When I was in college, I was a student in a program; a field course. It was an experimental type of class designed to see how students learned the sciences in field situations in an effort to make teaching more productive. As this program evolved over the years, it changed. It eventually became a class emphasizing on teaching a new type of lifestyle. By teaching these students about sustainable land use, conservation ethics and urban development, we could in fact; produce workers educated enough to deal with our modern day dilemmas.
Over the course of time, the students now annually witness a bison slaughter and must take part in the harvest effort. I was fortunate enough to be able to kill this bison in 2010. It was a great experience for me, and I was able to accomplish my goal of making the situation as efficient and clean as possible.
Immediately when presented with the opportunity, I realized that if the killing of this animal was botched, and 30 liberal, un-educated and irresponsible young people were to see such a distasteful sight; then, in fact, we would just produce 30 anti-hunters.
I arrived in Camp Crook, South Dakota at a ranch owned by a man who I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to meet. His name was Mike Thiel. I did, however meet one of his ranch hands, Tyler. I spoke with Tyler about my goal of making the process as quick and quiet as possible, and he agreed to help me in the efficiency of the undertaking.
When I awoke in the morning to meet with the crew and the mob of students, I was greeted by an old friend who asked me if it would be all right if someone else took the shot. I agreed, as the whole operation was put together by them in the first place.
The man who was chosen to hunt down this buffalo chose to use a modern muzzle-loader. And by seeing this, decided to provide assistance with my rifle, nicknamed "Trouble" should he need it.
When we came upon the herd, they were already excited and in tight groups. Tyler, the ranch hand, pointed out the cow that we were meant to take. Finally, when it presented a shot, clean, broadside at 50 yards. POOF. A cloud of smoke filled our vision. When the gun smoke settled, the cow was unscathed. After repositioning, the cow offered a second attempt, broadside at 65 yards, and POOF! Nothing yet again. Now, after much elapsed time, a third opportunity presented itself. At this time, after following the cow with his weapon over some distance, his nerves got the better of him and he let down and asked me to kill the young cow. Torn between trying to help him succeed in his attempt, and fulfilling my own desire, we discussed the situation briefly. I fired one shot, a 100 gr Hornady interlok .243 in diameter landed squarely in the last vertebrae at the base of the skull. Her lights went out, and she collapsed. It was over. Cleanly, and quietly.
I spent the rest of the day with the students and they received education on how to handle the meat, how to cut it, and how to skin. The students were broken up into groups some were skinners, and some were meat cutters. Even with all the help, at the end of the day, I was completely exhausted.