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August 2021
Story by Jim Fitzgerald
State: South Dakota
Species: Bison

I was drawn for South Dakota’s Custer State Park non-trophy bison hunt and hunted with the mandatory bison herd manager/guide Chad Kremer. The great fall weather lent itself to a nice, comfortable hunt. The terrain was not too difficult, but the archery hunt added its own touch of challenges. Chad knows the habits of these animals intimately and was a great asset to have along. This being the non-trophy hunt, he took the time to describe and point out several animals that met his target objective and then let me at it.

The Park does not close for these hunts, so visitors were present, although there were only a few at that time of year. This added a little distraction for me, but I was able work around it as the animals were on the move. There were three bulls in a group that Chad pointed out, and all were candidates. The first stalk was blown when the wind switched directions on me and sent them running. I watched them enter a coulee and slow down once they felt safe. I then hustled around them about half a mile and waited in some trees where the coulee opened up into a creek bottom. It wasn’t long before they came down the game trail and hit an opening at 40 yards. I hit the 2 1/2-year-old bull, and he gave a kick, trotted about 60 yards, and toppled over. The other bulls couldn’t figure what was going on and gathered around their fallen brother, but the smell of blood soon made them nervous and they took off.

Chad was a big help getting the bull gutted and loaded into my pickup. While doing this, a couple visitors walked down to us to check out the action. Chad was very good at explaining the management objectives of the Park, and even though the people weren’t hunters, they came away with a positive reaction to us harvesting and utilizing the natural resource. Also, that young bull tasted wonderful!

Bison in South Dakota