Wood bison are big-boned, heavily muscled animals that are able to run away and disappear
after being hit well with a high quality bullet.
The weight of one bull that was broken down and weighed in pieces is 2,300 pounds. This makes bison much larger than Yukon moose, so the logistics of hunting, field dressing, and transporting them require more preparation. Snow is usually present during the hunting season, so the use of snowmobiles makes transporting up to 1,500 pounds of meat, bone, and hide a little easier.
For bison hunting, snowmobiles need to be running well and carrying spare plugs, belts – and extra gas is essential. On a successful hunt, skimmers need to carry loads up to 500 pounds over rough terrain, so hitches and connections must be in good shape. Firearms need to cleaned of all oil or grease-based lubricants to prevent a total lock-up due to freezing.
Hunting regulations set minimum standards for bison hunting firearms. These minimums are .30 calibre, 180-grain bullet, and 2,800 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Muzzle-loaders are allowed with separate standards, and archery equipment is prohibited.
A good choice of cartridge, which slightly exceeds the minimum standard, is the very common 30.06 Springfield. This cartridge is factory loaded in 180, 200 and 220 grains in various bullet types.
The hunter who reloads ammunition has even more choice of bullet weight and types, which will depend on what your rifle shoots best.
No matter what cartridge you choose, premium ammunition – at increased cost – should always be used when hunting bison.
The .30 calibre and larger magnums (.325, .338, .350, .375, etc.) are all good choices if you can shoot them well, but with higher energy comes heavier recoil. This heavier recoil can often result in the shooter developing a “flinch” brought on by the anticipation of the blow to the shoulder. The shooter usually does not know about the flinch, but the eye-closing or immediate body tension causes the gun to move away from the point of aim and results in either a preferable clean-miss or a wounding, which allows the animal a chance to get away.
There are other non-magnum choices in this calibre range that usually have less recoil. These include 8mm, 9mm, .358 Winchester, and .35 Whelen. Ammunition is always more available for the more commonly used cartridges.
Optics, including binoculars, rifle and spotting scopes, cameras, range-finders, eye-glasses, and the metal parts of your firearm all can have problems with rapid temperature changes, especially going from the cold outside into a warm building, tent, or vehicle. Condensation forms immediately on the outside of your optics and gunmetal and will freeze solid if you go back into the cold before the item is completely dry.
The presence of condensation on your firearm can lead to rust. If you can’t leave these items in a cold environment, such as locked in the truck, seal them in a case before entering the warmth so they warm up gradually minimizing the chance of condensation.
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