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Presettlement Wildlife and Habitat of Montana:
An Overview

Annotation Of Expeditions And Individuals Recording Natural History Notes

Osborne Russell, 1833-1843:

Russell was a fur trapper who roamed the northern Rockies from 1834-1843. During this period, he made several trips into Montana. He traveled through what is now Yellowstone National Park on at least two occasions and gives a good description of the Lamar River Valley. Russell also made it clear that elk were the dominant large ungulate of the Yellowstone Park region and that bison were to be found along the Yellowstone River one day's ride north of Gardner's Hole. Russell conducted a considerable amount of trapping along the Yellowstone River and its tributaries, and provides detailed descriptions of the wildlife and habitat. Russell reported immense herds of bison in the vicinity of the Shields River and considered seeing seven or eight grizzly bears in the morning while checking traps as normal. He also traveled in the Jefferson and Beaverhead Valleys. Among all the notes kept by trappers in Montana, his are probably the most detailed and useful in terms of natural history. Figure 7 shows the routes traveled by Russell while in Montana.

Haines, A.L., ed. 1955.  Journal of a trapper.  Oregon Historical   
     Society, Portland. 191pp. [Journal of Osborne Russell].      

York, L.A.  ed.  1914.  Journal of a trapper, or, Nine years in the Rocky 
     Mountains: 1834-1843.

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