I watched as Gregg Abbas, from Away Outdoors, eased his way around the brush. It was hot, July in Texas does get that way, and although the stalk was not particularly tough, I was drenched in sweat. Through the brush I could barely see our intended prey, a full grown Bison Bull. But who was the prey and who was the hunter. This bull was huge! We estimated him to weigh 2000 pounds. Within bow range, this bull was no more than three strides for Gregg. With his cameraman and father, Fred, close behind Gregg stopped to come to a full draw.
We were here at the invitation of H.J. Ledbetter of Buffalo Mountain Hunts. H.J. had contacted bowhuntingINFO.com seeking a bowhunter that might be interested in taking out this bull. Buffalo Mountain Hunts maintains a buffalo herd of slightly under 100 head. This bull, they called Big Daddy, was their lead bull, but he had gone rouge. He was not staying with the herd, breaking down fences and straying where he shouldn't be. When we contacted Gregg Abbas with the proposal, he was all ready to go.
We scheduled the hunt for July 5th and 6th, with hopes to take the bull late in the evening of the first day. I arrived early in the day, and H.J., his ranch manager, Larry Pitcox, gave me the grand tour of the ranch. Buffalo Mountain Hunts offers trophy whitetail, turkey hunts and buffalo hunts with primitive weapons - bows, and black powder weapons. With over 4500 acres to hunt, there was plenty to see. We saw numerous deer, and turkey in our tour as well as got a look at their bison herd. After some considerable looking we were able to find Big Daddy, well over a mile from the rest of the herd.
Gregg and Fred were delayed coming out of Michigan due to mechanical problems with their plane. They would arrive late in the evening. There wouldn't be enough time to hunt that evening, but we were hoping to spot Big Daddy, and gauge the best place to start our hunt from the next day.
Even though we had spotted Big Daddy earlier in the day, he was not easy to find. Big Daddy was hiding in terrain that was covered with cedar, mesquite and scrub oak. Much of the terrain limited viewing to just a few yards. You don't want to walk up on 2000 pounds of Buffalo without knowing he is there. But just as the evening light was fading, Gregg and Buffalo Mountain Hunts Hunting Manager, Rick Worley, spotted him on one of the whitetail food plots. We would start our search for him there in the morning.
During the night, I was awakened by thunderstorms, but I didn't think much of it. But before we were up and about, H.J. called to postpone the hunt. It seems we had gotten over 12 inches of rain during the night, and our access to the ranch was cut with flood waters. What had been a simple one foot deep creek the night before was now a half mile wide river covering the road to the ranch.
A little after noon, the rains had ceased and the river had receded enough that we could get to the ranch. We determined that hunting Big Daddy would be risky at this point. We were concerned that if we did take him, we wouldn't be able to get any equipment in to help get him out. But we spent the balance of the day scouting for him without success. He was hiding well in the scrub.
Knowing this was going to be a spot and stalk hunt, we met at the Buffalo Mountain Ranch at eight in the morning. Rick, Gregg, Fred and I started our search for the rouge bull where we had seen him two nights ago. Rick lead us through the high ground hoping to catch a glimpse of the bull, but we saw neither hide nor sign of the monster.
Slowing easing our way down from the heights toward a shallow creek that seemed to be one of the bulls favorite haunts, we kept eyes and ears open. Stopping every few feet to glass, and listen we eased closer to an open meadow between the heights and the creek below.
After about two hours of cautious still hunting we were nearing the meadow, when Rick stopped. "There he is," he whispered. The bull was laying down on the edge of the meadow, just below us and to the right about 100 yards. His back was to us and the wind was right.
Rick and I dropped off, and Gregg and Fred eased forward toward the Bull, keeping a bunch of scrub brush between them and the bull. At about forty yards, Gregg began easing around the brush so as to get a shot. The Bull must have heard something. He got up. My heart was pounding, and I was afraid the bull could hear it from 100 yards away. I couldn't imagine how Greg and Fred were feeling. If this bull looked their way, and decided to charge, there was little they would be able to do.
Gregg and Fred stood absolutely still. The Bull was trying to catch a scent on the wind, but he kept looking downhill across the meadow and not at Greg. After what seemed like an hour, Gregg again began to ease around the brush. One step, two and then three. The Bull shifted his weight and turned slightly, just as Gregg came to full draw. Gregg's Alpine SS Stealth bow sent his Carbon Express arrow, tipped with a Muzzy broadhead, right through both lungs. The bull thundered, and I mean thundered across the meadow. Greg's shot placement was perfect, and the arrow was buried up to the fletching in the bull. We watched as the bull moved into the opposite edge of the meadow and laid down.
When the bull was through, we walked up on the monster with awe and wonder. This was Greg's biggest game, and it was certainly the biggest thing I had ever seen in the wild. The adrenaline was still pumping through me. He was enormous!
It took heavy equipment to get the animal out. Buffalo Mountain Ranch weighed the bull before the processing started, and the bull weighed an incredible 2060 pounds. It took two experienced people, 6 hours to clean, cape the bull out and get him into the cooler.
When I asked Greg about how he liked this hunt, he said, "I don't think I was ever as pumped before a shot as I was at this one. This was a great hunt." And it was a great shot, too, Greg. Congratulations!
If you would like more information about Buffalo Mountain Hunts and their hunting opportunities for Trophy Whitetails, Rio Grande Turkey or the magnificent North American Bison, visit their website, or call them at 303-617-8912. We will soon have a Featured Outfitter article on Buffalo Mountain Hunts, so watch for it.