Crow Indians – After Action Report

Hunt dates: Sep 2019
Written: Feb 2020

Summary:

I was both amazed and appalled hunting with the Crow and one extended family in particular. They are by far some of the nicest, most welcoming, and fun bunch of people I have ever met. And like many of my experiences with welcoming people, the poverty on the reservation is extreme.

It’s one thing to see it outside driving as the reservation noticeably changes and the trash becomes more apparent. It’s another thing altogether to interact with them in their home, within their family unit, doing something intimate like hunting in the woods in their style.

The hunting experience itself was enjoyable primarily because of the breathtaking scenery and the warm people. We hunted for elk hoofing it through rough terrain on par with my Idaho elk hunting trip. The snow and temperature made it a bit harder, but we didn’t have any luck despite bear sightings.

We hunted on Crow tribal land, a region hunted for thousands of years and with lots of history. The tribes that settled the northern plains used the ruggedness of these mountains to escape “civilization” for many decades.

It’s an awe-inspiring place and even more cool to spend time with Crow on top of Windy Point, look down, and see herds of bison as they would have done so many years ago. It was like looking back in time.

When we finally found a herd of mule deer, two of the smaller boys fired on the animals. I was saddened and visibly upset at them for shooting no less than 10 shots before hitting an animal and at least 15 to kill one including a last moment shot to the back of the head.

How they could allow themselves to be so unprepared to take a life was saddening and their flippant nature was even worse. But alas, I try not to judge and I realize my ethics around hunting are a privilege.

I took over, said a prayer, and helped them through the butchering process. I set off from that kill with the heart of a mule deer they did not want and would not eat.

I was given the name Little Beaver by Crazy Dog Leader, which was cool. I enjoyed my time with them even if my pesky expectations were not met. But being there, being reminded of gratitude for all I have, and hunting in such a sacred area was meaningful for me.

Key Learnings:

#1. Expectations of people usually sets them up to fail.

Cool Tidbits & Takeaways:

  • Crow Indians eat the bison kidneys raw straight from the animal
  • The family I hunted with are Sun Dance chiefs
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