Monday, July 12, 2010

Montana Mondays: Law of the Land

Living in Montana means learning how to protect the land and animals from a young age. Okay, this little guy thinks it's play! Caring for the land is an innate Montanan value taught to our very young. People here are strong stewards of the beauty that surrounds us. You'll find entire communities pitching in to weed the Bob Marshall Wilderness, build playgrounds with green products, and protect/recycle all over Montana. People here are huge volunteers for community and family. In the city, people have the standard 1/4 acre lots. But a little ways out from our four main cities you'll still find large ranches, farms, and homesteads.

There are a lot of laws put in place to protect the land, wildlife, and forestry. One unusual law that surprises people is called Fence Out. Fence Out means that if you don't want other people's livestock, pets, vehicles on your land it's up to you to put up a fence. If your neighbor doesn't mind a wandering herd, then it's tough when all the cows surround your car and it's time to go to work! (Yep, that happens to my friend often!)
 -Helping Grandpa do yard work with Louie, the dog.

Then there's Free Range. That means that if your dog bothers someone else's cattle, they have the right to shoot. Ack! Do I understand it? Absolutely! I don't want a strange dog harassing our animals. It causes dangerous injuries. Ranchers can't lose a cow or horses for a badly behaved dog. It's their livelihood. But if your dog accidentally gets out, it can be very sad. Most folks will call and warn you first though.

Then there's my dog. sigh. He has proven that more than cats have nine lives according to our vet. (See photo above.) He's managed to get out and help a few vehicles park when they didn't expect to be stopping. He happens to be an Olympic fence leaper! He's taken on a coyote and a white tail buck. In his mind, they were intruding in his territory. Let's say it was 1-1 since the buck sent us to the puppy E.R. but the coyote never came back, at least not while Louie is on duty. Of course when someone's sheep end up in our pasture, well, Louie gets to herd them back home. That's if our horse, Chief, doesn't take them out first. (He hates sheep!) But loves his mini buddy, Spanky. Spanky should have been named Napoleon for his "little man's" attitude. He thinks he should get all the attention!
Are the laws in Montana different than in your area?

Do you agree or disagree with them? Why?

Angela Breidenbach
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