Weirdest Laws In Montana

While being the fourth-largest state by landmass, Montana is seventh from the bottom in population. Even though this state has some of the most remote locations of any in the United States, its beauty and ruggedness attract throngs of tourists every year. Whether it's a trip to Glacier National Park, a guided hunting expedition in the vast wilderness, or a relaxing fly-fishing session, Montana has a lot to offer those who love and appreciate the outdoors.

With a smaller population and nearly 90% of its counties being considered frontier (per Sunlight Living), you wouldn't think that Montana would be a state worth mentioning when it came to pointing out weird laws. You might be surprised to learn that this remote state indeed has a surplus of state laws and local ordinances that most of us would consider unusual, to say the least.

Let's take a closer look at some of the weirdest laws the Treasure State still could enforce.

You'll need a chaperone with that sheep, sir

Statewide, Montana has made its citizen abide by some unusual eccentricities. According to Stupid Laws, the production of caviar was only recently allowed in the state. Pretending to abuse an animal in front of a child is a punishable offense in Montana. And showing a film that depicts someone committing a felony could get you cited for a misdemeanor.

Thinking of having a sheep ride in the cab of your pickup truck? Better consider a chaperone for the occasion. Being alone with this farm animal in the cab is a punishable offense. Only in Your State tells us that having more than one alarm clock ringing will also make you run afoul of the law. 

A horrific law that was finally repealed concerned the gathering of indigenous people. An old part of Montana's state code considered a group of more than seven Native Americans a "gathering war party," and made it legal to shoot them (via Stupid Laws).

No rocket launchers in the council chambers

The cities and rural communities in Montana really take the cake for the weirdest laws. In Helena, you can get a fine for throwing any object across a city street (via Only in Your State). This same community bars playing Frisbee golf after dark and won't allow revolving water sprinklers if the water from the spigots reaches the sidewalks or streets (via Stupid Laws). 

For one reason or another, the city of Billings felt it necessary to ban the possession of bombs, rockets, and other large-caliber weapons from the city council chambers. Concealed handguns are fine, however. But using any sort of speed dial while in the city's phone system will get you a fine.

Billings also made it illegal to breed any species of rat. You will also be in trouble if you are found to be in possession of a pea shooter in this city (via Stupid Laws). Finally, Billings has a law regarding music performance. If there is alcohol being served in the establishment where the musicians are playing, it is unlawful for any member of the musical group to leave the stage until the performance has concluded. 

Keep your ice picks off your car tires

Like the city of Helena, Excelsior Springs has a local law prohibiting the throwing of items across any city street. So if you are going to play catch, make sure you and your partner are in the middle of the street, so you can avoid a fine. This town also has a law against "worrying squirrels," whatever that would entail (via Wattpad). 

When in Whitehall, don't attach ice picks to your vehicle's tires (via Stupid Laws). While it's not certain why anyone would want to do this, it's against the law here nonetheless. Avoid throwing soda bottles to the ground in the small town of Salisbury. In fact, you should probably keep to this rule no matter where your travels take you.

Almost every community will allow having a pool or billiard table in your bar. Thankfully, this is also legal in the town of Kalispell. Just make sure that it is visible from the street through a window, or you might get charged with a misdemeanor offense.

A woman cannot open her husband's mail

Like many old laws, some are just plain misogynistic. Only in Your State informs us that it is illegal for a woman to open her husband's mail. This is considered a felony offense! Married women in Montana aren't allowed to fish without a male chaperone on Sundays. And unmarried women aren't allowed to go fishing at all. Reportedly, intercourse in Montana is only legal if it is performed in the approved "missionary" position.

While sex work is illegal almost everywhere in the United States, in Montana this crime is elevated to a new level. Purportedly, sex workers within the boundaries of the state are committing a crime against the family. The penalties for this crime can be stiff, with the accused worker facing a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail for the first offense, and the solicitor is subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in a county jail (per Stupid Laws). 

Old laws can be amended or repealed

As weird as these laws might seem, a lot of them did serve a purpose at one point in the history of these communities. The misogynistic and racist ones aside, most people get a bit of a chuckle when they see what is considered legal nonsense today were actual laws and possibly still on the books. While almost none of them would actually be enforced, we can laugh at the thought of getting a ticket for a band member storming off-stage in the middle of a show (via Trivia Sharp). 

As our legal code is a living, breathing system, over time it will result in the outdated rules and regulations to be amended or eliminated from state and local government. But as you can see from some of the laws outlined here, it's critical for our codes of law to be regularly examined and even scrutinized, so that the justice system is more in sync with the values espoused by the cultural norms and values of today.