Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

Abstract

This thesis seeks to explore the history of hunting within the state of Montana. This thesis will recount the massive destruction of game that occurred within the nation during the 19th century and the rise of a sportsman’s ethic that sought to counteract such devastation. The thesis further examines how a sportsman’s ethic emphasizing self- restraint and fair chase has been incorporated into Montana’s Legal Code and how that process has demonstrated a correlation with the broader reforms of the Progressive Movement of the early twentieth century. I chose to use Montana as a case study for three reasons. First, hunting in Montana has a broad legacy for many individuals and groups, yet it has received little scholarly attention. Second, laws within a society do not stand merely as prohibitions against behavior, but also promote a specific ethic within the society. As such, the study of a state’s laws provides a glimpse into the values prized by that state. Finally, due to my connection to Montana, such a project would be infinitely easier that attempting to study another state’s hunting legacy.

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