Remember those free-range bison hunts up in northern British Columbia that began last year? Well, I just returned from one of those hunts and took a great bull on my third full day of hunting. My companion also took a bull, which meant Mike Hammett of Sikanni River Outfitters was 100 percent successful on bison this year. At present, Hammett is the only outfitter with allocations for bison in British Columbia. His quota is 16 animals. He runs the hunts in November and December and prices them at $5,000 plus GST (Goods and Services Tax), licenses and tags. Hammett picks his hunters up in Fort St. John and drives them by winter road into his remote ranch west of the Alaska Highway on the Sikanni River. This is Don Beattie's old hunting area and it is full of a variety of game. I shot my bison while rutting stone sheep looked on from the next ridge.
Hunts are conducted out of a comfortable base camp with log cabins, and this year Hammett's family was there for Christmas. He home-schools his son and daughter on the ranch and visiting this area is a true wilderness experience. We hunted using snow machines and saw almost every species in the area, including a wolverine. I highly recommend the hunt as a true fair-chase experience. There are over 3,000 bison roaming the mountains in that part of BC, but they have caught on to hunting fast and can be elusive.