My odds of drawing a Montana bison tag were 11,000-to-40. So I was very surprised for the successful draw and was very excited to pursue another bucket list animal. I would be hunting with my dad, my sister and her friend for bison down by West Yellowstone.
The first day of the hunt, we snowshoed along the Madison River in search of a herd outside of the park. After several hours of hiking around, we caught up to a herd of about 40 bison across the river. But because of shooting light, we weren’t able to put in a final stalk on them.
The next day, we went to the exact spot where we left the herd. After following the tracks, we realized we had lost them back into the safety of the park. A little disappointed, we started hiking back to the truck to go drive and look for another herd. To our amazement, another herd was just walking out of the park and right toward us. When they saw us, they quickly took cover in the trees. So we had to track them trying to walk through several feet of snow for about 45 minutes until I was able to catch up with them again. When we finally caught up with the bison, they were in a tight group as a defense. So we had to wait quite a while for me to have a clear shot as one of the lead bison stepped away from the herd.
I used a 300 H&H borrowed from a friend. Because of the adrenaline, I didn’t even feel the kick of the gun. With my first shot, the bison fell right down and I quickly followed up with a second killing shot. When we walked up to the bison it was even bigger than we thought. We spent the next half of the day cutting up meat and packing it out by sled.
Not only was this a huge bison, but we discovered after it was down that it was collared by one of the biologists. After delivering the collar, we were able to receive all the information and data on that animal from the last five years. The biologist was very happy to know the animal’s story ended with a youth hunter’s success. He said it was a good final data point with a neat back-story. He was generous in providing data and telling us everything he knew about the animal, that it was fully mature and had exceeded life expectancy.
I was so grateful that I received this once-in-a-lifetime tag for this amazing animal. To hunt with friends and family was the best part of the experience and we’ve had a lot of dinner celebrations sharing the meat with others