American bison

Bison graze on the American Prairie Reserve in Phillips County.

For the third year in a row the American Prairie Reserve is offering public bison harvest on its property.

The harvest is in addition to the already available hunting opportunities for a variety of wildlife species on designated Reserve lands. 

This year the nonprofit is offering 20 opportunities, with all but two being awarded to give preference to the people who live and work in Montana and the communities surrounding the Reserve.

“The number of opportunities has increased from last year because we utilize harvest as a bison management tool, and the current herd size dictated the number needing to be harvested,” said Damien Austin, Reserve superintendent. “We intentionally doubled the number offered specifically to Montanans and those living near the Reserve because we know they generally share the same value. We want them — our neighbors — to have a better chance at receiving a bison harvest opportunity.”

American Prairie Reserve is awarding bison harvest opportunities through a free drawing. Six opportunities will go to local residents, four to Montana residents, four to members of the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, or Rocky Boy communities, and two to the general public. An additional four harvest opportunities are being donated to local charities to be used for their own fundraising efforts, and are not a part of American Prairie Reserve’s drawing.

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The drawing is free to enter. Registrants awarded the opportunity to harvest are required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $300. Eligible individuals must fill out and submit the form by July 31. The 16 recipients will be randomly selected on Aug. 1.

“Since the inception of this project, an annual bison harvest has been a part of our long-term Bison Management Plan,” Austin said. “Limited harvests like this mimic natural predation and serve as a check on the bison population, and it gives recipients an incredible opportunity to harvest such an iconic animal.”

Complete details, terms, rules and a link to enter the drawing is available online at americanprairie.org/bison-harvest.

Visit americanprairie.org/hunting for the most up-to-date hunting information and to make reservations, which are required to hunt on most of the Reserve’s deeded land. 

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