2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

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2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by spqr476 »

I had a unique opportunity earlier this year, and just haven’t come around to posting It. My Latest Shiloh, a Montana Rough Rider .45-70, 7deg lead, pack hardened, semi fancy AA showed up last week, and reminded me that I was remiss.

I had the opportunity to hunt a 50,000 acre west Texas ranch that has a population of about 140 Bison. There are no fences, and the animals are free to roam over the acreage—or leave if they wish. I talked with the owner about cartridge sharps rifles, ammunition, and the bison hunting period in Texas, for a good period of time the first night after we arrived. There was an 11+ year old bull that had become ornery, and if I had a chance at him, I was told to take it, owing to our conversation.

We spent most of the morning looking for the herds, and we spotted the bull herd close to noon. The cows, calves, and juveniles were fairly skittish, but the mature bull herd was just 6 enormous animals that did not fear man nor beast.

It honestly was a somewhat disappointing stalk, as while the cows and juveniles would run at anything closer than a few hundred yards, the big bulls were more apt to challenge the puny trespassers. I was able to close to 75yards through the scrub relatively easily, although at that point I had a few bulls stomping the ground. In the middle of the pack was the big guy. At this distance, the enormous size of this animal was hard to comprehend, and a few of them started pawing the ground with thunderous stomps.

I was carrying my Shiloh #3 sporter in .45, 2-7/8”, with a 528gr paper patched 30:1 bullet over 105gr of goex 1F, with a 3/16 grease cookie of my own concoction sandwiched between .060” card wads.

I took aim at where I estimated the top of the heart/bottom of the lungs to be, referencing the naked patch of hide behind his front shoulder and touched off my shot when I had an opportunity to thread the needle through the herd. The bull jumped and started a slow circle. I went to half cock, slammed open the action, and threw another round in, but by the time I closed the action, he had spun around far enough for the near side to come ‘round again, and blood was spewing out of his chest like it was a garden hose on full blast, so I just waited. He took a few more steps, staggered, and was down, less than 30 seconds from the first, and only, shot. The guide admitted he had never seen one fall so quickly, especially with one shot, but no one had used a sharps before.

After he fell, the rest of the herd tried to attack his carcass. We actually had some tense moments trying to keep my trophy from getting trampled, but eventually, after a few partial charges, the rest of the (very big) bulls left.

Once we were in the clear, the guide went back to the ranch house for a backhoe, as even four of us could not budge this enormous animal. We tried dressing it out while we waited, but we made little progress. The comical scale of this beast made even removing organs difficult.

After the heavy equipment arrived, some
2 hours later ( we were pretty far out in the ranch), we recovered the beast and got an idea of bullet performance. The bullet broke a rib on the way in, took out the bottom of the lungs and the vessels on top of the heart it n the way through, broke a rib on the way out, and was just baaaarrreeely captured by the hide on the off side.

The 30:1 bullet was a little soft for this impact velocity, and had expanded to around .7”, which, not surprisingly, limited penetration a bit through this nearly 4’ wide chest cavity with THICK hide on either side. It definitely did the job, though, and the ground was covered in gallons of blood.

This guy was definitely past his prime, but I’m having a shoulder mount done with broken right horn and all, and I’m getting the skull euro’d, and will have fake horns put on the skull to represent his former glory.

In the future, I’ll probably cast 16:1 if I have another bison opportunity, although 30:1 probably would have been just fine at .45-70 velocities.

This is a big check mark on the bucket list, and one I won’t forget for a long time.

Thanks, redneck, for all the advice and mentoring. Worked like a champ.


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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by Gussy »

Very nice! That's a big critter!!😃
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by GrumpyBear »

Congratulations on your successful hunt, That is indeed a very big one.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by pacecars »

Very nice!
Real gun powder is black.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by John Boy »

Mother McCrew, he is a monster... Congratulations
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by BFD »

That is a serious amount of chewing right there. He is a bigg'un.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by rdnck »

A 45-110 and 105 grains of 1f pushing a 528 grain paper patched bullet will handle anything on the planet. Good choice of rifle and caliber, and Good Job! Shoot straight, rdnck.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by sandhillcowboy1 »

Good job, nice bull!
I agree with what Rdnk just said as well.

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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by Glen Ring »

Very Cool !!
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by Griff »

Thanks for the story and the photos! Most of us won't get the chance to experience that, so it's good to have some vicarious excitement.

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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by pete »

That's a nice big bull congrats. Something that is strange is on one hand you talk how good the load worked and on the other you want to change it up. A bullet doesn't have to go all the way through to be effective, that is obvious.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by bobw »

Nice bull, the shot placement as good as it gets, your alloy is fine too. you got full penetration with expansion to help with tissue damage.caught the bullet on the far side. Harder alloy might have exited but would have caused less tissue damage and been less lethal. Don't mess with what isn't broke. Bobw
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by Dan O »

Wow nice Bull!
I agree with the others there is no good reason to change your load. It flat worked the way it's supposed to. If you had shot him at say 125 yards there would be less velocity and possibly less expansion thus more penetration resulting in an exit hole. Or if you had missed one of the ribs then it would have probably exited. So many possibility's but the fact is this load worked as needed. If it's not broke don't try to fix it.
Congrats on a very nice Bull!!!
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by 1minute »

What might the grocery plans be for this beast? Curious as to how he will eat.
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Re: 2000+lb Boss of the Herd Bison

Post by Distant Thunder »

Great story! Memories are the most valuable things we make in our lives, you have a special one in this hunt. Thank you for sharing it with us all.
Jim Kluskens
aka Distant Thunder
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