October/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - Bison once roamed the West in the tens of millions. After nearly going extinct, there are now a few select places across the entire continent where you can still hunt free-ranging bison. It’s truly a unique opportunity, and one I was glad to have been able to experience. However, my story is not your typical hunting story; it’s more of a "truck story” with a hunting trip in the middle.
After applying for the tag, I found out later I had drawn #45 on the bull bison list. I was excited, to say the least. Along with the bison tag, you are assigned a time period to hunt on the National Elk Refuge. My time period was mid October.
When the time came, I left a few days early, pulling our camper. My sons got off work on Friday and came over to meet me. In the meantime I was playing tourist, taking pictures and driving around Grand Teton National Park and the forest. I was seeing plenty of bison, but they all seemed to be staying in the park.
When my sons showed up is when the trip got interesting. We had to go into Jackson to pick up a few things, but when we headed back north, we had engine problems with my truck - a reoccurring problem since spring. We stopped at camp, picked up my son’s truck, and got mine into a shop, but the mechanics said they wouldn’t be able to look at it until Monday.
We had a couple hours of daylight left, so we thought we would scout. While we were out there, we ran into a Game and Fish officer. I asked if he knew of any good spots to check out and he told us of an area near the park boundary, but to make sure to use our maps, since we would be close to the edge of the park. We drove up there that evening and did some scouting, eventually locating three bulls inside the park.
We planned to be back in the morning at a spot overlooking a treed bowl where the bison liked to hide out in. We got there only to find another hunter who had the same idea.
Luckily, we saw two bulls higher up the mountain. The bulls were definitely on the forest side of the boundary, so we hiked up the hill to get a closer look. My oldest son, Rob, said they were only 75 yards away, but they were heading downhill toward the safety of the park.
For a full account of Bob's adventure, go to page 38 in the October/November 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.