Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. Tonight we are going to reintroduce you to a family, the Cloward family. We met them last March when they took us on a rabbit hunt in Northeastern Utah. We are down here on the Henry Mountains, we are hunting a once in a lifetime species. One that the Cloward family has a lot of experience with.
We are down here on the Henry Mountains for a bison hunt, starts tomorrow morning.
My youngest son has the permit this year.
He hasn’t hardly slept for a week. This is number five in our family and you know the pressure is there to get this last buffalo in the freezer, so yea it’s a big deal. He’s going to have a tough time sleeping tonight. I know that.
As soon as this gets warmed up, let’s see if we can’t heat those biscuits up.
Morris Cloward is one of the most passionate hunters I’ve ever met. A no nonsense, no frills kind of guy. A man who lives for family, friends and hunting and he’s passed this tradition of bison hunting to his children.
He taught me everything I know about hunting. Kind of old school isn’t he? He is, yup, he doesn’t mess around. We go hard.
Modern day mountain man is what he is.
I think the reason we are so successful in hunting is we go off the roads. We go back packing in. We get away from the people and where the animals are. So, he’s uh, He’s crazy.
It’s the evening before the hunt and Glen wasn’t living up to the family moto of going hard. He was going to stay back at camp to help out with dinner. That is until someone gave him a hard time.
Adam Eakle called me soft or squishy or something. Next thing I knew you were on a wheeler. Yea!
The Henry Mountains are recognized as one of the best mule deer units in the world. But it is also home to one of only a few wild, free ranging, bison herds in North America. The Clowards looked this morning for some bison but came home empty. We had hoped to find some tonight and we just might, if we could drive past some of the bucks we found rutting on the way.
Added bonus seeing deer like this out here. They are awesome.
He’s a big, close to thirty inch, probably a four point. Yea big boy. Wrong tag. Yeah no kidding.
Alright back to bison. Yeah let’s go find buffalo, make the tri-fecta on this one. Alright. Is that what we are here for?
Let’s go find some buffalo.
We’ve come up to the top where we’ve been for the last three years in a row now. Scouting for buffalo.
You know when I first showed up here. It was nothing like I expected. You expect buffalo to be plains animals, just be roaming out in the grass where it’s nice and easy. Drive a truck right to them. This is steep, steep mountains. I think right now we are at about 8500 feet. Top of Pennel is almost 12 thousand feet. So it’s steep, rugged terrain.
To give you an example. My brother Jason’s hunt. We shot it seven miles from the road. Took us about three days to pack it out. We don’t use horses or anything. It’s definitely not for the weak hearted. You need to be in shape for this.
We’ve got some buffalo fur on the bushes here. They like to take this trail back and forth and water over here sometimes. Yea it’s a good sign.
Buffalo. We got some. Buffalo!
Just coming through these cedar trees right here in front of us about 300, 400 yards. A herd of buffalo, walking through, coming right to us.
Right where we want them to be. They’ll camp out there tonight and we can get on them in the morning. Get us a buffalo.
Is this where you were hoping to find them? Well I was hoping to find them ten feet from the four wheelers but. This is a great spot. I don’t think a lot of people are going to come over here so we don’t have to fight hunters for them.
I think we go back to camp, let these buffalo hopefully bed down in the trees, find them in the morning. Go back to camp, have dinner, get our packs ready for the morning.
It will be a long sleepless night for me.
Are you ready? Ready as I’ll ever be. Nervous at all? Little bit now. When we see the buffalo it will get worse.
Welcome back to Glen’s bison hunt on the Henry Mountains.
Five o’clock, let’s go.
The history of bison in Utah is really unique. We are really lucky that back in 1941 there was a group of sportsman that got together with actually the livestock operators down in the San Rafael desert. They heard that there were some bison available from Yellowstone National Park. They rounded them up.
Fifteen cows and calves and three bulls and put them into old stock trucks and brought them down to the San Rafael desert and let them go.
A year later, three bulls had wondered off so they went up and got five more bulls.
Those initial bison moved on their own from the San Rafael desert and now reside primarily on the Henry Mountains. What started out as twenty three, has grown to hundreds of bison.
In 2009, 2010 we moved 79 bison from the Henry’s to the Book Cliffs.
We are numbering about 300 animals over there right now.
If you look on a nationwide perspective. It’s really awesome that Utah has these two free ranging herds, managed through hunting. It’s kind of a unique situation where, you know like, areas like Yellowstone, Wind Cave, Badlands, all these other big herds, they have to round them up. It’s very expensive. On the other hand, sportsmen pay for bison management in Utah.
Without sportsmen this would be impossible.
The first bison hunt on the Henry’s was held way back in 1950, when 10 permits were issued. Hunting resumed in 1960, and permits have been issued almost every year since.
The other really unique thing about the Henry’s. It’s managed completely by hunting. A lot of bison herds, they have a round up, a cull. So the animals are kind of domesticated in some ways. But, I can tell you a bison hunt on the Henry’s is as wild as anything you’ll ever get. I drew a permit one year and it is the hardest hunt I’ve ever had.
How’d you sleep last night? Little bit better knowing we have buffalo up here.
We are going to go have some fun. You know it’s cold out here, but at least the wind is blowing. We are going to sneak over here real slow and maybe a half a mile or so we hope to find those buffalo you guys put to bed last night. Just take it nice and easy and glass a little bit here and there. Hopefully with a little luck, they’ve come our direction instead of going the other way.
There’s something about just shooting buffalo, it started with Indians, bow and arrows. It just takes you way back and maybe almost makes you feel like you were living back then.
Well were headed back into the drainage we spotted the bison yesterday. Glen has a good size crew to help and hopefully he needs it.
You see where these Cedars go up to a sharp point? Yea. They were maybe 50 to 100 yards down coming out of those trees.
800 yards down that ridge. A couple of little hills right there. Just below those junipers. Just a little closer than we saw them last night. We’ve got to get through the ravine right here. Yea we do, we have to go down right here, up the other side and then skirt around.
Alright, let’s go!
To get to the herd, we’ve got to drop into this drainage and up the other side. With cliffs on both sides, there’s only one way in and one way out.
17 years, but no pressure! Shut up!
Glen’s older brothers are keeping the mood light. Trying to calm him down a bit.
You can do it.
There’s a lot of pressure on him. I mean Glen’s got to make a clean shot, on TV no less, and he’s got to make sure he shoots the right animal.
Mine is the Henry Mountains, cow only.
They are right here.
What you need to look for is the horns. The cows are really skinny at the base and then they’ll curl in. The bulls are going to be really heavy at the base and they mostly just come straight up. They are not going to curve in. You look kind of for a wooly head for the bulls.
How about going to these trees and we can peek around to the left or right?
We are just going to creep up.
The herd is about two hundred yards away. These trees are giving Glen cover to get closer, but they’re also blocking his shooting lanes.
Are you sure that upper one is a cow?
How far? One seventy five.
I’m almost a 100% sure. It’s got skinny horns, it looks like a girl. It’s not a narrow face. If she steps a little bit further I’ve got a shot.
What’s this one down here? There’s another one way down here.
I’d prefer this one down here. The middle one.
Is that being too picky? No, it’s once in a lifetime Glen. I know. Get the one you want. I like that one a lot better.
Keep your shot low, go for a double lung.
Once again, dead trees are blocking the shot. But the bison, have no clue we are here.
You wait 17 years. We can wait for a few more minutes.
Get ready. Here we go! Here we go! Not yet, not yet. Come on. Take one step to your right. Get ready. Get ready. Here’s your shot.
Watch her, watch her. Is she the lowest one? Yup. She stopped. I can’t see. Make sure you are shooting at the same one.
No second shot is needed as Glen’s bison is down.
Glener, Glener. Can I throw up now? Hey. Nice shot
Woo, look how big that cow is! Shut up!
Got to be pretty satisfying huh? Are you kidding me! Number six man. That’s pretty cool. Yup it’s fantastic.
After nearly two decades of hunting these animals, the Clowards have learned a lot and have some advice if you decide to hunt a Henry’s bison.
Holy cow it just got bigger.
From Lake Powell all the way up to the top of Pennel. They can be anywhere in-between. The more help you have the better off. Especially when you get one down.
On the cow hunt, the biggest thing is just making sure you get that cow.
Be in shape when you come out here and go for it, yea.
I’m amazed at how many don’t give it their all. We could tell people there is buffalo right here in this area and they won’t come because you can’t see them from the road.
And it’s like wow it’s a once in a lifetime hunt. You’ve got to give it your all.
What did we count 13 people here Morris? 13, it’s a big crew, make it easy getting out. I’ll bet. It’s probably needed right? Need these young legs to get it out of here. Strong backs, weak minds. Is that we brought? A lot of them. No, no, no.
That’s a neat animal Glen. Thank you. Yea beautiful. Nice perfect one shot. Must have double lunged her. She didn’t go far at all. Yea I think so. What a beautiful animal. Well we’ve got a lot of work. We’ve got to break this animal down and pack it out of here. Jared and I, we are out of here ourselves. No just kidding, we’ll help for sure