After two unsuccessful bison hunts in British Columbia over 25 days — fighting snow storms, snow shoes, crunchy snow, -20 below temps, little sleep and closing down the season in late December 2012 — I finally got my opportunity for a third hunt in hopes to be successful. I was excited and ready.
Six weeks prior, my guide Corky Richardson was telling me it was best to cancel this trip. He had just finished guiding a rifle hunter and it had been really tough for them the last 2 weeks. They didn’t get a bull until the last day. Corky advised me to wait until winter that all the other hunters would be finished and no one else would be scouting or hunting. I was very disappointed but knew that I didn’t want to return a third time if the conditions were not good.
Three weeks pass and Corky calls again and he has spotted a big bull! He thinks I might have a chance, however tough, to get my bison. I got my rear in gear and worked every night and weekends getting ready.
What an “UNBELIEVEABLE, SPOT & STALK HUNT”! We started down the canyon, we made it up 4 different ridges but we couldn’t get ahead of the herd. On the fifth attempt we were finally ahead of them. The Bison were in heavy rut, I could hear the heavy GROWLS and GRUNTS! As I crawled and slid up on my knees, we saw a big bull in the timber straight ahead. I was prepared for him to step out for a shot at 45 yards, then two minutes later a monster bull appeared to my right in the heavy timber 28 yards away. As I drew my 80lb Hoyt, an Easton Injexion arrow tipped with my deadly Ramcats, my confidence level couldn’t be highher. I had to rotate on my knees to the right. A few cows SPOOKED and blew out of the thick timber. The massive bull jerked up his head getting ready to bolt. I had a two inch hole between two saplings, I focused intensely releasing the arrow and saw it bury behind his shoulder. The herd of 25 about ran over me. I was shocked and elated, my bull piled up 50 yards away. Corky had tears in his eyes. He was sure this was the new world record. Corky, who had hunted bison for 30 years had the current World Record, he immediately said I didn’t realize the trophy I had. (I reminded im that I had already been on two hunts, freezing my #@$#$@# for 25 days!)
The bull green scored is the No. 2 archery world record by eight inches. They had seen the bull only a couple of times since 2009, but could never find him to hunt him as he stayed elusive in the mountains and canyon.
Hunting public land on the Kaibab Forest on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon was beyond my expectations. The beauty and terrain was unimaginable.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department called me four days after I returned and gave me the details on the bison I harvested. After aging the jaw and teeth, my bull was estimated to be 22 years old. His skull was 2½ inches wider than the world record. The oldest bull they had ever aged before was 18 years of age. I finally had my free-range wild bison trophy.
I always say, that things happen for a reason and am thankful for my two other unsuccessful bison hunts, as I wouldn't have been here and had this opportunity on my 3rd bison hunt. Plus, I think of all the extra adventures and new friendship forged. Life is truly about making memories and the people we meet and the relationships we develop, not the animals we harvest.
I want to personally thank Corky and his dad, George. Words cannot describe the new wonderful friendship I developed and forged with the Richardson family, which meant far more to me then the bison. I would also like to thank their beautiful wives, Cindy and Louise, for their kindness, hospitality and great food.
Their wonderful families reminded me of my own: closeness, lots of love, God-fearing and conservative. Thanks for making me part of your family.