Hunters armed with sticks and stones no longer cut ponies into violent herds.
These days they travel thousands of miles to spend thousands of dollars to shoot bison from trucks with handguns.
At least that was the case at the ranch on Friday morning when Sacramento resident Dave Weber arrived to collect his trophy mount.
Weber and guide Charlie Morris rolled slowly across a large pasture littered with frozen bison dung. They culled the marked animal from the herd. A shot rang out from the scoped .44 and struck the bull behind the ear, dropping it instantly. Weber marveled at the beast, soaked in steaming blood, as he waited for it to stop kicking. Eventually it did, and was propped up for photos.
“Don’t get the power lines or cars in the background,” Weber said, posing proudly with his kill.
The herd grazed on 200 feet away, seemingly unaffected by their fallen brethren.
Hair gelled and hands free of blood, Weber stood by as the bison was hoisted by a tractor for gutting.
Weber won’t be taking the meat back to Sacramento; it’ll stay in Montana with friends. He’s come for the head to mount in a restaurant.
“I just want to put the head on the board so that people who have never seen a buffalo can see its color and size. They have no concept in Sacramento,” Weber said.
Weber plans to build a full exhibit around the mount. There will be photos of the bison before and after the shooting to complement the head. Weber says he might even incorporate fence posts and arrowheads into the work.
“People back in Sacramento see a zoo buffalo, and they’re all scrawny. I want them to see the real thing, because who knows how long they’ll be around,” Weber said.
The 6C Ranch has offered the hunt since May, and over 300 bison have been thus harvested so far. A bison shot in pasture costs $2,000; to shoot it on a hillside costs $3,500.