Produced, filmed and edited by Jason D.B. Kauffman
A Season of Predators is a feature-length documentary film that explores creative approaches that some in the northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho and Montana have begun to use to reduce human-predator conflict. The film is set in two rural valleys where expanding predator populations have led to difficult resource challenges.
A Season of Predators was produced, filmed and edited by Jason D.B. Kauffman during his master’s studies at the University of Montana’s School of Journalism. The documentary was filmed between May 2011 and April 2012.
The film shines a light on some of the unique challenges rural westerners face living alongside large predators within the upper Blackfoot Valley in western Montana and the Wood River Valley in south-central Idaho. It also considers the collaborative, community based solutions residents of these two landscapes have developed and employed to address livestock losses to gray wolves and grizzly bears. In the Blackfoot Valley, trust built up over decades through collaboratively addressing pressing issues like invasive weeds, water quality and stream restoration have, in part, set the stage for successful partnerships related to predators. In the Wood River Valley, sheep ranchers, conservationists and state and federal agencies have successfully partnered to reduce sheep depredations by wolves since their return to the valley in 2007.
A Season of Predators seeks answers for why these two communities have been successful addressing these challenges and then examines whether these types of efforts may be viewed as emerging models for other Western communities facing similar challenges.