Montana Owners Reminded to Get Brand Inspections for Horses

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) is reminding owners—specifically those who hunt with horses—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.”

Paul Johnson, Montana Department of Livestock district inspector for Cascade, Lewis, Clark, and Teton counties, said, “It’s a pretty common violation during hunting season. 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 website; annual and lifetime inspections can also be issued at livestock markets (marked in blue on the map).

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