American Prairie Reserve

A bison is held in a hydraulic squeeze chute on the American Prairie Reserve near Malta. While handlers keep the corral as quiet and low-stress as possible, occassionally yearlings bash their noses or break horns.
Nate Hegyi / YPR

A sprawling, private nature reserve in northeastern Montana will host its first ever bison hunt early next year. But if you want to harvest a bison on the American Prairie Reserve, you either need to live near the reserve or be ready to pony up a lot of cash.  

Bison
Yellowstone National Park

More than half of Montana is currently in the grips of a severe drought, according to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday. And, as pastures shrivel up in the heat, ranchers are trucking in bales of hay and selling their cattle early.

But there’s another big, horned animal out there on the range. Bison.

Jackie Yamanaka

    

Wild Sky Beef is part of American Prairie Reserve’s mission to provide habitat for wildlife.

The for-profit arm of APR is paying its neighboring ranchers if they agree to be wildlife friendly.

Some ranchers in central and northeastern Montana resent APR, and its wealthy backers, for buying or leasing their neighbor’s land and turning loose free-roaming bison.