Bison Hunting With A 416 Rigby

TOBY458

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Utah has two different free roaming bison herds that you can draw a tag for. One is in the Henry Mountains down by Lake Powell and the other is in the Book Cliffs north of I-70 and west of the Colorado boarder.

But if you really would like to hunt a free roaming one right now without waiting for a draw, Utah this year is offering a over the counter bison tag for the Wildhorse Bench bison herd. This herd consist of bison that have wandered off of the Ute Indian Reservation and crossed the Green River. This area is very remote and rugged. One area is the Range Creek Canyon and the other is Nine Mile Canyon. Access is very tough but there are those who are working on doing it.
Thanks for the info!
 

JimP

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Ran into a well known outfitter in the Alaskan bush while hunting browns. He had a client flying into the same area I was hunting in the next few days if I recall correctly and essentially wanted me to leave the drainage. Had a good discussion with him and his saying has stuck with me ever sense. Can't remember the exact words to my question but boiled down to the reason why brown or moose hunts have become so expensive. His reply, "we keep charging and they keep paying so why not".

But where else in the world besides some brown bear hunts in Russia are you going to be able to hunt them, this includes the Alaskan Yukon moose.

A lot has to do with supply and demand, small supply and a lot of demand. Have you looked at the prices for cape buffalo, leopard, and lion hunts? They are quite comparable to a brown bear hunt in price.

For African plains game there are thousands of farms that are raising them just for you the hunter to show up and shoot them. The owners consider them the same as some ranchers here in the US as free range animals. I am sure that if you talked to a rancher out west here and asked him if you could go shoot one of his steers he would be more than happy to allow you to do it if you pay his asking price. If you don't want to head over to Africa to hunt some plains game there are a lot of ranches down in Texas that would welcome you, but expect to pay quite a bit more than their African counterpart.

But back to paying everything up front, don't you pay all you owe when you show up at that game ranch to go after that prized animal? Or do you tell the outfitter that you are only going to pay half and then decided afterwards if the hunt was worth it? I don't think that would go over too well.
 

Bert the Turtle

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I have been to Africa 5 times and each time I have paid money in advance and the remainder after the hunt. Never paid all in advance, never been asked to. That includes buffalo and elephant. If the outfitter had asked for the trophy fees to be placed in an escrow account, I would have had no problem with that given the large sums involved. He didn't but it would have been entirely reasonable.

It isn't about deciding if the hunt was worth it, it is a model of payment that ensures everyone has their incentives lined up. The African model of a daily fee and a trophy fee makes sense to me. In a farm area, the daily fee is modest. In a free-range tented camp, daily fees are higher, commensurate with the work involved. We both have skin in the game. I pay something whether or not we get a shot on an animal, my PH earns more if he finds an animal. I know there are vagaries of luck, but it seems like a fair system to me.

Asking me to travel thousands of miles to an area I don't know and paying full price to someone I've never met for a hunt where the outfitter has no skin in the game is asking for more trust than I have. Wish I weren't so cynical, but I'm not interested in hunting with someone who has no incentive to try to find an animal. And every incentive to book more hunts than he has tags for and avoid animals as much as possible. I'd be vetting the living hell out of an outfitter in that circumstance before I'd even consider booking a hunt paid in full opportunity or not. I'm happy for him to protect his interest by making ground rules: cover minimum x miles/day if needed, full price for shot opportunity (within mutually-agreeable range) whether or not I take the shot, etc. Nobody would pay full price for a house and be satisfied with an incomplete house and the builder's assurance that he tried his best.
 

TOBY458

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I have been to Africa 5 times and each time I have paid money in advance and the remainder after the hunt. Never paid all in advance, never been asked to. That includes buffalo and elephant. If the outfitter had asked for the trophy fees to be placed in an escrow account, I would have had no problem with that given the large sums involved. He didn't but it would have been entirely reasonable.

It isn't about deciding if the hunt was worth it, it is a model of payment that ensures everyone has their incentives lined up. The African model of a daily fee and a trophy fee makes sense to me. In a farm area, the daily fee is modest. In a free-range tented camp, daily fees are higher, commensurate with the work involved. We both have skin in the game. I pay something whether or not we get a shot on an animal, my PH earns more if he finds an animal. I know there are vagaries of luck, but it seems like a fair system to me.

Asking me to travel thousands of miles to an area I don't know and paying full price to someone I've never met for a hunt where the outfitter has no skin in the game is asking for more trust than I have. Wish I weren't so cynical, but I'm not interested in hunting with someone who has no incentive to try to find an animal. And every incentive to book more hunts than he has tags for and avoid animals as much as possible. I'd be vetting the living hell out of an outfitter in that circumstance before I'd even consider booking a hunt paid in full opportunity or not. I'm happy for him to protect his interest by making ground rules: cover minimum x miles/day if needed, full price for shot opportunity (within mutually-agreeable range) whether or not I take the shot, etc. Nobody would pay full price for a house and be satisfied with an incomplete house and the builder's assurance that he tried his best.
BINGO!!!
 

CoElkHunter

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I too would like to find a real “fair chase” bison hunt. A ranch east of here gets $5,500 for a trophy bull hunt, $3,600 for a bull and $3k for a heifer (probably like for Cape Buffalo? Ha! Ha!). Of course, you get the meat. $500 deposit, balance due when animal is harvested. But, I’m sure it’s not going to be a “challenged” type of hunt, so I’ll pass. I have their flyer though if anyone is interested.
 

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If I went on one of those ranch type hunts I would just ask for the animal to be taken to the slaughterhouse, killed and processed just so that very little meat would be wasted. That along with no bullet hole or holes in the hide.

Just as a fyi on the OTC bison hunt in Utah, rumors are that 4 or 5 hit the ground on the opening weekend. However they were shot on private property
 

CoElkHunter

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If I went on one of those ranch type hunts I would just ask for the animal to be taken to the slaughterhouse, killed and processed just so that very little meat would be wasted. That along with no bullet hole or holes in the hide.

Just as a fyi on the OTC bison hunt in Utah, rumors are that 4 or 5 hit the ground on the opening weekend. However they were shot on private property
Your right, it’s not a hunt. I won’t shoot anything unless my actual hunting of the animal takes place. Not a judgment about anyone’s hunting style, just my own preference.
 

Art Lambart II

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As for outfitters wanting full payment, why not? They put in their time and energy along with their horses, trucks, ATV's or whatever else that you used on the hunt, so why shouldn't they get full payment. A lot depends on the person that is the client of the outfitter. They show up out of shape, can't hit the broadside of a barn with their brand new rifle, and can't see the animals that the guide points out for them so they go home empty handed.

@JimP If you are successful in taking your animal do you pay extra for skinning, butchering, packing out the meat and hide care or is that included in the price of the hunt? If those services are included in the base price and I never shoot my rifle or bow why should I have to pay for services not provided. This is the primary reason I have placed my dreams of Elk and Bear hunting in the US on permeant hold, charging someone full price for services not received is just wrong and I can't support that type of business or operation. Now if I wound an animal that we fail to recover I would owe the entire fee no questions asked. Now if you know of an US Outfitter other than the "Rock'n G Ranch" that only charges those fees if their client if successful please let me know and I'll be happy to speak with them about a hunt.
 

JimP

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@JimP If you are successful in taking your animal do you pay extra for skinning, butchering, packing out the meat and hide care or is that included in the price of the hunt? If those services are included in the base price and I never shoot my rifle or bow why should I have to pay for services not provided. This is the primary reason I have placed my dreams of Elk and Bear hunting in the US on permeant hold, charging someone full price for services not received is just wrong and I can't support that type of business or operation. Now if I wound an animal that we fail to recover I would owe the entire fee no questions asked. Now if you know of an US Outfitter other than the "Rock'n G Ranch" that only charges those fees if their client if successful please let me know and I'll be happy to speak with them about a hunt.

All those services are freebee's.

Or would you like a hunt that is a la carte, where you only pay for what you don't do yourself?

Let's see, how much for gutting the animal, how much for skinning, how much for packing it out?

Don't want to get your hands bloody you can pick the hunt package that includes that. If you don't mind doing all the work then pick the hunt package that only includes the opportunity to shoot at the animal.

Perhaps you might be onto something. All you need to do is to purchase a farm in South Africa and stock it with animals or open up a outfitter business here in the US. As they say all it takes is money.
 

TOBY458

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Toby: have you found a place to go?
No not yet. I've been talking to a guy in SD. He hunts Bison on private farms up there. Sometimes they just want the Bison removed because when they get old they become aggressive at times. Right now I'm also considering a private land Elk hunt, but not sure yet.
 

CoElkHunter

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Although, if Toby was along on the hunt, he could bait the bull by walking up to a calf like the rocket scientist lady did a few weeks ago in Custer State Park in South Dakota. The bull (or cow) horned her by her belt and shook her around like a rag doll. That would then be a hunt? Just don’t wear a belt Toby!
 

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Outfitter integrity as you mentioned Toby is critical! JMO, but some have it and some never will. Yes the outfitter has made an investment, but the hunter has also made an investment of a lifetime, possibly an only opportunity to hunt. Flight to and from, vacation time used, seaplane/bush plane charter, out of state license, special clothes, maybe special backpacking gear, special rifle, hotel before and after, etc, etc.
I had two Kodiak hunts neither panned out. I was in great shape (well I was only in my 60s then). I had one real opportunity at a dinky bear. What’s the point? $18k/ hunt excluding all out of pocket $. The first trip was great fun in a great area. Second trip was a total cluster poop from a greedy outfitter with no integrity. They guides got good tips for trying very hard, but I would never use the outfitter nor even mention his name, though I was told he was the best. At what, I’m not sure. Apparently I didn’t do enough research. Could have made some great trips to Africa. Poor research.
 

fourfive8

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Brown bear as a substitute is not a bad idea. Not Africa for certain! Can be challenging and some hard work too :) I knew an outfitter in AK several years ago who did free range Bison hunts there. Not for everyone and it appeared to be very typical of AK- unpredictable and right on the "edge" so to speak. Each unique and a real adventure. Not even sure if those are still offered or even available for non-residents. And with the covid cluster still going on, still a lot of work-around hoops to jump through just to get into some areas of AK- given the small isolated villages and the political climate associated with the covid spread thing. It is going to take some serious research and due diligence to come up with a reasonable sub for Africa- but AK does come to mind :)
 

Ridgewalker

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I knew an outfitter in AK several years ago who did free range Bison hunts there. Not for everyone and it appeared to be very typical of AK- unpredictable and right on the "edge" so to speak.
Yep. I saw a heard on Kodiak both times I was there. I was told it was a private Herd that just went where ever they wanted to (no fences anywhere). I was also told you could hunt them...for a price.
 

fourfive8

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Yep moo cows and bison on Kodiak is odd and makes no sense no matter how you look at it! A lot of brown bears were killed on depredation permit trying to protect cattle when someone tried to ranch there. Fast forward and seems similar with an attempt to have a bison herd on Kodiak. I think, but not certain of details, that a native corporation had them or claimed the bison on Kodiak but a court ruling reversed that and are now considered feral status???

The outfitter I know is mostly retired I think but used to occasionally hunt free ranging interior bison over in the Kuskokwim drainage.

Several years ago, my nephew harvested one with his bumper near Delta. But hunting that bison herd is also kind of... "different". :)
 

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I've killed 3 plains bison, first one at age 17 as a drawing winner on a free ranging heard owned by
State Fish & Game! Shot it with a 45-90 Winchester 1886. I was accompanied by a F&G officer, my dad
and a biologist and was a 2 day hunt that resulted in a nice bull (meat was harvested for a town centennial celebration BBQ)> It was a blast. Same year my dad and I hunted Kodiak and each got 10+ft bears! Over the last 40 years have taken 3 more large bears. All but the last have been very demanding! Years ago was lucky enough to draw a Yellow Stone Border Bison Control hunt, it was as challenging as shooting a steer at the slaughter house! Did a ranch meat bison hunt in MT which was a real spot and stalk after a day of trying to find one of the small herds of several on the ranch (shot with a 50-110 Sharps which is still special to me). Never under estimate a Bison.....they will hurt you if they can! Hunted Artic Bison in NWT and it was one of the most difficult hunts I've done despite having 5 Inuit guides I had hunted with several times before and it was very challenging to say the least! They are an amazing animal with an irritable disposition, who can take a hit so a 416 Rigby is not over gun!
 

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An option not mentioned but worth considering would be chasing Nilgai in the south Texas brush big free range country tough critters and excellent spot and stalk hunting.
 

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