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Hunting Game

Hunting Buffalo in America: USDA States Bison Healthy Alternative to Beef

Hunting Buffalo in America: USDA States Bison Healthy Alternative to Beef

In the mood for hunting buffalo in America? Here’s the scoop:

More than 30 million bison resided in North America during the 1500s, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Each buffalo could weigh up to 5,000 pounds, supplying the colonial Europeans with leather and food. Eventually, colonists began hunting big game for sport.

By the 1800s, the buffalo population plummeted to merely 100 due to mass slaughter. There are now nearly 200,000 bison on private farms and ranches after more than a century of conversation efforts, according to the most recent agriculture census conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2007. Most of these ranches and farms offer bison hunting experiences for all skill levels.

American bison k5680-1

Photo from Wikimedia Commons public domain

Buffalo Hunting Today

Some hunters enjoy adding a trophy to their collections while others hunt for the tender meat bison provide. With one large buffalo providing 600 pounds of meat or more, keeping the meat makes sense because the price of buffalo meat is on the rise. One eight- to 10-ounce filet mignon steak costs approximately $15. In addition, the USDA has gone on record stating that buffalo meat is healthier than beef.

Most states recommend or require that you take a hunter education course before going after bison. Some of these states include:

Montana

Hunting bison was illegal until 2005, when Senate Bill 91 offered each of the state’s eight Native American tribes two hunting licenses apiece. Today, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission issues a limited number of permits to hunters. Buffalo hunting season is from September through March. Private ranches like Bear Paw Outfitters base their rates on the size, age and sex of the bison.

Bearpaw Outfitters (Big Sky Trophy Outfitters) – Big Sky Trophy Outfitters in eastern Montana is a private ranch owned by Bearpaw Outfitters. This ranch has younger buffalo for hunters who hunt for meat and older buffalo for those who hunt for sport. Bearpaw Outfitters guarantees that you are happy with your bison. If, for whatever reason, you do not shoot a bison, you pay a reduced fee.

You can hunt using a pistol, archery, muzzleloader, modern or sharps rifles. The ranch is located about half an hour from Billings, Montana. To learn more, contact Tara or Dale at (509) 684-6294. There are several hunt locations available.

Texas

Texas allows bison hunting year-round. The state is requiring all hunters born on or after Sept. 2, 1971, who want to hunt unaccompanied take a hunters education course. Nine years old is the minimum age for certification.

Texas Hunt Lodge – Texas Hunt Lodge is located in Ingram, Texas. The lodge holds multiple bison world records for handgun, archery and crossbow. The lodge offers world record-class trophy buffalo hunts all year long. Hunters can choose to hunt using a rifle, bow, black powder or a handgun. They may choose to hunt safari style, using the spot and stalk method or from a blind.

The lodge accommodates hunters of every experience level, as well as those hunters with physical disabilities and/or in wheelchairs. Call (830) 367-7611 to book your hunt.

Utah

In Utah, a game ranger escorts hunters. The ranger helps hunters find and choose which buffalo to kill. Each year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources round up the bison on Antelope Island, examines and vaccinates each buffalo. The majority is set free but the state sells approximately 100 each year.

Broadmouth Canyon Ranch – Located in Eden, Utah, and owned by former Denver Bronco All-Pro, Rulon Jones, the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch consists of 30,000 acres. The ranch is located in the amazing Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains and only an hour from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

These 30,000 acres offer altitudes that range from approximately 5,000 to nearly 10,000 feet. Spike camp hunts are also available offering western wall tent accommodations. You can book your hunt by calling (208) 346-6648.

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About Eric Pickhartz

Eric Pickhartz is the Managing Editor at Wide Open Spaces, bringing a mix of outdoors enthusiasm and a journalism background to the site's content on a daily basis. His fishing experience began at a young age on Minnesota lakes, both frozen and thawed, and he has since used seasonal hunts and fishing trips as an excuse to become a better writer and editor. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, son and Chocolate Lab.
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