A Fence Conflict between a Ranch and the Government

35064536 - ranch fence row countryside rural california mt shastaAs many fence owners learn the hard way, the first and most important step to building a fence is utilizing the proper resources to ensure that the fence will be built in an appropriate location. Homeowners in neighborhoods with close boundaries often struggle with this and are forced to strip away fences to meet proper codes, but it turns out that even ranch owners with hundreds of acres of land are even guilty of crossing boundaries.

Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd.

Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. owns five commercial ranches in five states, including Montana’s historic N Bar Ranch. It is Wilks Ranches’ goal to improve Angus bloodlines with each new calf crop, a goal that they work toward on over half a million acres of ranch land.

A Hard Lesson Learned

Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. put up a fence at their famed N Bar Ranch location in the Durfee Hills of Fergus County, Montana. The owners reported that they built the fence in 2014 in order to mark boundaries between private and federal land. This effort was meant to help hunters stay away from private land, a difficult task without some sort of land marking since most hunters helicopter into the landlocked public areas.

However, irritated elk hunters complained about the fence to the government, which then ordered a professional survey to determine the legality of the new fence. It was finally determined that about one-third of the nine mile fence sat on federal land, ranging anywhere from a few feet to 20 feet over the boundary line.

In an effort to maintain positive relations with the government, Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. agreed to repair all of the damage caused to trees and vegetation when the fences were construction, as well as pay $70,000 to cover the costs of the inquiry and fence survey.

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