For hunters wanting a fun and exciting buffalo hunt experience, look no further than Texas. Buffalo trophy hunts in Texas yield some of the most impressive trophies for these majestic animals. We’re here to help you learn more about hunting buffalo so you, too, can bring home the ultimate trophy.
The American Bison, commonly referred to as buffalo, are the largest land animals native to the North American continent. While these magnificent creatures once roamed the plains in the millions, they were nearly hunted to extinction by the 1890s. Thanks to aggressive conservation efforts and breeding programs wild buffalo herds have swelled to around 40,000 with more than 300,000 being raised commercially for meat and hides or on privately owned lands. This rapid and steady increase in herd size has seen these handsome animals removed from endangered status and placed once again at the top of any trophy hunter’s wishlist.
These massive herds of buffalo once grazed through huge swaths of the continent stretching westward from the Appalachian Mountains to Nevada’s Great Basin, often intersecting the same grazing lands as other large game like elk, whitetail deer, and red stag. The huge buffalo herds also ventured as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico. Historically, Texas was prime grazing land for buffalo and continues to be a great place to raise this historic breed of cattle. Our 2,000 acres here at Squaw Mountain Ranch feature lush grasslands and prairie as well as various ponds to attract our buffalo herds and the many other exotic hunting experiences we provide. We are careful to avoid overgrazing to provide hunters with a rewarding and authentic buffalo trophy hunt in Texas.
If you have ever seen a buffalo, you know these guys are huge! Adult males stand between 5 and 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh more than 2,000 lbs. The cows, while slightly smaller, still weigh in at a respectable 1,000 lbs. Dont let their size fool you though, these lumbering beasts can top out around 35-40 miles per hour and are surprisingly agile and can easily clear fences 5-6 feet high.
The most iconic feature of the American buffalo is the massive hump on their back, just behind the head. But these humps aren’t just for show. The long ‘spines’ on their cervical vertebra provide a framework for the muscles bison use to clear deep snow when foraging during the winter months. Living in such cold climates, buffalo grow a thick coat that sheds in the spring. At birth a buffalo calf is fawn or reddish-orange, earning them the nickname ‘red dogs’. As they mature, a buffalo’s coat darkens and can vary in color from a light golden brown on the rump to a chocolate brown, almost coal-black around the shoulders and head.
Not surprisingly, buffalo are herbivores and will graze for anywhere from 9-11 hours a day. Their diet consists primarily of native grasses, weeds, and sedge. They also eat lichen and berries when available but these items do not make up a significant portion of their diet.
Buffalo are migratory animals and will travel around 2 miles a day in search of food. Where and how far they migrate depends on a number of factors including seasonal changes in vegetation, availability of water, and the prevalence of biting insects. Wallowing in dirt or sand is one of the ways buffalo attempt to protect themselves from biting bugs. This behavior is at its peak in late summer and fall when biting insects are at their worst. Buffalo also engage in ‘horning’, scraping their horns against trees, poles, and other vertical structures to sharpen them. A secondary function of this behavior is that the oils and sap from tree bark can act as a repellent. Trees buffalo tend to prefer are ones with a strong scent, such as cedar and pine. Our oak canyons provide a great opportunity for buffalo to horn and shed their winter coat.
If you are planning a buffalo trophy hunt in Texas you may want to plan your trip around ‘the rut’. Mating season, or ‘the rut’, usually begins sometime in July and ends in September. The cows live together with their calves in ‘maternal herds’ that occasionally include a few older bulls. At the age of 3, adolescent males will break away from the maternal herd and travel alone or join a bachelor herd. During the rut, the maternal and bachelor herds merge and males begin competing for the right to breed. For obvious reasons, males tend to be more on edge during the rut, making their behavior unpredictable.
Dominant bulls will gather a harem of around 20 cows and breed them over a period of 2-3 weeks. Less dominant males will follow the herd and protect the females from rival bulls, biding their time until the dominant males are finished. They will then cover any cows that are still in estrus. Cows begin breeding at the age of 3 years old, typically birthing their first calf in the spring of their 4th year.
Through most of the United States buffalo hunting season opens in September and closes in March. However, in Texas you can hunt buffalo year round. If you are interested in bagging a top quality hide, the best time to plan your buffalo trophy hunt in Texas is during the colder months when their coat is at its thickest.
When hunting buffalo it is important to learn the signs of recent herd activity. Unsurprisingly, these large mammals leave some pretty obvious signs. Rubs and wallows are usually a good indication of where a herd likes to spend their time but may only show signs of recent activity during certain times of the year. A rub can consist of one or more trees that are rubbed smooth about 3-4 feet off the ground, clumps of spring shedding clinging to their branches and bark. Wallows are dirt or sandpits approximately 10 feet wide, used primarily in late summer and fall, and may become muddy or fill with water in the spring. Fresh droppings and the unmistakable smell of cattle are sure signs that the herd was in the areas recently.
While their signs can be clear and easy to spot, these animals can be surprisingly difficult to track. While buffalo have fairly poor vision, their highly developed sense of smell and keen hearing makes them difficult to sneak up on, presenting a unique challenge even to experienced hunters.