Legendary Bison Hunting In America Made Easy

Bison hunting on your mind? And your friends and families are already calling it an outrageous idea? Fret not! We’ve got your back. From tracing the history of bison hunting to finding the best vortex rifle scopes, here’s what you need to hunt this legendary animal on American soil. Keep scrolling!

Bison Hunting – A Rich History That Owes It To American Natives 

Bison hunting in America gained ground during the late 18th century. To date, it manages to incite similar nostalgia- an undying spirit rooted in Native American culture, carried forward by early European settlers and commercial trappers.  

Back in the 1800s, the bison population in the US was estimated to be around 15 million! However, with time, the numbers diminished, chiefly due to unhealthy habitats and a lack of regulations for wildlife in America. Today, the United States has strict guidelines to protect bison herds, mostly found on private ranches where conservation measures include guided hunting. 

Take Utah, for instance, the most popular bison hunting spot in America. Reportedly, the state has two distinguishable bison herds that are maintained by private hunting ranches to regulate the population. And it makes sense as the bison is a special animal, nothing like other trophy kills-turkey, deer, or bull. 

An adult bison is alarmingly beautiful, which makes it challenging to hunt. A male bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand six feet tall. Females weigh 1000 pounds lighter and are four to five feet tall.

Weapon of Choice – What’s Legal For Bison Hunting?

Handguns, centerfire rifles, muzzle loads, and crossbows- there are many options for a weapon to hunt bison. But there’s a predefined set of criteria to fulfill. 

  • The rifle or handgun should fire a minimum 200-grain bullet. A good example is a .30-06 caliber rifle that you can pair with a Vortex rangefinder.
  • If you prefer a Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, it must be capable of firing a 400-grain bullet and 70 grains of black powder. For clarity, both a .45- 70 that’s loaded with 55 black powder grains and a .45-70 using a 330-grain bullet are illegal. However, a .45-70 shooting a 400-grain bullet and a .44-90 shooting a 550-grain are allowed.
  • Muzzleloaders must be a .54 caliber or bigger (minimum of .45 caliber) with 300 grains. Also, you need to use a smokeless powder rifle.
  • All forms of traditional bows (long, recurve, and compound) are allowed with a minimum peak draw weight of 50 pounds. The arrows must be 20 inches in length and tipped with fixed, unbarbed, or replaceable-blade-type broadheads. The total weight of broadheads and arrows should be at least 300 grains.
  • Crossbows must have a peak draw height and draw length of 100 lbs and 14 lbs, respectively. The bolt (minimum 16 inches) is to be tipped with either a fixed or retractable blade. 

FAQs: 

Q: Which States in the US Allow Bison Hunting?

A: Free-range bison hunting is limited to a few states in the US, like Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Alaska, and Arizona. However, you’ll still have to get special permits and tags to be included in a guided bison hunting group across private ranches.

Q: What Should A First-Timer Keep In Mind When Hunting Bisons ?

A: Bison hunting is always a tricky affair. However, guided hunting will definitely give you some leverage. For starters, it’s recommended to avoid taking long-range shots. Approach the animal from a close range and use a dependable weapon like a Sig Sauer red dot for accurate initial and follow-up shots. We also advise going for double-lung shots, where you aim a bit higher and behind the front elbow of a bison. Remember, shooting a bison at the neck or head isn’t going to do much damage, as they have thick skulls and relatively shorter and stronger necks. 

Q: What Kind of Gear Do I Need For Bison Hunting? 

A: In a typical guided bison hunt, the ranch arranging the shoot will provide you with all supporting gear. However, you are free to carry your preferred weapon and accessories. For example, if you like to carry vortex rifle scopes, inform the organizers beforehand to ensure they meet the prerequisites. After a successful hunt, the team responsible for organizing the hunt can also take care of packaging the meat, antlers, and cape. They can also freeze and process the meat just the way you like.

Q: When is the Bison Hunting Season in the USA? 

A:  The season for wild bison hunting in the US kicks off around October. However, in some regions, like Alaska, it starts in February. For guided bison hunting on private ranches, the hunting window is open all year. 

Q: Are Bisons and Buffalos Same?

A: Bull and bison are interchangeably used terms across America. But ask any seasoned hunter, and they will tell you these two are distinctly different animals. For instance, bison are native to Europe and North America and have larger humps and bigger heads compared to bulls. In contrast, bulls are predominantly seen in Africa and Asia. As a hunter, it makes sense to differentiate a bull from a bison, depending on the region you are in.