Crazy Laws in Montana and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in Montana and Fun Facts
For a sparsely populated state, Montana has some of the craziest laws in the U.S. Unmarried women may not fish alone … raising a pet rat is illegal … so is playing ‘folf’ at night (that is not a misspelling) … you cannot have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. Read all about these 18 weird, dumb, crazy laws.
Crazy Laws in the State of Montana
• In Montana, it is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.
Are you asking why? Well, so am I!
• One may not pretend to abuse an animal in the presence of a minor.
So . . . that means that actual abuse is okay?
• Prostitution is considered a ‘crime against the family.’
It’s also a crime against your pocketbook. The first offense by a prostitute’s client carries a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for one year or both. The second offense carries a fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for 5 years … or both.
• It is illegal for a man and a woman to have sex in any other position other than missionary style.
Don’t be arbitrary, or even contrary, if you don’t favor missionary, the law becomes your adversary.
• Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them.
Warning! To all members of the Cleveland Indians baseball team – stay out of Montana.
• It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.
Who is the chaperone for?
• It is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
You just know that some very upset married male legislator enacted that crazy law.
• It is a misdemeanor to show movies that depict acts of felonious crime.
It has been deemed erroneous to show films that are felonious.
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Montana
• In Billings – no person shall raise pet rats.
Why would any person want to?
• It is illegal to bring a bomb, grenade, explosive missile or similar device, or rocket to city council proceedings.
Did one or more sentient citizens actually do that to provoke that law?
• In Excelsior Springs – hard objects may not be thrown by hand.
But the law does not forbid kicking them . . . so far.
• Worrying squirrels will not be tolerated.
Didn’t we examine this law in Mississippi?
• In Helena – it is illegal to annoy passersby on sidewalks with a revolving water sprinkler.
What if you don't turn the sprinkler on?
• In Missoula – no item may be thrown across a street.
Attention: Newspaper delivery folks – this law pertains to you.
• The game of ‘folf’ may not be played at night.
I thought ‘folf’ might be a misspelling of golf but it turns out that ‘folf’ courses are popular in Missoula – you might know the sport as Frisbee golf.
• In Kalispell – all pool tables must be able to be viewed from the street outside a billiard hall where they are located.
Let the sun shine in on those dens of iniquity.
• In Salisbury – pop bottles are not to be thrown on the ground.
If you throw that pop bottle, the time served may be a lottle.
• In Whitehall – it is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.
Whaaat? Are there ‘Ben Hur’ copycats living here?
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information
• Various indigenous peoples lived in the Montana territory for thousands of years.
They included the Assinboine, the Crow, the Cheyenne, the Blackfeet, the Gros Ventres, the Kootenai, and the Salish.
• Montana's name is derived from the Spanish word for mountain – ‘montaña.’
• Montana, with an area of 147,040 square miles, is the fourth largest state in the U.S. after Alaska, Texas and California.
• The Travelers Rest State Park in Lolo is a site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped in 1805 and 1806.
• Speaking of Lolo, the first luge run in North America was built at Lolo Hot Springs on Lolo Pass in 1965.
• The first permanent settlement by Euro-Americans in Montana was St. Mary’s Mission founded in 1841 near present-day Stevensville.
• In 1847, Fort Benton was established as the uppermost fur-trading post on the Missouri River.
• Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana and northern Wyoming was the first national park in the nation established in 1872.
• Old Faithful Geyser is one of the most popular features in the park. It erupts approximately every 91 minutes.
• Due to the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region, Yellowstone Park experiences between 1000 and 2000 measurable earthquakes a year. Most are relatively minor, measuring a magnitude of 3 or weaker.
• Glacier National Park is dominated by mountains which were carved into their present shapes by the huge glaciers of the last ice age. The park contains a dozen large lakes and 700 smaller ones.
• Tourism is important to the economy with over ten million visitors a year to Glacier National Park, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.
• The ‘Going to the Sun Road’ in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.
• Just south of Billings, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his troops fought the Plains Indians in the Battle of Little Bighorn, often referred to as Custer’s Last Stand.
The battle took place near the Little Big Horn River in Montana Territory, and was the most prominent action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.
• By 1888, about 50 millionaires lived in Helena, more per capita than in any city in the world. They had made their fortunes from gold. About $3.6 billion of gold (in today's dollars) was taken from Last Chance Gulch over a 20-year period.
• The numerous gold miners also attracted the development of a thriving red light district. Among the well-known local madams was Josephine ‘Chicago Joe’ Airey, who built a thriving business empire between 1874 and 1893, becoming one of the largest and most influential landowners in Helena.
• The state boasts the largest breeding population of trumpeter swans in the lower U.S. The trumpeter swan is the largest extant species of waterfowl. Adults may measure 4 to 6 feet long and weigh 21 to 28 pounds.
• The Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area is one of the best places to view golden eagles in the country. More golden eagles have been seen in a single day than anywhere else in the U.S.
• Rogers pass is located between Great Falls and Missoula. The region is noted for its inaccessibility and is one of the last strongholds for the grizzly bear.
• Only about 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48 states of the U.S. Of these, about 800 live in Montana. Most adult female grizzlies weigh 290 to 400 pounds, while adult males weigh, on average, 400 to 790 pounds.
Lewis & Clark named the bear, ‘grizzly,’ which means ‘grizzled’ – that is, with golden and grey tips of hair.
Scientists do not use the name, grizzly bear, but call it the North American brown bear.
• More gem-quality sapphires are produced in Montana than anywhere else in North America.
‘Yogo sapphire’ is the preferred term for gems, generally cornflower blue, that are found in the Yogo Gulch located in Little Belt Mountains.
• The Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area contains as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans during migration.
Freezeout, a stage station, was established in 1885 and was said to be so cold that no one would stay there the entire winter.
• The American white pelican is the longest bird native to North America.
Large and plump, it has an overall length of about 50 to 70 inches, courtesy of the huge beak which measures 11.3–15.2 inches in males and 10.3–14.2 inches in females.
It has a wingspan of about 95 to 120 inches
• The Montana Dinosaur Trail is a series of fourteen dinosaur-themed museums, state parks and other attractions in twelve communities located in the central and eastern regions of the state. Promotion of the Trail includes a ‘Prehistoric Passport’ on which visitors collect dinosaur icon stamps from each museum they visit.
• The first fossils of Maiasaura were discovered at Egg Mountain near Choteau in 1978. The find included a nesting colony with eggs, embryos and young animals.
Why was this so significant?
Because the discovery showed that Maiasaura (the name means ‘good mother reptile’) fed her young while they were in the nest, the first time such evidence was obtained for a dinosaur. The Maiasaura were large, 30-feet long, and lived in the area about 76 million years ago.
• Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park is the point where two of the principal continental divides in North America converge, the Great Divide and the Northern Divide. From this point, waters flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic Ocean via Hudson Bay.
• Flathead Lake in the northwest corner of Montana, south of Kalispell, is approximately 30 miles long and 16 miles wide, and is considered the largest natural freshwater lake in the west. It encompasses nearly 200 square miles.
How did Flathead get its name? The lake is named for the Salish tribe who were erroneously labeled ‘flathead’ by the Pend d’Oreille tribe who thought the Salish bound their babies on cradle-boards artificially flattening the backs of their heads.
• Jeannette Pickering Rankin of Missoula was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. In 1916, she was instrumental in passing the 19th Amendment, giving women throughout the country the right to vote.
• The Beartooth Mountains in south central Montana are part of the 900,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The name of the mountain range is attributed to a rugged peak found in the range, Beartooth Peak, that has the appearance of a bear's tooth.
Granite Peak located there is the highest point in the state at 12,807 feet.
• Near the Pines Recreation Area located between Fort Peck and Glasgow, Montana, as many as 100 sage grouse perform their extraordinary spring mating rituals.
Mating Ritual of the Sage Grouse
• Placer silver and gold were mined in the 1860s along Silver Creek at Marysville. In 1876, ‘Irish Tommy’ Cruse discovered rich, deep veins of silver and gold and named his mine the Drumlummon Mine, after his parish in Ireland. He sold the mine to a British syndicate in 1882 and became an instant millionaire and philanthropist.
Cruse dedicated part of his fortune to constructing a new cathedral in Helena in the early 1900s. The mine has produced more than $15 million in gold, making it one of Montana’s richest gold mines.
• The town of Ekalaka is named for Ijkalaka, the Ogallala Sioux niece of Chief Red Cloud and the bride of David Russell, who opened a store and saloon there in 1885. ‘Butte Standard’ reporter Gary Langley wrote in 1975: ‘Ekalaka – This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s the end of the road. We’re supposed to be the only county in the U.S. where you can drive in but you have to back out.’
- Strange Foods – Fried Cow Brain Sandwich
Have you ever eaten a tasty Cow Brain Sandwich? The outside of the sandwich is crunchy, the inside spongy. Now you can prepare your own Fried Calf Brain Nuggets with this simple recipe.
• Rocky Mountain oysters is a term for a dish made of bull, pig or sheep testicles. The organs are often deep-fried after being peeled, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and sometimes pounded flat.
This delicacy, also known as Montana tender-groins, is most often served as an appetizer with a cocktail sauce dip.
• Buffalo in the wild can still be viewed at the National Bison Range about an hour north of Missoula at Moiese west of the Mission Mountains. The herd consists of 350 to 500 animals.
• The town of Fishtail was not named for a Mr. (or Ms.) Fishtail. It was named for the nearby butte that looked like one – a fishtail, not a butt.
It was established on John Maner’s homestead, when the area was opened to homesteading following the ceding of this part of the Crow Indian Reservation in 1892.
• The Yaak community is the most northwestern settlement in the state, and derives its name from the Yaak River. 'A’ak' is a Kootenai name meaning ‘Arrow.’
The Kootenai River forms the shape of a drawn bow; its tributary, the Yaak River, is its arrow.
• Montana's first boomtown, Bannack, has been preserved as a ghost town state park along once gold-laden Grasshopper Creek. Significant buildings include the 1862 jail (the first in the territory), the combination Masonic Hall and schoolhouse built in 1874, the 1875 Beaverhead County Courthouse, and the 1877 Methodist Church.
Each year, during the third weekend of July, ‘Bannack Days’ are observed to celebrate the town’s colorful history.
• The Roe River flows near Great Falls and competes with the D River in Lincoln City, Oregon for the title of the world's shortest river. The length of both rivers varies from 58 to 200 feet.
The source for this small river is Giant Springs. The water has a constant temperature of 54°F and originates from melting snow in the Little Belt Mountains 60 miles away.
State grass – Bluebunch wheatgrass
State butterfly – Mourning cloak
State fish – Blackspotted cutthroat trout
State tree – Ponderosa pine
State gemstones – Sapphire and Agate
State fossil – Maiasaura fossil
State flower – Bitterroot
State nicknames – the Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Land of the Shining Mountains and The Last Best Place
State motto – ‘Oro y Plata’ (gold and silver)
State bird – Western meadowlark
State animal – Grizzly bear
• The name of Montana’s largest state park, Makoshika, meant ‘bad earth’ or ‘bad lands’ to Sioux Indians. But, despite its name, it’s a paradise for geologists.
The park has over 11,000 acres of layered rock formations that include fossil remains of dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops and wooly mammoths.
• Because of its abundant copper, Butte was once known as ‘the richest hill on earth.’
• A symbolic food introduced by early immigrant miners is povitica – a Slavic nut bread pastry still available in many Butte markets and bakeries.
• The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the U.S., and is home to 13 Tyrannosaurus rex specimens, including one of only two complete skeletons that have ever been found.
• Robert Craig ‘Evel’ Knievel, born in Butte, was an American daredevil motorcyclist.
During his career he suffered more than 433 bone fractures, earning an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of ‘most bones broken in a lifetime.’
• Miles City is known as the ‘Cow Capital of the West’ where cowboy traditions live on through events like the annual Bucking Horse Sale held every May.
• Chief Stone Child, a Chippewa, led a coalition that successfully lobbied the federal government for a reservation for the Chippewa-Cree.
The government established the reservation on part of the abandoned Fort Assinniboine military reserve in 1916.
Due to an incorrect translation of Stone Child’s name, it was named Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. The town is named for him as well.
(Had to include this fun fact dedicated to my late husband, Rocky.)
Painter and sculptor Charles Marion Russell known as ‘the cowboy artist’ created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in the western U.S.
The C. M. Russell Museum Complex located in Great Falls houses more than 2,000 Russell artworks, personal objects, and his original log cabin studio.
Fast Fun Facts
• Robert Redford's 1992 film of Norman Mclean's novel, ‘A River Runs Through It,’ was filmed in Montana and brought national attention to both fly fishing and the state.
• The coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states ever recorded was -70°F in Rogers Pass on January 20, 1954.
• In Montana, the word, ‘spendy,’ means expensive used in the same way the rest of us would use ‘costly.’
• There are more cattle in Montana than there are people: 2,500,00 head of cattle and 998,000 people.
There’s an old joke that Montana is just a small town, with really long roads. True!
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."