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Thread: Farewell Bison

  1. #1
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    Default Farewell Bison

    Anyone on this board going hunting on the 1st. of March? I think I am going to wait for it to warm up a little.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    How are you going about this hunt? I did it back in 2002 in late March (sometime after the 20th) and the temps were pretty nice - mid-20s, if I remember right.

    -Brian

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Here's the result of my '02 hunt.


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    Default nice photo

    great photo, wish I could be so lucky to get a bison permit.

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    Nice bison there. Thanks for the picture. I have a party permit and my buddy has a supercub on skiis. I am going to drive to Willow with all our camp gear and fuel. He will meet me there with the plane and we are hiring Denali Air to fly our gear out plus haul the meat if we are lucky. We will have a wall tent and wood stove and a tent to spike out with with the plane. How did you do your hunt in 2002?

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a good plan there. When I got the permit, we started planning a snowmachine trip into the hunt area via the Iditarod trail. We'd hunt the other side of Rainy Pass and pull everything on heavy-duty sleds. The more we talked to people who had tried this, however, the more we realized that it wasn't the best idea. We heard story after story after story of gas-soaked gear, broken machines, wrecked machines, etc. etc. etc. At the end of the day, it came down to this one realization: this was more than likely a once-in-a-lifetime permit. Although I have never used a guide or outfitter before, nor will I likely ever again, I ended up hiring a man out of Nikolai by the name of John Runkle to take us out. I flew myself up to Nikolai and from there we snowmachined out to his camp in the middle of the bison area along the Iditarod trail. On Day #1 we found a group of about 20 animals, which according to him didn't have any bulls worth shooting. Heck, that right there was worth the cost, as I probably wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between an average or a large bull. Later that same day we found a cow and a calf accompanied by the bull that I took. A half-hour stalk and it was over. Almost too fast for my likings, but the guide had been trying to get someone on this bull all season, so I couldn't very well pass it up. All told, I did the hunt for under $3,000 dollars including my own aviation fuel and the cost of the guide. It was weird to hire a guide inside my own state, but for this tag it was worth it. That night over grilled bison tenderloins he told me many stories of bison hunters staggering into his camp with gasoline-soaked gear and hypothermic from the -30 temps. Funny to us at the time, but I'm sure those folks are bummed they missed a chance with this permit.

    Good luck to you. It sounds like you're setting yourself up for a good chance at success. Be on the lookout for wolves as well - there are lots of them out there.

    -Brian

  7. #7
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Nice Buffalo. WE the ABA were lucky this year and recieved a gov. tag for the Farwell bison
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  8. #8
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Good looking bull - you have every right to be proud. I did not hire a guide on my prob once in a life time draw and instead relied on locals' info - if I ever get drawn again I will hire a guide. Good decision on your part. Belated congradulations.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    shphtr - Did you get the Farewell tag, or Delta (or a different once in a lifetime tag)? If I drew Delta I would definitely do it on my own, as there isn't the risk of a massive breakdown like there is with being 200 miles from home on a snowmachine after crossing the Alaska Range. It was worth it for this hunt, though.

  10. #10
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_M View Post
    .....When I got the permit, we started planning a snowmachine trip into the hunt area via the Iditarod trail. We'd hunt the other side of Rainy Pass and pull everything on heavy-duty sleds. The more we talked to people who had tried this, however, the more we realized that it wasn't the best idea. We heard story after story after story of gas-soaked gear, broken machines, wrecked machines, etc. etc. etc. At the end of the day, it came down to this one realization: this was more than likely a once-in-a-lifetime permit. Although I have never used a guide or outfitter before, nor will I likely ever again, I ended up hiring a man out of Nikolai by the name of John Runkle to take us out. ......
    Excellent story, and you made a very wise decision. I know a guy who did it by snowmobile (and accompanied by several friends) who was successful, and they didn't have any of the scare stories, but I think they were rather lucky.

    Three thousand dollars was a bargain.

    I won a Farewell fall permit a number of years back. By the time I learned I got the permit it was in July, and the hunt was in early Sept. I simply didn't have time to plan, outfit, and logistically set up a DIY hunt, and the opportunity slipped by. I was foolish. I should have simply picked up the phone and called the guide.

  11. #11

    Default B M

    Beautiful Buffalo. Congrats!

    What caliber did you use on the big guy?

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    375 H/H Magnum - 1 shot & dropped in his tracks. I was actually surprised at how quickly he fell, but it made sense once we removed what was left of his heart.

    -Brian

  13. #13

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    Thanks. Great Buffalo!

  14. #14
    Member DrB's Avatar
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    Default Farewell Bison

    I haven't had the good fortune to draw a bison tag yet but have been up in Rohn a couple of times working the Iditarod. There was plenty of sign there . . one of my buddies slipped a souvenir in my gear . . . I found a pile of buffalo dung in my duffle when unpacking in Cripple. . .oh, and we have always managed to find bison on the trip to Mcgrath. . quite a nice time of year to be up there.

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