When it comes to bison hunting in Alaska, the odds don't favor hunters. They must beat long odds just to get a shot at one of the animals -- about 2,000 people applied for the 10 permits awarded this year to hunt the Farewell herd -- and then they must actually find and shoot a bison, which are too skittish, too speedy and often too far afield to be considered an easy target. Yet Gene Vik made it look as easy as Buffalo Bill did 150 years ago while taking down thousands of bison when they roamed the Great Plains. At least Buffalo Bill wore boots. Vik was in his stocking feet, about 25 feet from his tent, when he got his.
_Vik and hunting partner Ole Erickson spent a couple days looking for bison on the Farewell Burn east of Nikolai before calling their pilot and asking to be picked up and taken to another spot. "We arrived around 5 p.m., and there was a small herd -- but it was about two or three miles from where the Super Cub landed," Vik said. "So we opted not to (pursue the animals) and went to bed early. "Around 7:30 or 7:45 the next morning, Ole said, 'Did you hear that?' "We unzipped the flap of the tent and about 50 yards off there were 25 or 30 animals. "Usually I keep a rifle in the tent, but the rifles were under a tarp about 25 yards from the tent. I was in my stocking feet. I was able to knock one down and then they stampeded all over the place."