In Dec. of 2012 I put myself, my daughter, and my g/f in for Delta Bison. I had only applied once before many years ago. This was the first time for the daughter and g/f. Come Feb. 2013, early in the morning, the other guys at work were checking to see what success they had. I checked mine and...............Bernadette Quinn, DI403 Delta Bison. We were all pretty amazed! Bernadette is my daughter.
So began a long preparation for a hunt that relatively few, compared to other hunts, get to partake in. I doubt I have put the time in to any other hunt that I put in to this one. I had to get a rifle that would shoot a 200 gr. bullet at a certain energy at 100 yds for her. Plus, my rifle, a 300 WSM, is difficult to get ammo for with larger than a 180 gr. bullet. I would be the back up hunter and was also required to have the 200 gr. bullet. I ended up with a Rem. 7400 in 30-06 for my daughter, a 13 yr old, and also ended up getting reloading dies for both her and my rifle. This was all going on during the first 8 months of 2013 when ammo was fairly scarce in any variety here in Fbks. I lucked out on some 200 gr. Nosler Partitions in town here and was able to load up ammo for both rifles. I did not like the 7400 and went thru a lot of factory ammo with less than decent accuracy until settling on the reloads with the partitions.
Successful permittees' are grouped in to staggered starting dates based on the order they are drawn. Season opens Oct. 1, but only about 15 hunters are allowed to start then. Each Sat. thru Nov. 9th another group of hunters can start till all are eligible to hunt Nov. 9. We were in the last group on Nov. 9. We missed out on some good hunting opportunities as a lot of Bison were on the Tanana R. and could have been hunted with a boat or canoe. Bison hunters are also required to take a bison orientation course, either in person in Delta, or online. We took the online course.
So Nov. 9th was our first outing. We had 2 days planned. I had made a scouting trip in Oct. and was also able to fly a few days before we went. One of the more difficult parts of the hunt was getting up to date land owner info and then securing permission. Our first trip resulted in seeing lots of Bison, but no opportunities at a shot. Trying to sneak up on 30 or so animals is a lot different than sneaking up on 1 or 2.
We made successive trips during T-day, 2 in Jan. 2 in Feb. and one day trip on Mar. 23. We saw bison most every trip but could just not confidently identify a bull and get a safe shot as well. It was a pretty frustrating winter, as well as expensive. As we became more familiar with the area and the land owners, getting on to property and to bison wasn't real difficult. But getting in to a safe shooting distance, 100 yds for the kid, and identifying a bull was a problem. We had a good stalk on some animals in the middle of a barley field but they were all cows or calves.
Our last trip was Fri. the 28th of Mar. with hunting on Sat, Sun. and Mon. Luck was with us this time. Most of the bison were over by Greely or moving that way. But I got a tip from F&G on some bison on a farm right behind Silver Fox Roadhouse. I got the farmers number and talked to him also. My daughter and I got to Silver Fox about 8 pm friday, dumped the trailer with 4 wheeler and snogo, and headed to the farm area. The farmer had suggested we drive the road behind his farm, which we did. By 8:30 it was beginning to get dark, but there were 2 animals across the road on another piece of property. There are a lot of moose in the Delta area, so I had to glass these animals for a while to be sure w they were bison. They were in an unharvested field across the road from the property we had permission on. They were obviously moving toward the cut, snowless field we had permission for, but at a slow pace. I knew the bison were being seen on the property we had permission for early in the morning so we packed it in and returned to the Silver Fox that night. I was sure we had to be back at very first light to get a good chance at these 2 animals.
5 am came quick, but we were up and dressed and on the way by 5:30. Before 6 am and with just enough light to see somewhat, one animal was on the property we had permission, and the other had crossed the road to the un cut field. We were able to close some distance behind some cottonwoods and get my daughter in to position for a shot at the bull on the field we had permission. It was a slightly longer shot than 100 yds, but it was now or never. She made a good shot and we heard the bullet hit. The animal moved to join its companion tho, so we had to move across the road to continue legal shots. 2 more shots were put in to her bull, at a somewhat longer distance than 200 yds, and our hunt was over. Here is the successful huntress with her prize:
Here's a shot of the bull in more light:
So then the hard part of hunting began. The kid and I got a start on caping while our hunting pard went to drive my truck closer. He had to drive the truck over some snowdrifts, but they look hard and frozen. Turned out one wasn't. The truck got stuck good. Another hunter showed up not long after but we couldn't get his truck close enough to mine to help pull me out without risking getting his truck stuck. He gave me a ride to the farmers place and he offered to bring his tractor out. The tractor pulled me out no problem and I gave him some money for his trouble. Then the subject of the bison came up and I think he offered, or maybe we asked (haha) if he could pick it up and bring it to the road. No problem he said. We chained up the head and he lifted it so we could gut in in the field. Here is the bull getting lifted:
We had to get a shorter grip on the animal to get it high enough but in a few minutes we were cutting. Here's me getting a start:
Here I am after a bit of time with me gutting and the pard skinning:
Once the gutting was over, we got a different grip on the bull and it was carried over to the road. Set him down and cut it in to 2 pieces, front half and back half. Here we are setting him down on the road:
and me beginning to cut in half:
The front half went in my truck, and the back half in the pards. We were back at the Silver Fox before noon. Took a nap, packed up, checked out and on our way to Fbks. The folks at Silver Fox are great. Great place to stay, very economical, and often have recent bison info.
By 9 pm Sat. nite the skinning was done, the animal cut in to more manageable pieces, and it was time to try a steak. We had access to a buddies shop with a winch for the skinning and quartering.
I want to Thank all the folks who helped with info and other stuff on this hunt. It is an interesting hunt. More like hunting in the lower 48 with all the private land. Didn't put in for it last Dec. Maybe this coming Dec. I will. Should be easier now that we have done it once!!!