First I would like to say thank you to my incredible wife for another exciting hunt, Ron at Benchmark barrels for an extremely fine product and to Jim See for the muscle brake that allows my little 5'2" wife to shoot a 338WSM in a handgun.
The day dawned clear 30 degrees and windy. We drove with a friend out to a place called Kalsin Bay and offloaded the three 4-wheelers. SOme 12 miles of medium grade four wheeling brought us out to a Bay known as Ugak Bay. As we are sitting at 500 feet above sea level our binoculars revealed some 25 head of Buffalo down near the beach 2 miles ahead. Then, a half mile to the right we see gigantis. Further watching and he has 4 brothers. A band of 5 bulls hanging out not far from the herd of cows and calves. I have to say here that these animals have never been fenced period. These particuler animals had left the ranch some ten miles west more than ten years ago.
Now the excitment is on. We are cruising as fast as my little wife can handler her borrowed four-wheeler. Down off the pass and into the timber to where we had last seen the band of bulls.. Wouldn't you know it, they did not stay put for an easy hunt. My friend Eric stayed up and a small knob while Lisa and I try and see if we can locate the bulls. All over those flats we went and could not find them. Then an engine starts and the next thing I see is Eric motioning for me to follow. I move to where I can see where he is pointing and the bulls had moved up to elevation and were climbing while they fed. Lisa and I ran over to our 4-wheelers to take our gear to a closer location. IN her haste to get her machine going to get on the bulls she jammed the tranny so hopped on with me and away we go back across the valley.
As we plan our direction of attack, now that the bulls are a quarter of a mile ahead of us and moving away. I can't help wishing there was some way to get this done easily. That and I am looking at if there is a way to get the 4-wheelers up there 500 vertical feet above our position. Well the stalk is on. We head out in a 30 degree angle away from the bulls and start our climb on the back side of a bluff from where we last saw the bulls. Huff and puffing we top out and sneak around the corner in the scattered cottonwoods. There is Mr Big and a buddy standing side by side moving away from our position and still climbing. SO we climbed diagonal slightly to their left again and began the climb to top out at another knoll and should take us to within a hundred yards. SInce Lisa had just drove a miserable two hours controlling a 600 pound motor bike and now 700 yards of walking up an Alaskan style hill,l I wanted all the odds in our (her) favor. I stop just short of cresting and spent ten minutes letting Lisa cool down and get ready for the shot.
Lisa gets her 338WSM ready and today I wanted to see just how tough the 338 180 grain Accubonds really are. It has been my plan for a very long time to have her put a pill between the eyes. A buffalo bull has an incredible bridge work forehead and no better way to test our standard hunting load/bear protection load than on a very large Bison bull. SO up and over the crest and dang, they had turned around and I was instantly spotted by a lessor bull. I noted the big boy (actually two) feeding towards us at 50 yards away and they had not seen us. SO we creep into postion and drop the hammer at 50 yards. Bang flop and its over! I forgot to mention that Lisa had her video camera in her pack and left it on her 4-wheeler in her haste.
I now head down the hill picking a trail for the 4-wheelers and back up the hill with Eric and two machines. We took some still shots and decided to gut the animal prior to pulling it back down to the valley floor. ERic had the bigger machine so hooked up with the 700 Yamaha 4X4 and spun all four tires trying to pull the cleaned animal down hill. I then hooked up to Eric and between the two of us we were barely able to get him moving. We towed it to the valley floor and prepped the animal for the 14 mile trip of horror back to the truck.
Now understand this is so far from a canned hunt and though my grammer is pretty poor do to extreme fatigue I went to bed at something like 1:30 this morning. Like 20 hours after I got up the previous morning. My wife, bless her tired aching body was up at 6 a.m. this morning so we could bring the 4-wheeler with the last 200 pounds of meat back home. Yes this is serious brown bear country so we were packing both 338's as I really expected to shoot a bear. We had left the meat firmly lashed to the bike so he would have to haul bike and all away. The thinking was that he would just camp and eat right there. I have a bear tag so collecting a nice brown bear on the trail next to the 4-wheeler was surely a positive thing. Alas no bear and no problems so we changed the tire and headed out. In the meantime Eric and his son and a bunch of buddies comunicated and they all rode in with us this morning to get their own buffalo. SO Lisa and I headed back to the truck while the rest headed in for their own adventure. Two miles towards the truck the same tire went flat again. Just when we entered the bad part of the trail. SO this time I repositioned everything on my 4-wheeler. Loaded the 200 pounds of brisket on the back and left the bike for the others as we had to get back to work. It was a very extreme drive out like the night before, except this time it was daylight and clear with very little wind. Lisa was given the opportunity to drive but declined do to arm fatigue.
No guys the picture is not staged. Lisa is actually skinning out this animal While Eric and I are sitting off to the side sipping hot chocolate! Yea right!
We built a cooler in my friends shop a long time ago. 900 pounds on the bone in the cooler.