In our BLOG of June 23, 2020, we published “American Serengeti—What is going on in Montana?,” which discusses the enormous wildlife project that is shaking the foundations of community development and progress in Phillips County, Montana, and Malta, its county seat, and nearby communities.
The American Prairie Reserve—APR, or simply the Prairie Reserve–on the upper Missouri River is a plan to develop a huge grazing unit—the largest nature reserve in the continental United States.
If you’re a traveler coming into the Hettinger-Lemmon area from the east or west, you will likely plan to complete your tour by visiting Sites 9 and 10 either before or after the main section of your tour.
Otherwise, separate trips might take you through Fort Yates and Jamestown—which are somewhat to the northeast.
Tribal herds can be viewed at Ft. Yates, and other reservations. The “largest buffalo,” and a National Buffalo Museum that includes a full-body mount of the famed White Cloud reside in Jamestown.
At the center of the Northern Plains is a rugged section of Badlands, buttes and fertile grasslands, where buffalo, cattle and sheep graze, and deer and antelope still roam. Please join us on the 10-site tour we’ve put together of the last great hunts and other...
At the center of the Northern Plains is a rugged section of Badlands, buttes and fertile grasslands, where buffalo, cattle and sheep graze, and deer and antelope still roam.
We’d love to have you join us on the 10-site tour we’ve put together of the last great hunts and other historic and contemporary buffalo events, each clearly marked by a yellow sign.
These sites include three of the last great buffalo hunts, including the valley of the last stand—the final harvest of the last 1,200 wild buffalo by Sitting Bull and his band on October 12 and 13, 1883.
At the center of these events are previously untold stories and authentic, unspoiled places to envision where they took place.
This region, bordered by the North Dakota towns of Hettinger, Reeder and Scranton, and the South Dakota towns of Lemmon, Bison and Buffalo, is where Native people conducted the last traditional hunts of the majestic wild buffalo that once roamed here in huge herds on what was then the Great Sioux Reservation.
The most famous white buffalo that ever lived was probably Big Medicine, born in 1933 on the National Bison Range in Western Montana.
Soon after birth he was dubbed “Big Medicine” by the local Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai people of the Flathead Valley. He lived there all of his 26 years.
White buffalo are sacred to many Native American tribes and they believed he brought good news and supernatural powers. The Blackfeet tribe farther east also considered him the property of the sun as well as “good medicine.”
In 1907 Canada purchased the Pablo Buffalo Herd from the western plains of Montana. Banff received 77 of these animals, and a new paddock of 300 acres was built north of the railroad to hold the increasing herd.
Sir Donald was a handsome bull. It was said he represented well the ideal that Native hunters preferred—a bull with well-built forequarters and large head.
In 1907 the Michel Pablo herd from western Montana began arriving in Canada. At their end of the railroad, Canadians cheered the buffalo’s arrival.
They knew they had scored a coup in getting “the finest buffalo herd in America,” as William Hornaday, president of the new American Bison Society, called Michal Pablo’s half-wild herd from Montana.
When Michel Pablo sold all of his buffalo to the Canadian government, it took 6 years to get them rounded up and loaded. He expected the job to take one summer.
They were wild, and did not take kindly to being chased to the railway station in Ravalli, Montana—or getting loaded into railway cars. Especially the renegade bulls.
Pablo’s buffalo—he thought there were somewhere between 300 and 700 head—were grazing in the Bitterroot Mountain Range and the Lolo National Forest along the Flathead River.
For the Plains Indian nothing is more exciting and exhilarating than hunting buffalo or more enjoyable than feasting on their flesh.1
To the Plains Indian the buffalo was the source of life; this bovine scientifically called a Bison (Bison bison) provided everything required to exist in a plains environment. Every part of the buffalo was utilized including their excrement which was used for fuel.
The Dakota term for a buffalo hunt is Wanasapi which appears to be contraction of a descriptive name. During the period named Dog Days, before the coming of the horse, when dogs were used as burden carriers, the hunt was more individualized.
In northcentral Montana an enormous wildlife project is taking shape in a bold new way that is shaking the foundations of community development and progress—to bring about what has been called the American Seringetti.