Montana Hunts Wolves–Along with Bison and Sandhill Crane

Montana will start hunting for the recovering wolf in two weeks–unless a judge steps in to stop it. The plan is to shoot 75 wolves, though by yesterday hunters had bought 9,000 permits, some just for a fun souvenir ($19 a pop.) Hunters are supposed to call in within 12 hours so Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks can call off the hunt.

That got us thinking about what other kinds of rules Montana has about hunting. Here’s a sampling that will give you how hunting trumps all other concerns.

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Roche

Go ahead and hunt wolf pups. While you are banned from hunting lactating mountain lions, you can shoot wolves born this year. “This means you can shoot any wolf you see including pups if you so choose,” notes huntwolves.com. You can’t bait wolves or use electronic calls, but you can use manual or old-fashioned ones (typically calls of prey animals.) You can’t use night vision or–unlike Alaska–an airplane. (Well, you can use it to spot them, but you can’t shoot them till the next day.) Also, you can dump the carcass in the field, but you have to bring back the head and “evidence of sex: males: testicles; females: vulva or mammaries.” They hunt bison. That’s right–the symbol of the west, the symbol of wasteful hunting. Apparently there was a reason for this rule: “It is unlawful to possess or transport the fetus or reproductive tissues of a bison away from the kill site.” Just as

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Visit the Bison off Route 80

Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, Fremont, Ind. On our way to Illinois for Christmas, David and I stopped at the Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, which is off Route 80 in Indiana, just a few miles from the Ohio border. We arrived on Christmas Eve. The guide, Three Paws, let Jolly come into the lodge, where he cooked us buffalo burgers for lunch. He explained that the ranch was started by a doctor who wanted to see the buffalo preserved and eventually opened it up to the public. David and Jolly stayed back (dogs spook buffalo), while I got to drive out to the herd with Three Paws. They keep the buffalo wild, don’t touch them. A grandmother runs the herd and decides when they are through with the pasture they’re in. She signals the humans by standing apart (in the wild she’d be off exploring), then she charges in alone to the new pasture (in the wild, she’d be looking for predators). The ranch takes to heart the native America spiritual beliefs about the buffalo. A local tribe blessed the ranch and it’s the site of primitive camps and gatherings for descendants of Native Americans. The grandma buffalo will decide when her time has come by separating herself from the herd. In the wild, she’d be taken by predators. Here she is taken by the humans, who then honor her by posting her skull in this display.

Where to See Animals in the MidwestWhere Can I See a Bison Herd

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