When we got to the ranch, Ed told us he had found a blood trail. That was a problem. That meant that there were possible poachers on the ranch.
The Jacobson Ender ranch in Montana is 'Predator-Friendly'. That's a term I've never heard of. It means the ranch recognizes the crucial role wildlife predators (Wolf's, Coyote's, Bears, etc) play in the delicate ecosystem and so use humane practices to keep their livestock safe, but also the sorounding wildlife as well.
Hunting on the ranch is only allowed for sustenance, and if the Deer and Elk population are low, there will be no hunting. Protecting the animals and the habitat is the most impotant priority and the family only eats hormone-free, sustainable meat. (Bre won't order a steak in a restaurant unless it's grass-fed, local, but also, importantly— from a certified predator-friendly ranch).
When an animal is killed, the whole beast is used. There is no waste. When harvesting they either do it themselves—or have a local butcher do it. The butcher can make up steaks, ground meet, sausage, or even jerky. The sausage (above) is from a recently killed Deer that was converted to 'Summer Sausage'. (Summer sausage is a sausage that exists without refrigeration, and uses leftover scrap and organ meat that would otherwise be wasted). This particular sausage has cheese and Jalapeño in it. It's taste is reminsce of Salami, and it's great with German Mustard, Cheddar and pickles. (We had ours with Cherry Chutney).
As we were leaving, Bre and her dad were putting up the cameras to observe all the animals on the ranch. It's their version of "hunting". That way they can monitor and protect their livestock and their local wildlife. So far they have seen grizzly and Black bears, Mountain lions, Wolves, Elk and Deer.
To learn more about 'Predator-friendly' click here.
Big thank you to Bre and Ed Ender for allowing me to come out to their beautiful ranch and learn about their practices.
(Pics: Dimity Jones)