Buffalo arenít hard to kill but they can take a lot of lead before giving up. Generally, lung shots are the easiest to make and are required for archery shots but a head or neck shot is very good for a field harvest meat animal at close range. I have killed buffalo with a 223 Remington but generally a 270 Winchester with a good bullet is about minimum in my opinion. This year, I had a 10 year old kill a big bull this year with a 243 Winchester but we had to get close and he used Barnes TSX bullets. We have had good luck with any archery gear as long as it has a decent draw weight.
Once the animal is harvested you must get it processed. This can be the biggest pain when buffalo hunting. Big bulls with good heads will weigh 1600 lbs. and go up from there. I have a Wood/Plains cross that weighs around 2700 lbs. but he is the biggest Iíve ever had. These animals are big so a hunter must be prepared to haul a significant amount of meat and if you are taking quarters they will be very large as well. Some ranches offer varying levels of processing on site while some, like me will deliver the animal to a commercial processor. When you get your meat back, you can expect your deboned yield to be around 40-45% of the live weight. A 2000 lb bull should have 800-900 lbs of meat. Big bulls can be tough but generally have good taste and are very lean. The younger the animal the better the meat but you canít really guarantee anything unless they are less than 3 years old.
Your trophy buffalo can be displayed in a couple of different ways. A shoulder mount is the most impressive and most expensive way to show off your buffalo. Expect to pay $1200 and up for a mount and make sure your ranch/outfitter is capable preparing the cape either by fleshing or freezing for a taxidermist. Many of our clients like to have European mount done and tan the hide. A big bull can have an 80 sq. feet hide so it is very impressive. Tanning will cost $9.20 per sq. foot at the tannery we use. Any taxidermist can clean the skull for a couple hundred bucks maximum.
Buffalo hunting can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. A potential hunter must check several different outfitters/ranches and make sure it is the type of hunt and price that meets their goals. Also remember that a buffalo can kill you if it wants so be safe and always have at least one back up rifle. I have had two honest-to-God Cape buffalo type charges from wounded plains buffalo. Too bad there was no video.
Lance has raised buffalo since 1994 and owns and operates a 5000 acre buffalo ranch in Nebraska. He also owns Laughing Water Ranch Outfitters, LLC and has access to over 90,000 private acres. Lance specializes in buffalo hunting but offers a limited number of White-tail deer and Merriam turkey hunts.