These were just 2 year old butcher bulls. The best one was when the guys dumped him out in a pasture and came to town for breakfast. We went back out to get him and the buffalo got onto some BLM land and was headed south. We caught up with him real late in the afternoon and he was 3 1/2 miles out in the sage brush wandering around. Every time we put a stalk on him when we got there he was nowhere in sight. On the third stalk my buddy got into range and shot him with his 454.


I'm looking for a buffalo now. Some guys in Ill. want the meat but want me to shoot and butcher it. If you hear of any good deals on cows or a young bull let me know.
my brother in law got drawed for house rock about 4 yrs a go he hunted for three days on the second day he found a heard he found a place where he could make a shot an some one on the other hill shot an the heard moved fewer in he said he was 7 miles from his truck an only horses where aloud past the gate or you walk he said the nexted morning a guy with 5 horses was going though the gate to get a bull
My understanding is the House Rock and Henry Mountains bison hunts are no slam dunk. Definitely a bona fide hunt, and if you're lucky enough to get one, retrieval is going to be a hell of a project. Five packhorses sounds about right to me....
I've been involved with dismembering a fair number of bison, and it's given me a good bit more respect for those old squaws out on the prairie with a stone knife! Respect, and a bit of skepticism.... I'm sure the Natives utilized all parts of the bison, but there's no way they used every part of every bison. Run a herd of buffalo off a cliff in warm weather, and man, you'd have some serious stink in a day or so. Anyway, if there were very many at all there's no way they could get 'em all sliced up and on drying racks before the meat started getting funky. I'm digressing right off the bat here, but we've got a buffalo jump on our place up by Cut Bank in north central Montana. Ours has farmland (now CRP) on one side, but a neighbor has one surrounded by native prairie, & the surrounding country doesn't look probably any different than it did back when they were in use. Other than maybe it used to rain occasionally back then....
Anyway, since I got involved with this buffalo hunt deal, in our more deranged moments my son & I have kicked around the idea of staging a buffalo jump. Not too seriously, but... Whatd'ya think folks would pay to participate in that? There hasn't been one for at least two hundred years! Can you imagine? The animal rights folks would absolutely blow a gasket, and you probably wouldn't have to spend a nickel on publicity. The broadcast rights alone could be worth a fortune.... Crazy, I know, but I'm kind of intrigued with the idea.
Anyway, since somebody asked about ranch hunts, we've booked a bunch of buffalo hunts and harvests on the Flying D Ranch here outside Bozeman, MT. http://www.cowboyhvn.com/bison_hunts.htm The harvests are just that, we make no representation about them being some kind of epic hunt. By the same token, you're not just whacking them in a corral either. It's in about a 200 acre pasture that runs into the hills along the Madison River. I know, it potentially doesn't sound like all that much fun, but... The initial goal was to do 200, and we wound up at a couple over 500 last year. People were really taken with it. That's not just speculation, we sent out customer satisfaction surveys, and they were returned overwhelmingly positive. Just one example; a buddy of mine booked a cow harvest as a birthday gift for his wife. Her dad has a company that makes scaled down Sharps-style rifles, and he'd made her a .375 LSR (Little Sharps Rifles). Incidentally, she nailed a cow elk (also on the Flying D, on the public late cow elk hunt), as well as the bison with that rifle. The Dad is a hardbitten old skeptic, and showed up pretty well convinced the whole thing wasn't going to be any fun. Turned out he had a blast, though, and is now a big advocate. The "guides" (guys who help you select a bison, and handle the field dressing & loading of the deceased buffalo) are really professional and personable, and play a big part in turning what could be kind of a less than quality thing into something a lot of folks are already signing up to repeat.
That's the harvests, but if you want to hunt 'em you can do that too. The ranch is 116,500 acres, so it's definitely no "pen" hunt. During the summer months you can hunt the dry cows, and trophy and management bull hunts are offered through June-December (& maybe January, although it usually gets pretty tough to get around on the ranch by then). I've gone on a number of those, and while it's still not like stalking a trophy whitetail or bull elk, it's darn interesting nonetheless. Close to half the bulls have been taken with archery gear, although that doesn't work too well on the cows. The bulls think they're masters of the universe, and you can usually get to within about 35 yards of them. The cows are in bigger herds, though, and usually take a dim view of humans on foot closer than about 150 yards. Black powder has also been popular, with the hunters if not the guides. Muzzleloaders with round balls reportedly don't seem to phase buffalo too much, or at least can have quite delayed effect. Sometimes I think half the reason people signed up for these hunts is an excuse to drag out the big bores. Lots of .375's & .416's. They work fine....
I just got some info on hunting Buffalo in the state of Washington on the Canyon Crest Hunting Ranch,Inc.They have Trophy Buffalo hunts for $3250.00 and up for one thats 1600lbs.This is a 2 day hunt with all the amenities(sp?)The Meat Bull hunts for 2 year old Bulls is also a 2 day hunt and is $2350.00 with all the amenities(sp?)
This is year round hunting with no license required.Let me know if anyone wants their email address or phone #.
HEy RIMROCK, Whats the deal on :

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> The "guides" (guys who help you select a bison, and handle the field dressing & loading of the deceased buffalo) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How about meat proccessing and packing and stuff. What is the cost on that ?!?! Or do they just gut and throw it in the back of a truck ?!?!

I also checked out the site, they have a picture of a "COW" hunt. I don't know much about bison, but is this a "COW" ?!?!


Thanx for any info.... Tell Kurt R. I said hi.. I see they have his ugly mug under the hunting section ... HAHA


From what I was told from the rangers in Yellowstone that is a female. You can tell by looking at the horns if you can't see a fifth leg!!!! If the horns roll up and point toward each other it's more than likely a cow, if the horns point straight up in the air it's more than likely a bull.

That's all that I know about that!!!!!!

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I have seen many advertisements for buff hunts. My problem is that I want the meat. Some places let you shoot them and keep the hide, but then you have to pay extra for each pound of meat you want.
I was fortunate enough to draw a Henry Mountains Buffalo tag a few years back. It was alot of fun. Like Rimrock said it's far from a slam dunk. At the orientation, the Utah DWR folks warned everyone that it was not as easy as most people think. The 80-90 percent success rates that hunters traditionally have on the Henries is decieving. Most hunters take more than one trip down and have to hunt hard to fill their tags. It is rough country and the bison move around alot. I was lucky because I had bowhunted for deer several times a knew a few of the locals, so I knew the country. Oh BTW, the DWR was right. The year I drew my tag, the hunter success rate for my hunt was 48%. There were alot of pissed off hunters. If you are putting in for the Hernrys, I can give you some information.
As good as buffalo is and at only $125 to put in for it, I think I will put in for it next year. I see them all the time just before I reach my camp and I know a couple other place they hang out. Just never though about putting in for them before. Sure would fill the deep freeze fast.
Yes, that picture is a cow bison. Some of those old girls get pretty big horns. About those buffalo milling around in the background of that photo; when one gets shot, the others often go kind of nuts. The smell of blood seems to set them off, and they'll be goring (or trying to pick up?) the one that's down. About like elephants, I hear. Anyway, it can get pretty exciting, particularly for the guides, who have to get in there and chase them off before they wreck the hide. And then, they're hanging right around during the field dressing, like you can see in the picture. Easy to see how the old time buffalo hunters could wipe out a whole herd, once they'd dropped the lead cow.
The kid in the picture was going to use archery, but thought better of it. That was the third one shot that day. The first two guys had signed up for the dry cow hunts. The first hadn't really done much hunting, in fact I think it was the first animal of any sort he'd ever shot. He shot his cow 5 times, broadside through the lungs, using an '06 with 180 gr Failsafes. Any of the shots would have been lethal, but it took a while. She was gushing blood after the first one, but didn't seem troubled about it. Probably took three or four minutes for her to get the wobblies and tip over. I think the kid started having second thoughts about archery after that. Then, the second guy upgraded to a management bull. There's a picture of that one on my site, too. It doesn't really show in the picture, but its horns came out at a bit different angles, later determined to be from a previous skull fracture. Big buffalo, anyway, and he wasn't concerned with it not being quite symmetrical. He used a Marlin 45-70, and his tipped over in fairly short order. I thought the kid was going to use his Dad's 300 mag, but later found out it was his 25-06. Not what I'd call a buffalo gun, but... He shot that cow in the heart, and I'll bet it went down in 5 seconds. Quite the deal....
So, on the meat... The prices are for the animal field dressed, and loaded in your truck (except for the trophy bulls, which they'll take to the processor for you). Processing here locally runs $.45/lb, based on carcass weight, plus around $30 for skinning. Figure about 50-55% of the live weight is carcass weight. So, for a 1000# cow (which is what the bulk of them weigh, give or take)you're looking at about $250 for processing. Depending on the season and weather, quite a few folks from as far away as Minnesota and California took 'em home quartered. The local processors were charging from $75 to $150 (depending on how busy they were and other mood-affecting factors) to skin, quarter, and hang the buff in a cooler overnight. And, some folks with less of a drive (UT, CO, etc.)just skinned 'em down as much as was handy in the back of the truck, and beat feet for home that way.
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