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The Thrill of the Hunt

November 2023
Story by Ron Frey
State: Utah
Species: Bison

Seventy-seven years and the passion is still there. I received a once-in-a-lifetime bison hunt. A little background. I have been 50 years in building custom firearms. I’m an old guy, a dad, grandad, and great grandad. I was born in 1945, and since I was 7 years old with my Daisy Red Rider BB rifle, I went with my uncle in the early 1950s for a month to the Nevada goldfield area and his old hunting cabin. I wandered the hills by myself, and I’ve never looked back. With the help of my great wife, Katie, we have been hunters extraordinaire, plus we go camping, fishing, and enjoy the great outdoors for over six months a year.

I’ve enjoyed firearms since those early days and turned my love into a small business – Frey’s Gun Shop since 1970. I build custom firearms, repair, and sell. Life has been good to us. 2022 was a blessed year with the once-in-a-lifetime bison hunt for a bull or cow in the Book Cliffs unit in mid-September. I called Huntin’ Fool as I needed help with this great chance, and they recommended J.T. of All Outdoor Outfitters in Colorado. They are a first-class group and were so helpful. They told me the best hunt would be to ride into his wilderness camp nine miles in. It’s such beautiful country with plenty of bison.

We camped over 1,000 feet above the canyon and bison. Opening morning started with a steep, steep ride where we dropped into the basin. We tracked an outstanding bull, following him to his honey hole. With J.T.’s help and a two and a half hour wait, he finally pushed that beautiful bull out of the canyon at a full gallop. I was ready with my 1876 Sharps rifle 45/70, just like they used to use back in 1870-76 when they killed over 20,000,000 bison, and took him down.

I have read and studied American history most of my life, from Lewis and Clark’s great two-year camping exploration, to the Mountain Man era, to the bison era and market hunting. America truly is the greatest country on Earth with all of our open land, BLM, forestry, and national parks available for use.

J.T. Outfitters did an outstanding job of preparing the meat and hide and packing out over 600 pounds of meat on the mules and horses. It was an eight-mile hike out for this old guy; I was so tired but extremely happy and grateful to be so lucky. By the way, the bison meat is absolutely delicious, A+.

The rest of the year was great with a wonderful 4x4 deer in Wyoming, an elk in Wyoming, a wild boar in Texas, and great fishing and camping in Dubois, Wyoming (our second home). Thanks to Katie, my family, some wonderful friends, the outfitters, and the people at Huntin’ Fool for their help and support over 20 years. Huntin’ Fool has been the best for hunting and related products, recommendations, and information. As they say, “Apply, Apply, Apply!” for the chances to win a great area and great hunt.