By Montana Grant

Posted: June 15, 2023

Wildlife means that the critters are not domesticated. These “Wild” animals or fish have not come from a preserve, hatchery, or manmade and manipulated place. The critters and fish are native, and natural to the ecosystem that they have evolved in.

Wild fish and critters are not always Native. Ring necked pheasants originated from China and were brought to America from other countries. When they were released, they moved in and stayed. Ecosystems were close enough to their homes that they managed to find a way to survive.

Ecosystems require balance. For every predator there is prey. Checks and balances keep Nature in balance. Sadly, humans try to mix things up and the results are often disastrous. Invasive species can take over an ecosystem especially when there is not a check or balance to keep their population under control.

In Montana, evidence of this can be seen with lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, smallmouth bass in the Yellowstone River, snails in our lakes, feral pigs, and harmful algae in our waters. Balance is essential for an ecosystem to stay healthy. The original, Native, wolves and Buffalo, are extinct and were replaced by similar species. Change is inevitable in all ecosystems.

Most of our cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, horses, and domesticated critters were created by humans so we could fence them up when we needed them. Hunting was no longer required. Deer, buffaloes, bears, and other animals need to stay Wild.

Training is possible to use wildlife for other reasons but is it appropriate? Bears can be trained as cubs to get along with people. Deer have been ridden and used as wagon and work animals. Bison have been ridden and used to pull plows but is that the best use of their heritage and anatomy?

Native trout are preferred over Wild fish. Natural wildlife is more natural than a preserve. Domesticated critters can survive thanks to their handlers, but not in the wild. Natural migration does happen, and the world is becoming a smaller place. Cubs, fawns, and other wild critters raised in captivity, or as pets, end badly when released back into nature.

Humans may be able to take advantage of Wild animals but its best to leave them alone. Riding a deer, bison, bear, or moose has been done, but it didn’t help the animal.

It was just a Wild ride!

Montana Grant

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Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing