Slot knife workshop, Bat-tastic, mammoth hunt coming up at state parks in Great Falls

Several activities are coming up at Montana State Parks in Great Falls.

The slot knife workshop with Billy Maxwell at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is Aug. 8-9 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.

Join First Peoples Buffalo Jump and Maxwell to learn and build your own primitive slot knife. This knife is the most common knife in North America. This Native American tool is used for many different purposes but is all you need to skin out an animal.

There will be two classes offered on each day; limit 8 per class. Classes will last 3 hours, and individuals will make their own slot knife to take home. Cost is $30 per person, one child per adult free. Call 406-866-2217 to reserve your spot. Walk-ups without reservations will be turned away if the class is full.

Farm kid turned cultural anthropologist, Maxwell has been working and researching museum collection objects and talking to elderly native hide workers since 1979. Most of his day is taken up working bison, pronghorn, cattle, elk, & deer into buckskin or parfleche’ using old methods and materials, creating robes, tipi hides, and more. Maxwell worked as a researcher/interpreter at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls. He has a bachelors in history and an masters in cultural anthropology from University of Montana and is the moderator for the Prairie Material Studies group on Facebook.

The park is located 10 miles south of Great Falls on I-15, take the Ulm exit, then 3.5 miles North-west on paved county road.

“Bat-tastic!” a fun, informational bat program will be at Giant Springs State Park 8-10 p.m. Aug. 10.

Come down to Giant Springs State Park and learn about the bats of Montana. Bats are mysterious and often misunderstood creatures. Listen and learn myth from truth as you enjoy an evening nature walk around the park. Participants will also have a chance to identify different bat species and view bats in flight after dark.

Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a flashlight. For more information, call 406-727-1212.

The 10th Annual Mammoth Hunt at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is Aug. 10-11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Try your hand at an ancient form of hunting – the atlatl, a 10,000-year-old weapon that predates the bow and arrow. Learn about the atlatl and practice using this unique hunting weapon. Visitors may also shoot primitive bow and arrows and throw tomahawks. Join park staff and volunteers to learn more about these weapons and other traditional skills.

Billy Maxwell will be at the Mammoth Hunt both days sharing his knowledge and primitive skills.

For more information contact Clark Carlson-Thompson, park manager at 406-866-2219, ccarlson-thompson@mt.gov or Alice Southworth, park ranger at 406-866-2217, alice.southworth@mt.gov .