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Buffalo Hunting

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The American Buffalo is different from a water buffalo or an African buffalo. It is also known as the American Bison. It was the main source of food for the Native Americans, before the occupation of American Territories by the White Europeans. Though buffalo hunting was the Natives’ sole way to survive, there was hardly any threat to the existence of American Buffalos, in general. However, the White settlers pursued buffalo hunting as a means to eliminate the food source of the Natives, as a strategy in the war against the Natives.

Buffalo hunting also became a necessity to safeguard the railroad works. Sometimes the herds taking shelter on rail tracks in winter could delay a train for days as well. As such, buffalo hunting also emerged as a major commercial activity providing employment to professional hunters, skinners, gun cleaners, charge reloaders, cooks, cowboys, herders or cattle-hands, blacksmiths, etc. As buffalo hunting became a thriving business, pursued zealously on government and commercial levels, buffalo population began to dwindle—leading to extinction. The government put certain restrictions on the hunting and encouraged breeding. However, in certain states, buffalo hunting is permissible under certain conditions.

American buffalo is a big, powerful animal found in large herds. It is generally 2 to 3 meters long, 2 meters tall, and weighs 900 to 2000 lbs. It has a huge head and forequarters. Its short and curved horns are its weapons besides its gigantic size and hoofs. Life expectancy of buffalos varies between 15 to 25 years—depending upon the stay—in the wild or in captivity. Though buffalos appear sluggish and lazy from their movements, they can be quite fast and agile when provoked and in attack. They can pick up speeds of up to 35-mph. They can knock a person dead with their might. In fact, records indicate that in Yellowstone National Park, 56 persons were injured or died, due to buffalo attacks between 1978 and 1992.    

Traditional hunting technique: The traditional Native American way to hunt buffalos was to chase them on horseback to the cliffs, exhausting them and causing them to fall. Many buffalos used to fall down in the following stampede. The use of modern firearms and hunting methods in a more planned manner by White Americans almost wiped out the buffalo population. The massive hunting was taken up with several motives. It was also encouraged for commercial objectives such as to provide safety for the railroad, and to wipe out the other grazing animals from the thriving ranching business.

Nowadays, buffalo hunting activities are available in certain states. The reason to promote buffalo hunting is to keep the buffalo population within the specified limit. Sometimes it is also seen as a means to eliminate the chances of spreading certain bovine diseases, from the buffalo population to other cattle. You can inquire about the buffalo hunting permits available in such states. Under certain conditions, buffalo hunting is legal in states such as Texas, Montana, Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico. Opportunities for wild buffalo hunting still exist in British Columbia by limited entry draws. Many safari farms provide buffalo hunting programs that include meals, boarding, complete guide services, the guaranteed hunting activity, and preparation of hide and head as souvenirs, as part of the package deal. 

What makes buffalo hunting a challenge and an adventure is the sheer size of this powerful animal, its quick and fast responses. The real danger that lurks in the hunt is in the powerful, killing impact of its knock, if it gets you. For younger bulls of age 2 to 4, generally .30 caliber or bigger rifle is needed. However, for the big buffalos of age 5 to 10 high powered rifles like a .300 weatherby or .300 ultra mag and bigger are required. These sturdy buffalos are extremely tough and sometimes outrun a horse. A wounded buffalo can be extremely dangerous. Due to the size, speed and unpredictable movements, sometimes multiple shots at different critical areas are required to anchor them. If bowhunting, make sure you have 65ft.lbs. of kinetic energy. Once you harvest a buffalo, be sure to try a great: Bison Meat Recipe.

The very enthusiasts of buffalo hunting were instrumental in initiating the movement to save this magnificent species from near extinction.

Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott

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