MeatEater is pleased to announce the return of the Auction House of Oddities to support the 2023 Land Access Initiative: Wildcat Bend North in Rosebud County in eastern Montana. Wildcat Bend North is a 328-acre property consisting of high-quality riparian habitat that provides for a diverse array of huntable and non-huntable species.
“I was initially hesitant to focus on another Montana project, but once I got a look at the map and the overall vision, it became clear we had to make this one happen,” MeatEater’s Director of Conservation, Ryan Callaghan, said. “River frontage is at a premium anywhere in the country and having the opportunity to conserve a piece in Montana is increasingly rare. The lower Yellowstone also offers a huge amount of biodiversity: you could set a trotline for catfish, walleye, and sturgeon, walk for pheasants, and bag a hell of a whitetail buck while listening to turkeys gobble in one afternoon. I honestly want to build the landowner a statue.”
Wildcat Bend was initially identified by the members of Governor Gianforte’s “Lower Yellowstone River Corridor Advisory Committee” and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 7 access professionals. This year, we are partnering with Pheasants Forever, specifically the Build A Wildlife Area® (BAWA) Program for the fee-title acquisition of the Wildcat-North property. This project will secure public “walk-in” and “boat-in” access to the property for anglers, floaters, hunters, hikers, and wildlife viewing opportunities along two miles of the Yellowstone River shoreline.
“This project represents a very unique opportunity for Pheasants Forever, Montana FWP, and our valued partners to permanently protect riparian habitat and increase public access along one of Montana’s premier river systems,” Montana and Wyoming Coordinator for Pheasants Forever, Hunter VanDonsel, said. “The time is right to acquire these parcels and create a large-scale complex of publicly accessible lands that can be enjoyed by future generations. There is overwhelming support for this strategic land acquisition project among partner organizations, hunters, anglers, and the public.”
What can you do to help? We’ll be pulling derelict fences and nasty noxious weeds in the months to come, but for now, you can help us hit our goal of $50,000 by bidding at this year’s MeatEater Auction House of Oddities. This year we’re featuring Steven Rinella’s personal Weatherby Mark V chambered in .300 Win. Mag., an arrow fired (and signed!) by Ted Nugent during Whiplash Bash, and a whitetail buck or turkey hunt at Doug Duren’s Farm (among many other awesome items).
Every dollar goes to Wildcat Bend through our Land Access Initiative, and direct donations are possible here, or simply by rounding up at checkout at the MeatEater Store. Tax deductible donations are also accepted by mail at Pheasants Forever, MT Build a Wildlife Area, 1783 Buerkle Circle, St. Paul, MN 55110.
The total Wildcat Bend property is divided into two parcels, north and south. The south parcel is adjacent to existing state land managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation which includes a boat ramp and campground at the Far West fishing access site. If successful the total “complex” will be 2,300 acres of publicly-accessible land with four miles of river frontage. It will be managed and owned as a new Wildlife Management Area (WMA) by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The public comment process has already begun for the proposed state-run WMA.
Check out the Auction House of Oddities now!