USA: American Bison Oglala Sioux Reservation South Dakota

JES Adventures

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Continuing my quest for the North American 29, I started searching out a free range Bison hunt last year. I discovered the Oglala Sioux Reservation Bison hunt while perusing the auction list for the Wild Sheep Foundation. After a bit more research and a phone call to the Director of the Reservation Game Department I placed my bid. Fortunately, I was the high bidder and we set the hunt date for December 1st. That is Thanksgiving weekend so my oldest son Grant decided to help me make the drive from San Antonio to Kyle, South Dakota. Normally, I would fly this distance for a hunt but with the quarry being Bison, I want to bring back as much meat as possible from the hunt.
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Day 1


We got our gear loaded Thanksgiving morning and headed to share the Holiday meal with family. We visited for a while but basically ate and ran! We dropped my younger son Parker off at his truck to do a bit of bow hunting at our ranch this evening then headed North.

About seven and a half hours later we arrived in Perryton, Texas which was the last town in Texas before crossing into Oklahoma. We got a room and turned in, our plan is to hit the road by 7 in the morning.
 

JES Adventures

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Day 2

A good nights sleep, I was up before 6 preparing for the 10 hour drive ahead of us. After showers and breakfast at the hotel we hit the road right on schedule. The first signs of snow were near Garden City, Kansas. A big winter storm is surging across the Northwest to Midwest so we hope to make Kyle before it gets too bad. I spoke to my guide, the Elk and Bison Manager Al Fast Wolf and he said if there are blizzard conditions Saturdayso we wont get out in it. I am fine with that but would like to make it to Kyle today so we are set to hunt Sunday when the weather clears.

The trip went well, we hit some stretches of freezing rain but it was melting off as the ground temperature was above freezing. We encountered some Mule Deer along the highway on our trip up to Kyle.
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We arrived a small local motel (Lakota Prairie Resort) that is close to the Reservation. A clean, older motel with everything we need to be comfortable. I spoke with Al to let him know we arrived and he reiterated that if its blowing snow we will wait it out. Currently the forecast has it to start blowing in around mid-night and peak about 6PM Saturday night then start to diminish. If the forecast holds, it will start to clear off midday Sunday and we will get at it.

The motel has a nice diner so we at dinner early and called it a day.
 
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JES Adventures

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Day 3
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The blizzard arrived just as predicted. We woke to snow and high winds. We knew it was coming so there was no big surprise. We headed to the diner about 11:30 for lunch then spent the day talking and watching football. Since my son is in his second year at college, it was nice to have some down time together. We had a lot of great conversations, caught up on the past and planned the future.

About 7 we decided to walk over to the diner for our evening meal. Well, they had closed due to the weather! So, we lived off the snacks we were traveling with for the night.

If the forecast holds out, the snow will stop around 1AM and the wind slow down by 8AM tomorrow.
 

JES Adventures

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Day 4

As soon as I woke I could see sunshine coming through the drapes which was a welcome sight. The winds had blown a lot of the snow off the truck so it didn’t look quite that bad. I called Al about 9AM and he said he was snowed in and didn’t have any idea if or when we would get out today. He said depending on how bad the roads are, it could be Wednesday before we could get around. Well, thats not really what I wanted to hear so Grant and I headed off to breakfast - fortunately the diner reopened this morning and I told him countless stories about being weather delayed hunting North America!

The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day. We drank coffee and had a big, leisurely breakfast of eggs, pork chops and chicken fried steak then headed back to the room for some Sunday football.

About 11:30, Al called and told me to start driving towards Allen and see if the roads were passable. We made it, driving in four wheel high the entire 18 miles and the roads were in decent shape. We were happy to pass a snow plow as well as a maintainer clearing the roads.

We got to Al about 12:30 and discussed the hunt. He said the snow was too deep to get into the pasture and hunt today. He spent the better part of the afternoon clearing the main road with a snow blower on a skid steer so we could bet part way in.

I was able to spot some Bison about a mile away feeding across the rolling hills. Obviously too far to assess a trophy, but certainly could tell there were some big bulls in the group by how much taller they were than the other Bison.
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We made a plan to meet at 9AM in the morning and see what we could do.

Back at the motel diner, we had ribeye’s and baked potatoes then watched a John Wayne movie before turning in.

The weather forecast looks good today with temperatures getting above freezing for a few hours so the roads should continue to improve.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Already a great adventure and haven't even uncased the guns. Looking forward to the rest of the hunt and report!
 

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Snow...ugh! I’m already tired of it for this year and it has only started!
Looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
 

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That same storm left us with a bit of snow. Those Bison really stand out against the snow background. It'll make them easy to spot. From your pic it looks like there are plenty around. Good luck.
Bruce
 

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A John Wayne movie sounds like the perfect prelude to a buffalo hunt!

Enjoying your report.

Hunting with your son, PRICELESS!
 

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Sounds great so far. Snow in south Dakota this time of year," whoda" thought that? What rifle(s) did you bring? What distances did you zero for? Did you bring a Von Gruff knife to field dress and butcher one of those bad boys?
 

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I was just talking to a friend in KY who was looking for a Bison head for one of his customer’s home/lodge he just built. Anyway, got me reading your thread and now I am up to my preverbal armpits in snow and bison hunting story. Post away my man! Great tale so far!
 

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Looking forward to this. Have had the same idea for some time now. Every year I buy some raffle tickets for the buffalo hunt put on by the Troy Lions Club in Idaho. Still waiting for that one! Then the NRA Whittington Center had a raffle for a buffalo rifle, buffalo hunt, knife and painting, so bought one $100 ticket. Didn't win of course but the money is well spent.
 

JES Adventures

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Day 5

I was up at 5:30, Grant and I got packed up and out by 7:30 headed to meet Al. The roads were iced over, but we took it slow driving in four wheel high the entire way. We got to the area a little before 9 and Al met us shortly after.

We glassed to locate the buffalo herd then set off in pursuit. The windswept, snow covered hills made it easy to spot the Bison. After 24 hours of terrible weather, they were all up busy feeding.

The wind was gusty today but out of the West/Southwest so it was warming up a bit. By time we got into the field it was in the upper 30’s and partly cloudy.

Al stopped several times as we moved across the ridge glassing the immense herd. There had to be more than 600 Bison (Bulls, Cows and Calves) all spread out for about 3/4 of a mile.

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We finally located a group of four mature bulls, off to the side by themselves. As I glassed them, I immediately knew which one was the biggest. After a few minutes, Al said “see that bull in front of the three on the right, walking towards us?”. I replied “yes, I spotted him right away when we started glassing”. An old bull with a massive skull and huge head of hair. Al said “thats him”.

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We made a plan to get into position for a shot and by the time I was set the bulls had stopped walking at 107 yards. I was set with my Christensen 300 RUM, waiting for the bull to turn broadside.

When he did, I confirmed with Al once more and asked him where to shoot. He said “can you make a brain shot from here?” I said, “yes, where do you want me to put the bullet?”. He said “in line with the eye and under the horn”.

I settled in and let the shot go and the bull dropped in his tracks.

As we approached the bull, we realized how big the body was on this Bison. He is the classic example of an old, North American Plains Bison with a massive dark head and rusty colored wool like shoulders with dark legs.

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Al brought in his truck and loaded the bull with a hydraulic loading arm and we made our way out of the pasture. After tagging and field dressing, we said our goodbyes and drove an hour to Pine Bluff to a meat processor that would bone the bull out for us.

We finally hit the road at 3:40 and drove straight through back to San Antonio as my son starts finals this week and cannot miss any classes.
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500lbs of meat and my trophy about to leave Pine Ridge

It took about 17 1/2 hours and we switched off driving through the night. Sunset this time of year is 4:15PM so it was dark in no time. We encountered several Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer and Coyotes along the highway through the night. The temperatures ranged from the mid 20’s to upper 30’s so the ice in the ice chests barely melted and the head and hide were still cold when I got to the taxidermist.

In retrospect the time with my son, sitting out the blizzard in a motel room just watching football and visiting made the hunt.

The North American Plains Bison is not necessarily a difficult or physically challenging hunt, other than the weather conditions we had to endure.

Making the road trip, hunting on the reservation where the Bison have roamed for generations, taking an old mature bull and coming home with neatly 500lbs of boneless meat all contributed to the experience of my Bison hunt.

This takes me to number 18 on my quest for the North American 29 and I feel very Blessed to have hunted this iconic North American Trophy on the Oglala Sioux Reservation.
 
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JES Adventures

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Snow...ugh! I’m already tired of it for this year and it has only started!
Looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
Being from South Texas, we just don’t get much experience driving in this stuff. I can see how you would get tired of it real fast!
 

JES Adventures

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A John Wayne movie sounds like the perfect prelude to a buffalo hunt!

Enjoying your report.

Hunting with your son, PRICELESS!
Lucked out, Cahill U.S. Marshall was on that night!
 

JES Adventures

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Sounds great so far. Snow in south Dakota this time of year," whoda" thought that? What rifle(s) did you bring? What distances did you zero for? Did you bring a Von Gruff knife to field dress and butcher one of those bad boys?
Brought my Christensen 300 RUM, which is my “Go To” North America rifle. Always zeroed at 200 so I compensated for the 107 yard shot. Missed out on that Von Gruff, used my Havalon helping out with the boning.
 

JES Adventures

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I was just talking to a friend in KY who was looking for a Bison head for one of his customer’s home/lodge he just built. Anyway, got me reading your thread and now I am up to my preverbal armpits in snow and bison hunting story. Post away my man! Great tale so far!
Does he want to shoot a bison or buy a mount? I know a fellow down here in Texas that has Bison mounts for sale from time to time. You can PM me if you want the details.
 

JES Adventures

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Looking forward to this. Have had the same idea for some time now. Every year I buy some raffle tickets for the buffalo hunt put on by the Troy Lions Club in Idaho. Still waiting for that one! Then the NRA Whittington Center had a raffle for a buffalo rifle, buffalo hunt, knife and painting, so bought one $100 ticket. Didn't win of course but the money is well spent.
A great cause for sure and why not buy the ticket - Someone has to win!
 

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Congratulations on a great bull. Hunting north of I-40 presents its unique challenges!
 

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Great looking bison. Congratulations.

Hope finals go well!
 
 

 

 

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