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Montana LOOK OUT!!! Land grab!
I just saw this article... An environmental group is looking to make a large national park by buying up land in Montana... They feel that ranchers are evil and that the ranch lands should be replaced with a national park 1,000,000 acres larger than Yellowstone!
They are not going to stop until the run/buy out every rancher in the area!
I sure hope that RMEF and other can step up and secure land right in the middle of the place for use to hunt and kill the animals!
We've been fighting this for several years now... They started pretty quietly, and bought a little land here and there, then once they had a foothold, they really started to push for more land and contiguous land so that they could make south Phillips County into a free-roaming bison preserve. Their long-term goal is to make the CMR and the Breaks into a huge wildlife preserve and make sure that no one gets to use or hunt or graze or ranch that area ever again. As the article points out, they seem to ignore the fact that the only reason the area is such great habitat is because of the efforts of the ranchers that currently manage the land...
You need to go buy what you can right in the middle it and build a fort. That is what I did. I bought 4.5 acres, my fort/home is is the front half next. On my back side (not my property)is wet lands (protected by law). I sit my my side and bow hunt the deer that come to eat the persimmons and white oaks on my side. See deer on my side of fence eating acorns and the thick stuff on other side is wetland the stream is on my side also. My piece of paradise, also have an other piece paradise property, 75 acres oaks surrounded by farmland, in MS. The point is don't wait for someone else, do it yourself. Create your organization and pool your money.
Their plans could end up making certain plots of land prime bison hunting.
I also see a business possibility here - buy several small pieces in the middle and/or between the public land they want to butt up against and wait them out, asking for substantially more than what you payed for.
I would think that a good thing would be to get the RMEF and others involved and get a large place right in the middle preserved for hunting...
If you buy pieces make sure you have access to it, would really stink to be land-locked from your own land.
What many never hear about is that the RMEF has bought many private ranches over the years and turned them back to the US Forest Service and BLM with out any quarantees that those Federal Agencies will forever protect hunting on them. Many large NGO's (radical environmental organizations) are pulling the strings with the Feds and are working hard to do away with multiple uses on public lands and make wildlife corridors and nature preserves out of them. This includes logging, mining, livestock grazing as well as hunting.
Time to buy some land next to theirs and start a bison hunting operation I think...
It's funny to me that people feel property rights are a guarantee except when someone else buys the lands.
I am surprised that amny people are not thinking about the bigger picture. They get a strong hold go to the federal governemnt and say look we have all this private land if you would just allow or set aside these acres inbetween for our buffs...
I am not against property rights, I do have a major concern when a bunch of billionaires come together inorder to create a new national park. I am very concerned that if they get their ways we will be out of teh breaks country forever.
Does the Wilks Brothers buying up over 270,000 acres upset you fellas?
Does it bother you that those same Wilks Brothers are buying our legislature?
" In the works is a wildlife-friendly labeling program for local cattlemen who agree not to shoot prairie dogs or coyotes."
Why does the "program" come with conditions. If they are that concerned about coyotes, what is their opinion on wolves?
It is obvious that one of their future goals is to eliminate hunting, at least in these areas. Once they buy all the land they can they will use their money and power as landowners to lobby for the elimination of hunting on adjacent public land. From there they will be one step closer to eliminating hunting altogether.
We need to pass a law that requires hunting and fishing access be granted to all lands funded by our tax dollars, and/or tax exempt dollars.
I don't know if this is true or not but I have read that their are many thousands of OUR public acres in the west that are landlocked by the large ranches and outfitters that want to make big dollars and have the tax payers pick up the tab. Like I said I am getting all this second hand so I could be wrong. But I have seen first hand the devastation that comes from over grazing and poor farming/ranching practices and these are unacceptable anywhere much less on OUR public lands.The environmental wackos out their are not our only concern. And maybe not even our biggest?
Oak, we have identified over 800,000 acres of public land in Montana that is not available just because corner hopping is not legal. I couldn't imagine the total land locked acres.
Does it concern me? Yes it does. Monopolization of anything concerns me. But, I have not seen where you guys are anti hunting, want to make a national park, etc. On the flip side they would seem to favor land use, since they made their money in the extractive industries. It is concerning when some people get too big and what influence they may have over politics and land use.
I am in agreement with shoots straight. what is the difference between ranchers who don't let public land accessible, and animal rights activists doing the same?
Seems like a good place to buy land at 500 an acre and sell it to these people for 1000000 per acre. If they want it that bad a land owner could name their price.
There is a huge difference. These ranchers are only keeping you off certain pieces of public land in most means that are legally uncertain. Very few people (if any) who have challenged these laws have been convicted. These ranchers restrict access to maximize profits from their hunting operations, not to outlaw hunting.
These ARAs are trying to end all hunting.
Western states need constitutional amendments making hunting a right and laws that guarantee public land will continue to be open to hunting.
What this makes obvious are laws allowing state to take over Federal land without restriction against resale of these lands is very dangerous to the future of hunting.
Wow, first I heard of this. I have hunted that area with friends that live in Malta. They have not mentioned this. To bad I don't have millions to buy the property first.
Most landowners I have spoke with in the area are not to fond of anti-hunters / anti-ranchers. But many of the ranchers are older, and if their kids are not going to take over the ranch they will look to sell the property. Like others have said, the RMEF needs to get involved.
I think some of you need to do a little more research before you open your mouth and start punching away on the key board.
Go to their site and read.
Not saying I agree with what they are doing but educate yourself before you type away.
Hunting American Prairie Reserve participates in the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Block Management Program, which is a cooperative program that creates public access on private lands by opening them up to hunting. We have enrolled more than 28,000 acres of our property in the Block Management Program and intend to increase the acreage enrolled over time. On average we provide more than 1,200 hunter days of recreation each year. Our properties are listed in the Region 6 FWP Block Management Book.
Good point, bighouse...although speculation is so much more fun. ;) Willing sellers in the mix negates the implication of a "land grab" as well. The lure of money does not equal eminent domain. Although I'd love to see more bison on the landscape in more locations around the state, the idea of reestablishing large, free-ranging migratory herds is pretty farfetched, in my opinion. The perception of a brucellosis threat in this state is unlikely to be overcome without a 100% effective vaccination program in place.
And yes, SS, the Wilks Bros concern me far more.
Bighouse, While I appreciate your suggestion that we should do some research before we type, I would give you the same advice. You need to do some research on what this group has actually done, not just what they choose to put on their website. Their website says one thing, but what they are doing on the ground, to their neighbors and to the local communities tells a different story. To me, their actions speak louder than what they type on their website for publicity and fundraising purposes.
Shoots straight: I am concerned about the Wilks brothers holdings. But what they are doing so far hasn't been significantly affecting their neighbors, and they are keeping the place in production. They are putting some resources back into the ranch to improve the hay land, the irrigation systems and the range. When Siebel owned the N-Bar, he made the decision to not put anything into it and the place was really starting to decline. The Wilks brothers are keeping the place in production while focusing on wildlife habitat. Does the size of their holdings concern me? Yes. Does it upset me? No.
"We've been fighting this for several years now..."
Darren, can you elaborate regarding exactly what is being fought and how, and what they're doing to their neighbors?
Why is this organization calling on ranchers to stop shooting coyotes and prairie dogs? Neither species is even close to being "endangered."
Forgive me skepticism, but I would be very surprised if in the future this group does not lobby for the elimination of all hunting on public land near where they want these buffalo to roam.
I'm not even sure how to respond to this...private land is private land, they can do what they want with it. Do I have a problem with it if they want to make it some kind of preserve?...nope, not in the least. If they purchased the land legally, so be it. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I live in the east and trying to find land to hunt here can be difficult. I'm envious of you guys out west in that regard; even with this land grab you guys are wealthy with the amount of land that is available.
Well, they arent wasting any time. Now they've filed to fence in (out?) 3 million acres of BLM with electric fence and change the grazing allotment to year-round bison. This would presumably lock the public out from any vehicle access now permitted, but would still allow public access to those willing to crawl under the hot wire and walk in.
Wondering where BHA will come down on this, since they "own" this public land.
I keep trying to post the link to today's Billings Gazette but Bowsite gremlins wont let it go through. I'll try on another post.
For some reason the Bowsite wont let me post the link like it usually does. Any ideas?
It is simply amazing how many hunters supported this, and still do to this day. Long term, real bad for the public land hunters as hunting options are due to expire with term limits. Great for ranchers looking for a retirement strategy, they will make millions. Hello wolves, they are coming and with full protection!
The founder of APR was on the Meateater podcast. Definitely dodged the hunting question but I think the idea of reestablishing wild bison is great.
They will have to control the bison herd somehow. Even with wolves, the bison population got to 30 million in pre-Columbian times. Wolves are an inefficient predator of bison. And they won't be able to keep people out of the BLM lands. Although, I can see a POTUS turning the entire thing into a National Monument/Park.
The bison of YSNP now spill over into MT and WY and we have seasons on them outside the park. While this could end up as a park, it could end up as expanded bison hunting opportunity, of which, currently, there are few.
Wolves will help, but they will also devastate the elk herds in GMUs such as 410. It is a done deal, no sense worrying about it. Will be fun riding in the tour buses in 15 years.
This same topic was hashed out here January 28. Go read that old news, weigh each side, be sure if you're reading real facts, and move on.
This is a disaster for public land hunting. This will become millions of untouchable acres. Enjoy the bus tour!
Dutch Oven, this filing with the BLM happened this morning. This is "new news".
Lou you mentioned the Poppers(I think they would have been the same ppl-husband wife from east coast university?) in the last thread. 40 years ago they came to Brusett community northwest of Jordan where my family has ranched for 100 years give or take. They proposed the Big Open concept at a community meeting. The locals were ready to tar and feather them and said it was a pipe dream that could never happen. That community is 25 miles from APR as the crow flies with the lake in between.
About that time I was reading about the New Age Movement and how it was all networked with a common ideology. I said then that people weren’t looking far enough out; like 75-100 years. Looks like I was wrong, more like 50. There is no way young people can stay on the land with the ag economy we have now.
Those that say they are our friend because they allow hunting think about this. These are the same ppl/ideology that brought the wolves.
Cubdrvr is spot on. These guys are liars and thieves. Look into it.
What can be done though? Seriously? They aren't breaking any laws that I can tell. Hope I'm wrong.
Surprised the UN didnt land in black helicopters when they made the filing.
Buying adjacent property might seem like a great idea, until they decide to put a high fence around you...
As far as the UN....They dont need to.
The original links not working for me. Can someone please re post?
A FWIW post.....just got this in the inbox. The blue and green is land leased by outfitters.
No BLM lands are leased by outfitters for exclusive use, including the millions of acres going into the " New Park" formation. These millions of Federal lands will eventually see very limited, if any, hunting by the general and non tribal public. Today these lands are open to all, with open roads for hunter access.
MB, I'm still trying to figure out how hunters are supposed to access the BLM if the entire outside boundary of 3 million acres is fenced with electric wire (per the APR's latest filing). There are roads in there now. Do buffalo honor cattleguards? Will there be gates (for some jerks to leave open)? Walk-in/crawl-under only?
For those keeping score at home, this amounts to a fencing-out of 4,600 square miles of PUBLIC land that one "hunter" group claims I own.
Ya and good luck keeping an electric fence of that size operating. If buffs are ever designated *wildlife* it won’t matter they’ll be free to go anywhere. But don’t worry I’m sure they can be trained to stay in the PARK.
There will be very little hunter access when compared to before the fence, bison and wolves.
^^^ bingo on the last 3 posts!
I listened to the podcast and really didn't get the feeling Sean Garrity or APR were anti-hunting, does anyone here have factual info that says otherwise? He actually said there were a bunch of people out elk hunting on the APR property as the podcast was being recorded...
Facts. No place in this discussion.
What happened to turning it into a UN controlled international park?
Even if they were anti-hunting, which I don't believe the current curators are TODAY, 3 million acres of this nature preserve is BLM. So unless they acquire it from the BLM (possible, just like what happened with my two best elk spots) they won't be able to stop hunting even if they want to. But this new proposed outside-border high-voltage electrified buffalo fencing will present serious challenges to access. Imagine walking into Connecticut from the New York or Massachusetts border.
Thinking positively, maybe they will allow hunters to access the interior from a network of access roads? Remember, this Serengeti covers over 4000 square miles.....
A lot of that BLM is in the CMR refuge and USF&W sets hunting regulations within it’s boundary. Not hunter friendly. They shut down mulie doe hunting for 20 years.
Good for them. Should have been done long ago across the Breaks...
Private land will never become increasingly available to the general hunter, losing public land therefore becomes even more significant. Hunters were duped with this creation.
Sure, there may be some very limited bison tags available, but only with input from the locally involved tribal bands. Good luck in the bison draw!
This right here is the concern. They own 500,000 acres but want to control and change 3 million....
The APR’s stated intent is to build a 3.5-million-acre nature reserve using about 500,000 acres of private land and 3 million acres of public lands, much of which is managed by BLM.
"Imagine walking into Connecticut from the New York or Massachusetts border."
I grew up in Connecticut. Can't see how that would not be an improvement! Just sayin. ;-)
In general, a large, prairie habitat preserve sounds great. Maybe instead of fighting it, we should be fighting for reasonable access and hunting rights built into the legislation.
This is one of the least populated areas of Montana. There is almost no local support of this whatsoever. As our numbers decline so will resistance to this kind of land grab and ultimate control of OUR lands.
In a presentation to Google, Sean Garritty mentions a lonely road bisecting the tract.
No sense fighting it, it is a done deal. Let's call it what it is though, an infrastructure for the formation of a future park. Supported by many hunters, even though there is a highly restrictive future hunting potential. Seems odd hunters complain about places to hunt, then support penning up bison and wolves for the formation of a new park with a very restricted access and potential. Oh well, hunters never were the most cohesive group. Enjoy the tour buses.
I'm not a fan of the APR, but fencing the 3 million acres shouldn't have any effect on the access. There are cattle guards specifically made for Bison that are larger, and more spaced out. They use them in several places in Montana already and never seem to be an issue. I'm sure that they will simply put in cattleguards on the road systems, and access shouldn't be changed at all.
Edit - thanks for the cattle guard explanation. That should work as long as open and unfettered access to the public land continues to be permitted.
Here's the link to the APR policy on hunting. Some interesting weasel-wording in there.
"Hunting MAY serve as a tool for wildlife conservation". "No harvest of elk, bighorn sheep, or pronghorn permitted on APR deeded land".
Ok, on the deeded land they can do whatever the hell they want. But if you read between the lines, it appears that the end goal is to eventually manage the wildlife, hunting and access on the fenced-in public land too, as a new National Park-like designation.
Something about this whole thing just feels hinky.....
Again, if they have bison, they'll need to use hunting to manage the herd or else they'll be darting the females with birth control and I'm not sure that's even been developed for bison. And it'd be cost-prohibitive and unsustainable over the long-term (read:decades/in perpetuity).
With all due respect Missouribreaks, you can see the future no better than anyone else on this thread. You dismal clairvoyance holds no more validity than someone like me with supposed rose-colored glasses on.
What I see is an eventuality of a burgeoning bison herd in a pristine and natural habitat which eventually causes the need for a hunt that would actually be substantial, given the amount of bison that this much land could hold and the setting would make it a high-quality hunt.
As long as we're prophesying, I also see transplants of this herd into other areas via capture-release and the fractures/abandonment of the tenuous fence allowing for more opportunity and a righteous restoration of bison to lands from which they are native.
If a few ranches get bought up and some cattle get displaced by bison, why is that so horrible? As it stands, ranchers replaced bison in the ENTIRE WESTERN UNITED STATES minus Yellowstone NP. The only REAL way these lands will be lost forever is if they are sold to developers and subdivided.
Again, I've been across the West dozens and dozens of times. You know what you'll see everywhere? Ranches, cattle, and barbed wire fences cutting up the entire west into 640 acre parcels.
You know what you wont see? Bison.
Ranches are not in short supply, nor is the ranching way of life at risk of disappearing (except when it comes to subdividing, paving, and urbanization).
Every increase of every head of bison in this country means the possibility of expanded hunting opportunity. The only thing that equates to zero opportunity is....... no animals.
So the take away, as was the take away a half decade ago. Watch this closely, no one can say exactly what the future is, but there is plenty here to be worried about. It is sad what is happening to the culture of this area. I hope it all works out that we continue to hunt and fish in this area, but would not be surprised if the government decides to take it all with one swipe of the pen.
The other thing many are missing, what will this mean for the Reservation? Is there a point at which the reservation makes a play and a move that really messes things up? Not saying it will, but be aware that when ever this preserve is talked about, it rarely mentions hunting at all. Infact in the hour long presentation at the Aspen Film Fest, no mention of hunting, in at least 6 other presentation they do not mention hunting. They are either keeping it hush to not offend supporters or they are hiding it and when hunting comes into play they can clam they made no promises.
Just like mentioned above they do not commit to hunting as a long term goal. They suggest they support it, but they do not come out and say it will be a significant issue.
As for the claim that they will have to allow Buffalo hunts, you are a fool if you believe this... Push comes to shove it will not be hunters, it will end up being paid snipers. Any bets on this?
If I had these clairvoyant abilities I woudlnt give two turds about APR. I would focas in on the power ball numbers for next week. That and my list of potential equity buys would be ...well just amazing.
These people are not stupid. They will and do present things differently to different groups. Generally it is through omission of certain facts that may not present well to certain groups. If there does come a time for bison hunts I would speculate that big investors/ supporters will be first in line. They allowed "special guests" aka large donors, to hunt on the private ranch that they purchased from friends of mine. They will us hunters for now to further their agenda. I believe that will end in the not so distant future.
coelker I will take that bet. You name the wager ;)
The biggest change I see is changing the grazing allotments on BLM. First, from cattle to bison, plus changing from seasonal to year-round. I may have a problem with that, but honestly don't know enough about wild bison.
Smoked Trout.... Deal in 15 years from now we will see if they have maintained a random public drawing. This means no raffle, no highest bidder. I can already see the path, the anti hunters will not allow this to move forward, especially when it comes to hunting the large predators they are pushing. I hope I am wrong, but in 15 years if we still have a random public hunt, I will gladly buy you a steak dinner... I am willing to bet it is either snipers or highest dollar....
Also I will note that already in the presentations I have watched, when asked about genetic diversity they claimed that surplus bulls were shipped to zoos, and other herds. But never once did they mention the need to cull old animals...
Wolves, even in a pen, will not control bison numbers:
1: Wolves running bison will run them right through their fences, electric or not. Bison are nothing like cattle. They walk right through fences and can jump a 6 foot fence.
2: Adult bison are very difficult for wolves to take down and they won't be able to kill 90+% of the calves without sustaining major mortality and it'd take those kinds of numbers to control the herd.
3: Wolves kept in an enclosed area eventually suffer genetic defects and die off, as seen in Isle Royale, due to their low numbers.
4. Wolves in an enclosure will kill all the deer and elk and then starve once the only prey left is adult bison.
5. PreColumbian times bison numbers grew to 30 million in the presence of wolves, mt lions, and grizz/black bear and also thrived in paleolithic times in the presence of the short nosed bear that very well could have fed on bison.
"As for the claim that they will have to allow Buffalo hunts, you are a fool if you believe this... "
You could be right, you could be wrong. If it ended up in public hands, I see the odds of a hunt being much higher. Currently, they allow hunting. Don't forget that. That legacy of hunting could dovetail right into herd control of bison through continued hunting.
It will be an interesting experiment, especially if they try to recreate a true Pre-Columbian prairie ecosystem. If they don't go all the way with wolves and Indians hunting in traditional ways, then it will be just a big half-assed buffalo grazing ranch like Ted Turner's. Not a true "American Serengeti" they aspire to create.
Propose to drill for oil in sentive ecological area on public land or sell off public lands to private entities, hunters won’t bat and eye. Propose to try to restore some semblance of an ecosystem back to its “ orginal “ state with hunting recognized and promoted, on private lands, Hunters are up in arms.
We have no one to blame for our coming demise other than our own short sightedness and narrow mindedness. Our lack of value for conservation and ecology that doesn’t directly relate directly to our “hunting” opportunities is disgustingly apparent in our ranks. We have fallen very far.
I watched the Aspen and Google videos and have listened to the podcast a couple times. Couple things I took away. Mr Gerrity stated their goal is to have 30-40,000 elk on the landscape. Current herd sits around 3,500. Elk don’t mind electric fences. He even shows trail cam footage of a bull milling around that apparently resulted in him crossing one of their bison fences with no issues, (obviously that doesn’t speak well towards keeping bison in) but I can’t see the negative in a 10x growth in the elk herd. He references pronghorn migrating north into Canada a few times, and the deer and sheep will surely spill over into huntable tracts as well. Certainly park status and the closure of 2.5 million acres to hunting would hurt our cause no doubt, but it seems the borders and private ranches that remain would become a hunter’s paradise, moreso than they already are.
Secondly, if there are enough disgruntled hunters and nearby citizens, why not a push for some acquisitions to become wildlife management areas/refuges that also continue to provide grazing allotments? The same thing the APR is doing but with continued hunting activities at the forefront. Gerrity states in the podcast that they continually get outbid and/or find landowners that won’t sell to them. “Safe spaces” for hunters that control grazing allotments on some of the BLM and see incredible spill over from APR wildlife seem like a win/win.
As far as the surplus bulls being shipped to zoos I think he was referencing six animals. Seems like a much easier play than killing them and the PR fallout before they’re anywhere near their stated goal.
I guess I see more positives in the venture than simply the danger in losing some hunting access. I’m thinking more along the lines of no one complains about the size of bulls in Park County, WY.
Sorry guys, I'm really not seeing "anti-hunting" from the APR guys. Garrity explained fairly clearly why/where different game species are allowed to be hunted (or not) on their properties. I'd expect to see hunting banned in national forests for political reasons before it got banned by the APR...that's just what I'm getting from it, interpret how you will...They seem to have a much more open mind and specific purpose for the land, they even encourage corner-hopping, which alone should be enough to get hunters on board. I'm very interested to see how this shakes out...
Page-Whitham allowed hunting on their deeded property's do they did not use it to block access to BLM or CMR land. APR already has taken a different approach as far as hunting their property. How long will it be before they deny access through it also?
Bow Bullet the Page Whitham Ranch was and is enrolled in a Conservation Easement with the Mt, FWP and hunting and access is guaranteed for perpetuity,, that's forever APR bought it knowing all that and they bought another ranch nearby with the same easement, I do have some concerns about the APR and so far not real sure what to think
Thanks for that clarification sbschindler. I hunted the area a lot when I lived in Fort Peck from 1993-2002 but didn't realize their deeded land was under a Conservation Easement.
A non-binding resolution passes MT House Ag Committee asking the BLM not to modify the APR's grazing allotments.
Most of the complaints have been crossed out!
The resolution does address year-round grazing and removal of interior fences. I'm not sure you can properly "manage" with year round grazing, so I see their point. It would seem to me that APR should produce a detailed management plan for how they intend to prevent harm to the leases with year-round grazing. Perhaps they have. All I have heard so far is that they will reduce AUM, but haven't seen anything writing.
I view removal of interior fences as a good thing, although it does make management more difficult.
There is no mention of the electric fence around the border.