By Ryan Mallery Explore Big Sky Contributor

With a rare western Wyoming wild bison tag in hand this September, I recruited some friends – Dan Rice and Mario Deluca – on an early season, self-guided hunt on the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyo.

I had spent hours researching the region, speaking with local wildlife officials, guides and friends in search of the perfect bull, so on a Friday night, after Rice arrived from Bozeman, we set up camp within hiking distance of some recommended areas.

Acting on a tip from local wildlife biologist, Ben Wise, we glassed a herd of bison from afar. After a short but arduous hike up and out of the Ditch Creek drainage, we located three large bulls grazing on a table near the top of a ridge line.

I shot this bison with my .300 Jarret, and we spent the next seven hours skinning, quartering and packing out the 1,000-pound bull with the help of the area’s ungulate specialist and local friends.

Ryan Mallery lives in Minneapolis, Minn.