Date: 10/25/2018

Weapon: 300 Winchester Magnum
Distance: 125 Yards
Ammo: Nosler Trophy Grade 180gr. Accubond
Outfitter/Guide: Custer State Park Authorities
Score/Size: Not scored

Buffalo Hunting

South Dakota Buffalo


Hunting a bison in South Dakota was a dream of mine since I was a little kid and saw Dances With Wolves in the theatre. There is no better example of America’s Past Time as buffalo hunting. One stipulation for me was that I wanted to hunt a wild herd or one that officially was recognized by SCI and Boone & Crockett. This leaves a hunter with very few options. A few years ago, I decided to start applying for Wyoming, Utah, and South Dakota. South Dakota’s Custer State Park offers a trophy hunt for 10+ year old bulls and a non-trophy hunt for 2-year old bulls and they are recognized by SCI and B&C!. The cool thing about SD is that after accruing 2 points, all applicants are on the same playing field. Going into my 3rd year I was hopeful that I could pull this tag, even though the odds were still not in my favor. Then one day I get an email saying I drew the non-trophy tag! I was so excited and had a quick trip to plan in 6 short weeks. The hunt is pretty easy. It’s one day and you would be accompanied in the field by the Bison Herd Manager and a park ranger. Being it was easy, I decided to turn this into a family vacation and the 4 of us packed up and left for the Black Hills.

Hunt day came the day after we arrived. I was to meet with the herd manager Chad Kremer by 1 p.m. and we would set out to find a bull. Since this was a short hunt and done in a truck, I brought my seven-year old son along which was his first time going into the field with me. It wasn’t long before we located the herd and Chad got us into position. There were multiple bulls and cows in this group with one staying separated from the rest. From about 125 yards away, I dropped to my belly and lined him up. Chad wanted me to aim right where the thick mane met the thin fur just behind the shoulder. I set my mark and squeezed, connecting in the lungs. The bull staggered around and fell shortly after. The other bulls in the group decided to take advantage of his weakened state and started goring him which prompted Chad to drive up closer and scare them away. My son was so excited when we walked up on the bull and he got to touch him for the first time. It was definitely a special father & son moment. After our photos, Chad gutted the bull, teaching my son about the different organs and how they work. They then shackled the bull and hoisted it up into his flatbed and he would drive it back to my truck. The bull was then loaded into the bed of my Toyota Tacoma (yes, it fit!) and we would have to drive 40 miles to the town of Hot Springs to the meat cutter. I don’t think I ever have driven that cautious in my life! We couldn’t close the gate and I was so scared I would hit a bump and spill him into the middle of the highway. Thankfully we made it safely. Black Hills Meats took it in for the rush job and also skinned him so I could do a rug and euro mount.

Over the next few days we met up with a local taxidermist and saw a lot of the sites in the area. We took in Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park and climbed Black Elk Peak, the highest point in SD. Three days later the meat was cut, wrapped, and frozen for the long drive home. Over 300 pounds of lean grass fed bison! This was a fun family trip and the Black Hills did not disappoint.

If you have any questions about this hunt and what to expect from the draw all the way to the end, please feel free to drop me a line. If you want a legit chance to hunt a bison that qualifies for the books, this is the best chance to beat the odds! This is my 7th animal towards the Super 10/Super Slam!