American Bison Hunt: A hunt to remember (story with pics)
You know, before I go into the hunt, I would like to share with you a few things that has crossed my mind here lately. For some reason, as I get older my own mortality comes to mind. In the beginning, I would think of being put in this pine box and laid down in this deep dark hole and the sound of dirt being thrown on me. ( that always scared me the most, being in the dark alone forever)
Then , one day it came to me. That I would not be down in that hole, that I would be in spirit with all the memories of my life. Some say that when you pass on, that your life flashes before your eyes . Kinda like a snap shot of things that have happened to you throughout your life and maybe, those are the memories that you take with you ( hey, who knows) .
Well, a few of the memories that I would love to take with me would be( just a few) watching my little girl open her eyes to the world for the first time and smile. Next, watching and hearing my best friend tell me that he loved me said “ good bye my friend” as he takes his last breath.
Another one would be talking to Dennis Quackenbush at the airgun show in Virginia when he told me “I build my guns for people to shoot, To go hunting with and just have fun and who knows, hopefully make a few good memories, so Stephan, get out there and make a few”.
For Dennis, saying that, was not a big event . In fact, right after that someone else got his ear and he was off doing whatever a master airgun maker does at an airgun show .But it hit me like a lightning bolt! I said to myself “ Just what if I can make so many good memories (big and small) that whenever I leave this earth I’m bound to take a few good ones with me”.
And that’s how it started. On Eric Henderson’s table was one of the tools I needed to make a huge memory .(but as you know, sometimes memories don’t come cheap) I had to dig deep down in the pocket to get this gun ( the Quackenbush / Big Bore Bob 457 Safari gun) I’m talking all the way down to the lint of the pocket. Like Dennis said “ It’s not the gun. It’s what you do with it that counts”. This gun has already made a few memories for Eric, and I wanted it to make a few for me too.
Ok, Ok, enough about that. Time to get out of my head and get on with the task at hand, telling you guys what happen in the big state of TEXAS!.
I knew it was going to be a fun time when Eric Henderson picked me up from the airport. He told me to open the back door of the ( BIG BORE AIRGUN ADVENTURE) truck and for some reason I didn’t hear him. I was doing something to my gun case or something and didn’t hear him . He came around and opened the door and all of the bullets came out all over the ground. ( people were looking at us like we were crazy) As we picked up the bullets, I said “ I’m glad I didn’t open the door, you would have talked about me all the way to the ranch.
After picking up all the ammo, we got in the truck and headed down to the ranch. It took about 6 hours but we had fun the whole way . 90% of the time , we talked about ( what else) airguns and the hunts we done. By nightfall, we had made it to Kerrville and right out side of the hotel about 50 to 70 yards from our room door were about 20 deer (white tails) were running around eating and having a good ole time. We watched them for about 15 mins (Eric took a few camera shots and then we called it a night)
The next morning, we went and got my 5 day hunting license from Walmart, and off we went to the ranch ( about 20 miles away) The ranch was really nice with about a half a mile long winding gravel road that lead up to this big white house and one other smaller house. Our guide Walt was there waiting for us. As soon as we pulled up he came over and said “Welcome to the ranch” and shook our hands and said you can change in there (pointing to the smaller house ) the house was nice inside . We changed and got in the white truck and we were off to hunt Buffalo.
Man, at this point I was so nervous. There was a lot of brush and small trees. We went right through the brush and over hills and rocks .We did this for about and hour. Then all of a sudden the truck stopped. The guide (Walt) got out of the truck and said “ I thought I saw your buffalo in here (pointing to a clump of trees and brush) I said to myself “ There’s no way he’s in there. Then all of a sudden Walt came running back to the truck and closed the door and started looking over to the right and I kinda followed his eyes and about 10 seconds later I saw this giant buffalo come out of no where. ( have you ever seen that cartoon where the hunter points his gun at the really big elephant and all of a sudden his gun goes limp? That’s how I felt at that moment) after getting over the shock of how big he was I couldn’t get over how quite he was walking along and him taking off with his buddy ( another big buffalo) .
By now, my heart was beating out of my chest and to be honest I wanted to back out of the deal saying to myself “There is no way the this slug (looking at the slug) is going to take down the beast I just seen”. I looked up, and Eric was looking at me and said “ Are you ok?” sensing what I was thinking, he said “You can do this” Then Walt said “ You better be on target with your shots or run faster than me or Eric” we all kinda laughed to shake off being so nervous. I took a few deep breaths, put a 510 grain slug in the 457 and said “let’s go hunting”.
All of my senses were on overdrive. I heard everything (clear too) I saw everything the same way. I think the buffalo knew they were being hunted because they were out of site a few times (and that really made me nervous because I thought they may lay in ambush in the tall brush. A few times I got within range but each time I didn’t have a clear shot. We must have hunted him for about an hour even one time having him in me cross hairs but, there were trees in the way and when I tried to move to get a better shot they would thunder off.
After playing this cat and mouse game a few times . The buffalo came to this small clearing. Walt said “ Ok Stephan, here’s your chance, now put a bullet right where I told you” Eric said “Remember in the crease, if you find yourself shaking, stop and count to 10 and start over he’s 53 yards out now, put a slug in him and make history”.
I looked back at the buffalo and for some reason I was calm I had tunnel vision but that was it. I leaned next to this tree, made sure that the bolt was down ,pulled back and cocked the rifle, I brought the rifle to my shoulder and put the cross hairs right in it’s shoulder, right by the crease and pulled the trigger…BOOM!! The buffalo jumped a little and then moved to the side. Walt and Eric at the same time said “hit him again!” with that, I loaded another slug , cocked the rifle and put him in my cross hairs. He’s now quartering away from me so I put the cross hairs right in the crease and pulled the trigger.. BOOM! ( with each shot , you could hear the bullet hit and hit hard) with that shot, he jumped up and went down on that right leg. Then he stood up and became stiff legged.
Walt and Eric said “ Nice shot, both of those were right on top of each other” . We kept looking at the buffalo and Walt said “This is normal, A lot of times I have had them stand like that for 20-30 mins before they go down” After about 15min the buffalo fell.
I didn’t know how big he was until I got up there on him. After all the high fives and hand shakes. I thought back and smiled to myself hoping that this will be one of the memories that I take with me when I leave this earth.
Until next time, keep your tank filled and a pellet loaded!