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Ag in Action 2017

Montana brand facts

• Montana brands from the years 1873 through 1950 are

available on microfilm at the Montana Historical Society

archives,, th

anks to a donation by author

Ivan Doig.

• Brands must be re-recorded every 10 years, starting from

1911. The next year for re-recording brands is 2021.

• Brands which are not re-recorded are inactivated. If

they meet the current standards for a brand, they may be

reactivated, but if they don’t, a new brand must be developed

and recorded.

• Even ornamental brands must meet brand standards and

be applied for.

• The official Brand Book kept by the Brands Enforcement

Division shows over 2,650 brands recorded for Fergus County.



| Contributing Writer

Anthropologists have found that cave dwellers andmodern rodeo cowboys have similar skeletal damages. Not all cowboys

are rodeo cowboys and some are in fact cowgirls, or, as I like to call them, cowhands (because it has been a few years since

I was a girl). In addition, Dad’s primary mandate on the ranch was “make a hand.” Standing by and

watching someone work was not really an option. However, as with most things in life, ranch work and

the people who do it changes over time. Sure, handling livestock and the associated equipment can be

dangerous. Occupational record keepers have noted that farmers and ranchers hurt themselves worse

than in any other occupation. Logically then, to avoid maiming or dismemberment or worse, safety is

important. Whoever said cowhands were logical?

Dad modernized our operation over time by putting a DoAll Loader on our 1030 Case, buying a

Ford with a DewEze, and later putting a Hydra Bed bale loader on a Dodge. Then we needed a few

round bale feeders. Then I talked him into a portable head catch because pulling a calf alone with a

rope around a hitching post was going to cost me a finger. Then we decided we had to have some of

those portable panels.

Dad was a genuine cowboy for 60 years before he trailered his horse anywhere, but that gooseneck

fifth wheel trailer sure looked fine. We lamented not having a gun rack in the cab on which to hang our

ropes. We were real ranchers now. We discovered – with some trial and error – moving that awkward

heavy stuff, sometimes further than one wanted, to road meant a tractor was necessary. The Hydra Bed became our favorite

tool. With a couple of small 6-foot chains with hooks on either end, we could move anything with the arms of the Hydra Bed.

Ranch Rule No.1

Tracy Wortman


ontinued on page 34