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Thread: Hunter Jade's Bison Hunt Adventure

  1. #1

    Default Hunter Jade's Bison Hunt Adventure

    Opening weekend has come and gone. My 10 year old daughter, Hunter, pulled a cow bison tag in Delta, and we were able to hunt opening weekend. My brother and I took our two younger daughters to Delta on Friday night and set up camp outside the Panoramic Fields. We got up at first light and drove the fields, seeing little sign, and no bison. We saw no shortage of moose though, I think our final count in the 2 days and change was around 35 moose. Right off the bat, we saw a large bull moose with 4-5 cows very close to the entrance of the Panoramics.


    We headed to the Gerstle Fields next and didn't see any sign there, so we decided to head up Cummings Road and check out some properties up there. Same situation, they hadn't seen any bison yet this year, so we went to plan D for the morning and went to our family friends property. He said they've had some bison back and forth, so we decided to move our camp to his place and hunt there for the rest of the weekend. They had a couple of horses, so the girls stayed there while my brother and I went to get the travel trailer.



    The girls were with the horses when they heard a loud gunshot from not too far away. Come to find out, some hunters within about a mile had shot a bull. There was another bull with him, and we ended up spotting him that night as we were slowly walking through the fields. Unfortunately this would be the only wild bison we would see this weekend, so a return trip will be in order.



    On Sunday the 2nd of October, we spent the day hunting our friends farm, and after seeing nothing but more moose, we headed back to several other fields coming up empty everywhere. That night we were hiking through a fire cut and spotted a young bull moose. There were some hay bales piled up, so the girls climbed up on them so I could play around with the bull and see if I could get him in closer. The girls started barking out bull grunts when I had him at 40 yards, at which time he lost interest and headed off. He was no doubt a confident bull, but I'm sure with his attitude he'll get humbled in the future.


    We stayed Sunday night and looked around early Monday morning, finding out a large herd was only a couple miles away after we had packed up and started back to Fairbanks. The grouse were plentiful, and we came home with 6, but could have easily brought home many more.

    I figured I'd start a thread devoted to Hunter's quest, and I'll keep updating it throughout the winter until we manage to get her a bison, or god forbid, the season ends and we eat tag soup. We may try to get back out there next weekend now that we have a better idea of where the bison are hanging out. Their patterns are changing due to quite a few properties putting up fences. We stopped in and talked with Fish and Game for a while on our way back up north. I believe they only have checked in two bison as of early Monday.

  2. #2

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    Congratulations to the both of you!!! I believe we may have talked to you (We were in a black F-250). We didn't see anything but found lots of sign on the last day, I believe if we had one more day we would have found them!

  3. #3
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    It sounds like everyone had fun. Hunting is not always about the harvest, but enjoying time with family and friends.
    Good luck and keep us posted!

  4. #4

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    We were in the same boat, if we just had one more day. I remember seeing you guys out there, we were in the blue raptor. I would have liked to spent the whole week out there, but the kid needed to get back to school. We made some good connections, so I think for our next trip we will make a lot more calls before heading down. Good luck to you guys starktank!

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    We didn't see any until last night but it was the right one. Harder hunt than I thought it would be. Best of luck folks!

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  7. #7

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    Awesome bull Nick!!!

  8. #8

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    Great bull Nick, congrats! Where did you get him at?

  9. #9
    Member Ira's Avatar
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    Nice!!! I'm heading up this weekend and hoping to be the first person in a wheelchair to tag a bison in AK. Only took me 32 years to draw this tag.
    21' Koffler skiff
    Chicken of the Ski
    AK4735AB
    MMSI# 338155006

  10. #10

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    Good luck Ira, we are going to make a run back down this weekend as well, just for Saturday and Sunday morning.

  11. #11
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Muche View Post
    Excellent...!!! Did he know you were there? What shot did you take? Yardage? One arrow? Would like to hear about it....

    Or maybe start a new thread as not to hijack this one, unless Jerod doesn't mind?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  12. #12
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    Great pictures. I was lucky enough to draw a male bison tag but cannot start until October 29th. I am out of Fairbanks and am hoping to hunt weekends until I have success as well. Will follow your story with interest.

  13. #13
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    I traveled 40 miles on ATV in all that area yesterday. The dynamics of herd movement have changed dramatically in the past 2 years as more farmers fence their fields. Even though the bison range fields have abundant forage, the bison remain to the North. But as the old song goes: "Buffalo Roam".

  14. #14

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    What a fantastic experience. I have been trying to draw that permit for 25 years with no success. I know others that have been submitting for over 40! I will try again this year, I'm but not holding my breath. This is my dream hunt!

  15. #15

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    We came close this weekend. My dad, Hunter and I headed down to Delta and arrived at the farm we were going to hunt at first light on Saturday. The bison had just been there, and there was lots of sign everywhere. Around 10am, we spotted a herd on the west end of the field. We got way out in front of them, and starting working the wind breaks to close the gap. Unfortunately the herd moved into the trees and disappeared on us. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking with friends and helping out a little with some cleanup they were doing. That night we drove the Gerstle field, then went to a property up Cummings Road. They just had some bison there too, but they had moved on to a farm that doesn't allow hunting.

    We headed back to the farm, and while driving out to a tree island, we spotted a herd moving out into the opening from the east. We backed up the truck, and drove about a mile back to the other end of the farm and started hiking to get in front of them with the wind in our favor. We worked up a line of trees about 3/4 of a mile and didn't quite get to the end before the bison started appearing. We were stuck with light fading and no way to move forward on them, so we waited and decided to see if we could capitalize on the opportunity.



    Eventually, we had a cow broadside at 171 yards. A bit further than I had hoped for, but I asked Hunter if she was comfortable and she thought she could make it happen, so I worked on getting her set up. My dad was behind me recording, and I was working with Hunter to set her up on the correct animal, and back her up on the shot if needed. Hunter seemed calm, yet nervous because she normally would line up and take the shot. She'd done this numerous times at the range, but couldn't quite get fully comfortable. I ended up handing the backup gun to my dad and told him to put the camcorder down so I could work with Hunter.




    She finally got lined up on a mature cow, and touched off a shot. The bison quickly huddled up, and eventually worked off back to the woods. Clean miss. Fault of mine, I shouldn't have had her take a longer shot than what we had practiced. I regret that decision and I'm happy it was a clean miss and not a bigger mistake. Hunter said the shooting sticks were too low after we watched the video. I told her she needs to tell me these things because that is an easy adjustment. We learned a lot, and we'll keep after it.



    Ira, it was great to meet you and good luck filling the tag. That sure was a nice bull you got close to, I'm sure you'll make it happen!

  16. #16

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    Thanks for the update Jerod!!

    Sometimes things don't always work as planned in the real world, and its a great lesson for your young hunter to learn from and adapt to for the next time. It is fantastic that you have her out there, and my fingers are crossed that you guys have a little better luck next time.

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    Glad you were able to see some! She will make it happen next time. Best of luck.

  18. #18
    Member Ira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post

    Ira, it was great to meet you and good luck filling the tag. That sure was a nice bull you got close to, I'm sure you'll make it happen!
    Great to meet you guys also Steve has a been a friend for 20 years. You should go back there again. I never got another shot at the big Tatonka, but I did get a nice 3-4yo bull that was hanging out with him. There is still a big group of 70-80 with that monster bull and a few yearling bulls and then TONS of cows and calves. then we saw 5 other groups of 10-12 cows and calves and another group of 15-20 young bulls. I was within 100m of cows at least a dozen times. but I put 4 days in out there an hour before daylight until sundown. Got mine just a few minutes before dark and then had it bagged up under lights by about midnight.

    Just tell Hunter that the bison is so big that a 200m shot still has a 12" kill zone on a cow. turn the power up on the scope and make it work. she doesn't need to know that it is farther. Self confidence is what she needs and if she is comfortable at 100-150m it will be just fine at longer unless it gets windy

    Good Luck
    21' Koffler skiff
    Chicken of the Ski
    AK4735AB
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  19. #19

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    Congrats Ira! I think the bison will be in and around that area until the wind changes. Unfortunately I'm wheels up to California and Washington for this coming weekend, so it will be 2-3 weeks before we can make it back down. I think that area will be our main focus when we do head back down. Our family has known Steve since the early 80's. It's a small world.

    Were they able to hoist the bison up for you with the farm equipment? Did you get him in the field where you had the side by side parked?

    We searched for 3-4 hours the morning after we talked to you. Never found a drop of blood, and we followed two fresh trails to through the woods and on some sand we would have definitely seen sign if the cow was hit. Hunter sure was bummed, but I'll tell her what you said, and I plan to get her to the range a couple more times just to take a couple shots here and there to stay familiar with the gun. She's getting some great experience at least. My first daughter shot a moose that just stood there and made it too easy. I think having to work harder for it makes you appreciate it even more, but she's gung ho about keeping after it.

    Toss up a picture if you get a chance! Congrats again!

  20. #20
    Member Ira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    Were they able to hoist the bison up for you with the farm equipment? Did you get him in the field where you had the side by side parked?

    ...............

    Toss up a picture if you get a chance! Congrats again!
    Posted! we got him in a empty field right across from where the hay was being baled and loaded. right in front of their dust wallows. saw them there every day. just need to be observant and have good optics to see 3/4mi plus... we could never get close enough event though we saw them in that field with the SxS every day. worst day was 3 groups of 30 seen. best day was over 200 in 3 hours of looking around. I don't stalk so well in a chair. but we were out there before sunrise till after sunset. that is when we could get close...
    21' Koffler skiff
    Chicken of the Ski
    AK4735AB
    MMSI# 338155006

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