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Home Page Photo Categories 2009 Big Buck, Big Bull & Other Big Game Contests

"Henry Mountain's Trophy Buffalo"
Photo provided by: Ryan Bonnett

Ryan Bonnett writes, "This picture is of a bull buffalo I harvested on Saturday (11-21-09) during the once in a lifetime premium buffalo hunt on the Henry Mountains in southern Utah. Everyone we spoke to on our scouting trip the weekend before the hunt told us to stay low because the cold and snowy weather had pushed everything off the peaks that soar up to 11,500 feet. With that info., we made a game plan the day before the hunt to go to the lower elevations to find my bull. The only problem with this plas was that when we pulled into camp, I noticed some dark spots high on the peaks in the snow. I pulled out the spotting scope and sure enough there were about 35 head up with most hunts, we went with plan B. We hurried and jumped on the wheelers to see if we could get closer for a better look. When we got to the spot where we were going to look at the herd up high in the snow, we actually jumped another herd of about 15 and knew everything was lining up for a good hunt come morning. When we saw the group of 15 there was already another hunter with the same tag as me looking at them. We spoke with the other hunter and decided that since there were a few decent bulls in the group, we could both get one, so we would go after them in the morning together. The next morning we arrived at the place about 1 hour before light. We followed the plan and went to an open hill to spot where they had finally laid down for the night. We spotted them on a hillside about 500 yards away, but we couldn't see the whole group so we decided to go around the back of the mountain to sneak in for a closer look.
When we were about 25 yards from being able to see the herd, another hunter with our same tag came screaming around a corner just below where the herd was bedding down and sure enough he jumped the whole group, all we heard was the thundering sound of these beasts running into the deep canyons and into the thick cover. The hopes of taking a nice bull on opening morning were now gone, not to mention the fact that we only have had to drag the harvested animal less then 50 yards which is a big deal considering the mass of these animals.
Onto Plan C. We decided to go up after the group we had seen the night before, even though we couldn't see them now and had no idea where they had bed down for the night. We went to a high pass in the mountains called Bull Creek Pass and parked the wheelers, the elevation is over 10,000 feet there and it made for a heavy hike with so little oxygen. About a mile into the hike, I spotted a bull traveling outside any herd, my heart started to pump faster and harder as I had heard all summer long that the bulls traveling by themselves also know as rogue bulls were the cream of the crop and would surely be a nice trophy. He was a nice bull, but not as big as I had imagined a rogue bull to be. Then from behind a pine tree came another bull and this one was exactly what I expected a rogue to be. He was huge! I quickly told everyone in the group to lay down and I looked through my new Weaver rifle scope to get a good look at him. He was definitely a shooter! I asked my cousin who was right next to me and whose job it was to range the distances to get me the distance. I had my Weaver still on him and he was standing broadside exposing a perfect shot when my cousin said "it's 496 to the rocks just below him, but don't take a..." Boom! I took the shot there and watched as he ran over the other side of the ridge with the smaller bull. I was certain I had heard the smack of the Remington 300 Ultra Mag pushing a 200 grain bullet smack him, but as I spoke to the others in my group, they had heard nothing of the sort... did I miss? Did I shoot too early? We worked our way over slowly as we were now at over 10,500 feet and if you went too fast you were sure to get dizzy and feel like you were going to pass out. When we arrived to the spot where he was standing there was no blood and no indication I had hit him. I was still feeling pretty sure I had hit him and as I followed their escape over the ridge I looked down the other side and there he was, 50 yards from where he was standing when I took the shot, nose in the dirt, feet tangled in the fallen trees, and his tongue hanging out of his mouth... he was dead as a door nail! A perfect shot, 500 yards straight through the lower chamber of his heart! I had harvest the trophy of a lifetime! It took us all night and all day Sunday to haul him out and it was nowhere near the easy haul the one in the morning would have been but at the same time, the bulls in the morning group were nothing near what this bull was either. So to you my unidentified friend on the fourwheeler, I say thank you!"

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