A man in Idaho got to go on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for a wild buffalo after getting drawn in rare lottery.
Many people rarely get to fulfill their dream of going on their ultimate hunting experience. Especially when the animal you want to go after is one of the hardest animals to get to hunt, the American buffalo. Rick Irvin of Eagle, Idaho got to do just that.
Buffalo once covered the land as far as you could see, but were vastly wiped out when the United States' population shifted westward. Since then buffalo can only be found in certain spots in the U.S. and even fewer places allow you to hunt them in the wild. Most are paid hunts on fenced buffalo farms.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to shoot a wild buffalo from a wild strain," Irvin told reporters.
Wyoming offers a limited lottery of 299 buffalo tags for the Jackson Hole area. With thousands of people entering, getting one of the tags is truly lucky. Irvin put his one chance down on a tag for a cow instead of a bull.
"I'm a meat hunter," Irvin said. "And the meat is as good as it gets."
He chose an experienced guide to aid him in his hunt. He knew the work it takes to get large game out of the field after a kill from hunting elk, and he had only one shot at correctly identifying the correct gender of buffalo.
"You don't backpack one of those things out,"said Irvin.
Lucky for him, Arctic weather had pushed the herd from the National Forest onto the National Elk Refuge where he was allowed to hunt. Irvin's guide informed him that it was the largest herd of buffalo they had seen in the last five years.
The first morning of their hunt was a clear, calm day hovering around 16 degrees. They rode on horseback to the black sea of buffalo, before striding into gun range. The herd bunched together as they nervously watched the hunters.
"I expected them to run at any minute," said Irvin. He then raised his .300 Winchester magnum and blasted two shots into one of the cows, dropping her.
Then the real work began as the horses drug the large cow back to their trucks. They raised her up on a massive tripod to gut her before transporting her to be quartered at a nearby meat processing plant. He then loaded the meat into his truck to be finished by his butcher in Boise, Idaho.
Irvin is respectively using the whole animal by having the hide tanned, bleaching the skull, and eating all 500 pounds of meat from the buffalo, including its heart and tongue.
I wish I could go back and relieve the whole thing over again.
He said after recapping on seeing thousands of elk, herds of mountain goats, and bald eagles roosting in trees while on his trip.