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.