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Preparing for a bison hunt may seem intimidating, but it’s completely doable with our beginner’s guide to bison hunting and the right gear. The experts at West Canyon Ranch have assembled this list of essential bison hunting gear to help you plan an exciting and successful hunt.


A Hunting Rifle

You can use a few different kinds of weapons when hunting bison, but rifles are by far the most popular. To take down one of these mighty beasts, you’ll need a rifle that fires a 200-grain bullet or larger, such as .30-06, .338 Winchester Magnum, or .375 H&M Magnum.

We recommend using at least a .30-06 rifle with a 220-grain bullet.


If you’ve hunted before, you know the importance of having a quality scope. When hunting, your rifle should have a scope attached to help spot the bison. The scope also serves as an aiming instrument to help you get a more accurate shot.


Binoculars are one of the most essential pieces of equipment in your bison hunting gear pack. These lightweight, handheld instruments substantially increase vision while adding very little weight to your bag.

Pair of Comfortable Boots

Seasoned hunters know the importance of wearing proper boots during a hunt. Good hunting boots should be comfortable and keep your feet warm and dry as you traverse the elements. Choose well-insulated boots that can keep your feet warm in any weather and be sure you break them in properly. The last thing you want is to be forced to cut your trip short because your brand-new hunting boots are giving you blisters and causing you too much pain to carry on.

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Hunting Backpack

Whether you’re going out for a quick hunt or a trip that will last several days, a hunting backpack is an absolute must. It carries all your essential items, such as a safety kit, binoculars, water, food, ammo, and any extra layers you may need.

A proper hunting backpack should be lightweight, water-resistant, and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of many hunting trips. Choosing a backpack with multiple compartments helps you to keep things organized.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

When you’re planning a bison hunt, plan for unpredictable weather. One minute the weather can be warm and sunny, and another minute, it’s cold and windy. Dressing or packing in layers is the smartest move because it allows you to add or remove layers accordingly.

We recommend choosing a moisture-wicking base layer to keep in heat while wicking sweat away from the skin. Durable and waterproof pants are essential, and a long-sleeve shirt helps to protect your arms. Merino wool socks are a great choice to protect your feet inside those high-quality boots we talked about.

Depending on the seasons and conditions, other weather-appropriate clothing includes an insulated hunting vest, outer jacket, hat, and gloves. When planning what to wear, check local regulations to see if you are required to wear any hunter-orange material.


Sun Protection

While sunscreen is a good option for sun protection, sun-protective clothing is a wise investment for long-term use. There’s also no need to reapply sunscreen during the hunt if you wear sunproof materials. You can purchase many wearable gear pieces with SPF 50 or more. Look for long-sleeve shirts, hats, and gators to help protect your face from the sun.


Anyone venturing into the outdoors for big game hunting knows that water is one of the most essential things to pack. When you’re hunting, pack about three to five liters of water daily. If you know you’ll have access to water during the hunt, you can pack a water bottle with a personal water filter for unlimited water while hunting.

First Aid Kit

Another essential in your backpack should be a first aid kit. While there are plenty of preassembled first aid kits you can buy, you can also assemble one yourself. To build your own first aid kit, include these items:

  • Tourniquet
  • Hemostatic dressing
  • Gauze pads, bandages, and bandaids
  • Medical tape
  • Four-inch ace wrap
  • Trekking poles
  • Tweezers
  • Moleskin
  • OTC medications like Ibuprofen or Benadryl
  • Sam splint
  • Syringe
  • Satellite communicator.

A Map, Compass, and GPS

When it comes to hunting navigational tools, you can’t be too prepared, especially if you’re not very familiar with the area. Carrying a map, compass, and handheld hunting GPS tool will keep you from getting lost and help you track bison herds.

Hunting License, Unless You are Hunting with West Canyon Ranch

If you plan hunting bison on public land, you’ll need a hunting license and a bison tag. A hunting license is a basic requirement that all hunters must have before they hunt any wild animals. In order to hunt a bison, every hunter must draw a bison tag. Bison tags are often challenging to obtain as they are limited. Only a few states allow free-range bison hunting, and the demand for these tags is high.

Another alternative to free-range bison hunting is private ranch hunting. At West Canyon Ranch, we eliminate the confusion and legwork of licenses, tags, rules, and regulations. Our guides will assist you with obtaining any necessary permits, and they’re also familiar with local laws, allowing you to spend more time doing what you want to do–hunting.

Enjoy the Hunt of a Lifetime at West Canyon Ranch

Whether hunting on public or private land, hunting bison is the experience of a lifetime. While you may spend years trying to obtain a bison tag on your own, our guided bison hunts offer a 100% shot opportunity. Not only do we take care of licensing, but we also provide professional guides that are with you on the hunt.

Lodging and field dressing are also included, and a private chef prepares all meals while you’re here. All you need to bring is the weapon of your choice and a hunting pack full of bison hunting gear. Experience the unforgettable thrill of a bison hunt at West Canyon Ranch–visit our website to book your hunt today.