The Montana Department of Livestock is reminding hunters that horses are required to have a brand inspection before crossing county lines.
According to Montana Code 81-3-211 (2), it is “unlawful to remove or cause to be removed…any livestock…unless the livestock have been inspected for brands by a state stock inspector or deputy state stock inspector and a certificate of the inspection has been issued…for the purpose of the transportation.”
“It’s a pretty common violation during hunting season,” said Paul Johnson, Montana Department of Livestock district inspector for Cascade, Lewis & Clark and Teton counties. “Producers move livestock all the time and are generally pretty familiar with transportation requirements, but sometimes hunters just don’t know.”
Not knowing could cost you $135, Johnson said, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised to see MDOL inspectors at popular trailheads, check stations and other places where hunters congregate.
Johnson recommends that hunters get their horses inspected in advance of their planned departure.
“The inspection is good for a year of movement, or you can get a lifetime, so there’s no good reason to wait until the last minute,” he said. “If you hunt on horses, just add getting a brand inspection to your check list.”
An annual inspection costs $6, and a lifetime is $25.
A map of brand inspectors by county can be found on the department’s web site; annual and lifetime inspections can also be issued at livestock markets (marked in blue on the map). If you need an inspector but don’t have access to the web, call (406) 444-9431 and we’ll track one down for you.
(Report by Montana FWP; Cover photo: gothunts.com)