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Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

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Old 01-07-2005, 03:57 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

In British Columbia we have a special limited entry hunt for Buffalo that are running wild in the northeastern part of the province. This year there were nearly 11,000 applicants for 105 licenses, I was very fortunate and received one. My hunting partner of 20 years came along for the hunt. He is getting on in years and not in the best of health, recently losing his big toe and part of his foot due to diabetes, and also has fairly severe arthritis. Not the best of partners for a hunt in rugged mountainous terrain but considering the opportunities he has provided me with over the years he was deffinately coming along on this hunt!

We arrived a day early and went scouting the next day. I had brought along a snowmobile and my old 94 king quad. Of course the first day the sled broke down so we now only had one toy to access remote areas. The next day we took the truck in 30 miles off the highway, the last 10 on a small trail, across creeks, ice flows and just plain rough country. At that point large vehicles are no longer allowed, so my partner used the truck to cruise around that 10 mile stretch while I went in on the Quad. all the trails were pretty much just ice covered, almost no snow, there had been some -40c weather two weeks earlier but the entire time we were in the area temps were in the 0 to +4c range and it was extremely windy, especially up high on the mountains. Needless to say the Buffalo had also moved up high to feed and enjoy the cooler temps up there.

Ahh but I digress. hopped on the quad and away i went, very scenic trail near a river below the mountains, chains on the rear wheels so the ice is no problem. About 5 miles in I spot 7 Buffalo about 11/2 miles up on a ridge in a large meadow, does not look like I can sneak up within range, so after a smoke break while watching them I carry on in. At the 61/2 mile point I spot one animal, a fair ways up in a small meadow. I think to myself, off by himself, most likely a bull, and it does not look too far........ I can probably get a shot from that little ridge below him.......... well nope not to be, but 1/2 hour of very hard hiking and I was within range, about 200 yards downwind on another ridge, just some stunted lil poplar trees between me and the Buffalo. Now to wait for the shot.........he has his hind end pointed towards me, dam 5 minutes of waiting and he disappeared over the ridge, just about ready to hike some more and he pops back up, wait another few minutes, excitment not so bad and I have caught my breath, finally get a quartering side shot, let her rip. He bellars and tail goes up in the air and before I could snap a shot off he is out of sight.

10 minutes more of hard hiking across a ravine and up even steeper terrain and there he is. 20 yards away, binoculars up, no sign of movement or breath! I am thinking wow, my new toy works great! .338 Winchester Sako with 250 grain nozzlers custom loaded, it does pack a wallop! Well I am cautiously approaching this monster, thinkin dam now I have some work to get this thing down 1000 feet and a mile out off the mountain! Well when I was about 20 feet awya the dam thing jumps up on his front legs and tries to charge me!!!

I backpedal very fast with the rifle up, very steep, and on the exposed side of the slope the wind is aboout 60mph, hard to even stand. Fortunately the bull settled back down, I quickly put another shot in his neck, and just to be sure (but without damaging horns) I put another in his head. Whew thats done, poke him with a stick, nothing. Now the work begins!!

I manage to flip him over, belly done hill and start to gut him. Dam, stomach is so big I cannot get my arms around it, finally with 2/3rds of the stomache out I decide to empty it, fortunately it was pretty much just full of wet grass. Finish the gutting with little difficulty. I roll him down the steepest terrain about 100 yards, its now near 2pm, game is secure for the night, time to head out to partner.

We are both pretty pleased and get gear ready for the next day to haul out the animal. The next morning we dragged my 25ft gooseneck in to where we were the day before, load the skimmer with our gear, tape some folded up towels over the rear rack for my partner to sit on and away we go, an hour later we are ready to start up the mountain. Two hours later my partner makes it up and I also made it up with the quad and some of the gear. I had to shuttle gear the last 1/4 mile as it was just too steep to make it all in one trip.

Well its now noon, time to go to work, as if the two hour climb with the quad was not work! We get the hind quarters and skullcap with horns loaded into the skimmer. cut the front 1/2 into quarters, leave the gear and head down the mountain. Not enough time or room for a 2nd trip, so out to the truck we go. So far so good, no crashes, although close as the skimmer went under the quad at one point.

The next day I go in by myself, now that we have a trail I make it up the mountain in 1/2 hour and go to work. Front quarters are too wide for the skimmer so once again out with the trusty chainsaw, cut the ribs, then the knife thrue the meat and hide, load one quarter onto the skimmer and drag it down that first 1/4 mile, not wanting to risk an accident today out by myself! Hike back up dragging the skimmer, load the 2nd 1/4, drag it about 1/8th of a mile, figure hey I can do it from here with the quad.

So now I hike back up the mountain, get the cargo net out and pile all the gear that was in the skimmer onto the back of the quad, strapp it down and away I go. Get down to the skimmer, hook up and on to the next cache of meat and gear. I did manage to loaded everything onto the quad and skimmer, its getting late, want to make this in one trip if possible. At onepoint there is a 50 foot stretch that I could not make it up with the quad, so going down with the skimmer is not an option, and the alternate route is not possible going down due to terrain at one point. I unhook, wrap a rope around some spindly poplars a couple times, use them as a brake and lower the skimmer, then down with the quad, hook up and away I go down the rest of the mountain, everything is going great!!!

I finally am down off the mountain about 3pm, now 61/2 miles of icey trail, lots of good hills both up and down, a couple ice flows and one creek with steep sides and by the look of it between myself, gear and the front quarters on the skimmer my little 94 LTF300 King quad is hauling out about 1200 pounds!!! Uh oh, one tire chain has come off somewhere on the mountain, too close to dark now to go look so I go for it. I kept the unchained side off the edge of the trail as much as possible and actually made the trip out to the truck in just over an hour without incident. The pucker factor was kinda high on some of the downhills and it was a bit tense on some of the uphills but no problems occured. We load everything up on the trailer, quad towed the skimmer up no problem and away we go.

Now today has been the warmest day yet, still windy and dam the road is slick. take our time, and about 11/2 hours later we have covered the 30 miles and are back at camp. Packed up the next day and home after that, 10 hour drive, 50 miles of white out just after dark, but home safe and sound. The next morning I find out my butcher had dislocated his shoulder and could not take our meat, so a mad scramble to find another butcher on Dec 21!!!

We got the meat back the other day and all I can say is mmmm good it was worth every ounce of sweat! An all around awesome trip, I would go again in a flash, but make sure I had apartner who also had a quad and sled. Anyway, enough rambling. I will put some pics in my gallery soon but for now you can view these here:

Me and my Buffalo

My Partner, look at that grin!

The view downhill!

The trail is down by the river, and where the animal sits is steep enough that standing is difficult.

Hope you all enjoyed my ramblings as much as I enjoyed the hunting experience of a lifetime!
Tim
 
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Old 01-07-2005, 04:50 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

WOW... awesome story... I have 2 heads on the garden fence ( bleaching in the sun ) mine were a little easier to get, they were bought from a local farm, but we have to ( get to ) shoot our own... most shots are mad from 100 - 300 yards... the 1st one, I let my wifes uncle shoot, as he's getting older, & his health is failing, & he's a big time hunter, & had never shot a buffalo... the 1st one we got, was a yearling bull, the fur was prime, but rack, etc was smaller, & since we were shooting it for the meat, he shot it in the head... amazingly, it took 3 shot, just below the eyes, from the front, to drop the beast... they are very hard to kill ( you really have to respect the natives, for even attempting to hunt them from horse back, & with bows ), even with a tractor with a loader, it's alot of work, to gut & skin a buffalo ( the only way the locker plant will take one )

you are correct, the meat is awesome...
 
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Old 01-07-2005, 05:02 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

Awesome story. Thanks for sharing it[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img] What an animal. Only baffalo around here are pets.
 
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Old 01-07-2005, 05:03 PM
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And, Welcome to the Forums[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]
 
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Old 01-07-2005, 05:56 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

Wow!! Thats about all I have to say on that one. What an expierence! Although your partner didn't get to do any shooting, I'am sure he truley enjoyed that hunt. Kudo's to you for taking him. I've never had the oppertunity to eat buffalo, but given the chance I wouldn't pass it up. I've often thought about the native Indians and how they lived while I'am in the field. Great story! Good luck in your future ventures.
 
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:17 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

You really shared a lot for your first post. Good story. Welcome to the Connection.

There used to be a buffalo farmer about 10 to 20 miles past our house. A local diner used to sell buffalo burgers. The farmer is long gone now. I wish the buffalo's were still there. Made the area a little more interesting. Along with the guy with wolves and another guy with emu's. Now they are all gone.

 
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for a great read. Glad you were able to enjoy a great hunt and it's super obvious that your partner was having fun.

Better story and better told than a lot of the ones you read in outdoor magazines. Maybe you ought to submit it. I get tired of the stories that are really advertisments for some guide outfit. Yours is about a guy just goin out and doing it.
 
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Old 01-08-2005, 12:44 AM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

Great job, congrats. Nice pictures, always nice to have pics to go along with the story....great job...

dave
 
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:51 AM
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Awesome story and the smile on your mentor is worth a million bucks! Buffalo is excellent meat, right up there with elk, lobster, and rockfish IMHO.
 
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:41 PM
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Default Have to share, Buffalo Hunt

Newbeatle:

Yup its a lot of work no matter how you go about it, I figure the animal was about 1600 pounds and of course conditions were not optimum, but I would go again in a heartbeat! I cut out the skullcap with horns and am getting a hide on mount done, even have two of the expended bullets to mount on the plaque. Yup gotta admire the natives and how they used to hunt them. The hide, in several pieces is being donated to a local indian reserve here, good friend is a banc councillor and she plans to make up small medicine blankets for some of the elders there.

Rescuediver:

Thanks for the welcome, I must confess I have been a lurker here on the Suzuki forum for a bit over a year now and just browsed around the other day and spotted the hunting forum, so of course had to post [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img] There are a few Buffalo ranches locally around here and the meat is readily available at some butchershops.

Ubetrun:

Yup the pic of my partner about sums up the hunt, probably the last big hunt in his lifetime and I was able to help make it a memorable one. I take him out mule deer hunting on a local ranch, we see 60-100 deer every afternoon and can pick the one we want, easy hunting, but then we are driving around with a handicapped sticker in the truck LOL A younger partner might have made things easier, but never could it have been better!

Tencubed:

Which magazines would you suggest? I must admit I do not generally buy hunting magazines, but could probably edit the story and add a bit so as to share the experience with others that are interested. Thanks for your comments.

To all the rest:

Thanks for your kind comments. We have been eating Buffalo for 6 years now, so of course know how good it is. My Mrs is not a fan of wild meat generally, but loves the Buffalo, and even went back to the fridge last night for a leftover cold dinner sausage....... For those that have not tried Buffalo, I highly reccommend it, but go for a steak or roast, hamburgers just do not do it justice. My partner did thank me for babysitting him when we got back to my place, I know he appreciated the opportunity, but also he had much invaluable advice and was as helpful as he could be given his health. I will always remember his smile, and of course have a great picture also, it made all the hard parts more than worthwhile. He has done much for me in the last 20 years and I was really glad to be able to repay him a little bit.

Cheers
Tim


 

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