‘New West’ series kicks off with a look at Montana wolves

Narratively, which describes itself as a digital publication and storytelling studio based in New York, has launched a series called “The New Wild West.”

The first piece in the series was contributed by Livingston resident Scott McMillion, publisher of the Montana Quarterly and author of “Mark of the Grizzly: True Stories of Recent Grizzly Bear Attacks and the Hard Lessons Learned.”

His Narratively piece, “Hunting Among Wolves,” covers a lot of ground. It is partly a rumination on the tradition of hunting, on the different worlds inhabited by him and Dylan, his grandson and hunting companion. He also writes about the relationship between prey and predators, about the proliferation of “No Trespassing” signs, about the effects of wolf reintroduction on wildlife.

And it’s full of good writing. One example:

“The day after we found the wolf beds, we tried a different spot, not so far as the bird flies but with a lot of human boundaries in between, roads and fences and such. Those fences create yet another complication, one that Dylan is also learning. They generally indicate property boundaries. Some people will allow us to use their land and others won’t, as is their right, and we respect that. We found a couple hundred elk, but they were on the wrong side of the barbed wire so we started hiking away from them, to public land that is everyone’s property, hoping to find more elk. We found fresh tracks and beds, which was exciting, then a scrape tree, where a buck or bull had displayed his lust during the rut, mangling a scruffy lodgepole pine with his antlers, leaving his scent in the bark and probably getting some pine sap between his ears. And there, just above the scrape, we saw bear scratches, claw marks ripping the wood. Predator and prey marking the same spot.”

This should be a series worth following, if this introduction is any indication.

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