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Bison Harvest

The 2020/2021 bison harvest drawing is now closed. All winners have been notified. 

The American Prairie Reserve bison harvest drawing is free to enter, and registrants awarded the opportunity to harvest are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $300.

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Bison Harvest Opportunities

Local Area Resident Drawing

Montana residents age 18 and older of Blaine, Chouteau, Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum, Phillips, and Valley counties are welcome to enter a drawing for one of SEVEN opportunities to harvest a bison from American Prairie Reserve.

Ft. Belknap, Ft. Peck, and Rocky Boy Community Drawing

Residents age 18 and older of Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, or Rocky Boy communities are welcome to enter a drawing for one of FIVE opportunities to harvest a bison from American Prairie Reserve.

Montana State-Wide Drawing

Montana residents age 18 and older are welcome to enter a drawing for one of EIGHT opportunities to harvest a bison from American Prairie Reserve.

Worldwide Drawing

Anyone age 18 and older is welcome to enter a drawing for one of TWO opportunities to harvest a bison from American Prairie Reserve.

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Bison Harvest

The 2020/2021 bison harvest drawing is now closed.

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About the Harvest


In 2018, American Prairie Reserve (APR) began hosting an annual bison harvest on our private lands. Since the inception of this project, an annual bison harvest has been a part of our long-term plans. After twelve years of steady growth in our bison population, our herd numbers approximately 849 genetically diverse animals and we are now conducting harvests.

Bison harvests will help maintain the health and sustainability of our bison population in a variety of ways. First, the Reserve is still missing two top grassland predators: wolves and grizzly bears. These species naturally prey on bison and in doing so help keep bison populations in balance with other native ungulates and within the capacity of the landscape’s available forage. Until such time that robust populations of wolves and grizzlies are once again roaming the grasslands, carefully controlled and limited harvesting by human beings can provide similar checks on bison numbers. To mimic natural predation, hunters will only be allowed to take a specific age class of bison, generally in the range of two-years old or under, which, along with the aged and less fit, are the animals most commonly taken when predators are present in sufficient numbers.

Conducting limited annual bison harvests will also help us fine-tune the bison population management strategies and practices needed in the near future as we continue to grow American Prairie Reserve’s land base. Even at three and a half million acres, American Prairie Reserve will be limited in the number of bison it can ecologically support. Harvesting by humans will be an important management tool to help augment the impact of natural death rates by predation, old age, and accidents and injuries generally sustained during the rut.

Lastly, cultural archeologists estimate that human beings sustainably harvested animals on these Northern Great Plains for approximately 14,000 to 16,000 years. About 160 years ago there was an influx of new immigrants of European descent. Shortly thereafter, the populations of elk, deer, pronghorn, big horn sheep, wolves, cougars, bears and bison plummeted in the space of sixty years. By 1910, most of these species were completely eradicated from the American Prairie Reserve region. Today, with the notable exceptions of wolves, swift fox and grizzlies, the original species have been reintroduced or have recolonized this area of the prairies. While they still exist at a small fraction of their pre-European settlement numbers, we believe that with careful management, including responsible and limited harvesting by humans, the populations of all of these species can flourish spectacularly on the grasslands once again.