Open Range and the Land Owner
Open Range And The Land Owner
Wikipedia 2016 states: In the Western United States and Canada, open range is rangeland where cattle roam freely regardless of land ownership. Where there are “open range” laws, those wanting to keep animals off their property must erect a fence to keep animals out; this applies to public roads as well. Open Range, the 2003 Western movie co-starring, co-produced, and directed by Kevin Costner..
We are not talking about a Kevin Costner movie.
What Is Open Range?
It is an area declared as such by the local county or other municipal government. This affects the landowners in many ways, creating an area helpful to farmers and ranchers. In effect it declares that livestock can roam anywhere in this designated area unless a landowner fences them out.
How Is It Created?
Areas designated as such are usually open grazing areas. Local ranches, often with the help of the local farm bureau, petition the county to choose an area. By doing so ranchers are not liable for damage caused by their animals to other land owners unless that owner has constructed a fence.
How Do I Find Open Range Areas
The county keeps a record of these areas and you can ask for the information. Check before you buy if you are concerned about this. You will also see signs along the highway when you enter such an area.
How Does It Affect Land Owners?
It changes the standard from “fence in” to “fence out”. In a fence out area livestock owners are not required to fence in their livestock. In this situation any land owner that doesn’t want livestock on their property must build a fence to keep them out.
In areas that are not designated, livestock owners are required to fence in their animals.
How Does It Affect Motorists?
It also affects motorists. If you hit a cow or any other livestock with your car you are liable for the cost of the animal. The owner of the animal is not liable for any damage to you or your car.
If you hit livestock in an area that is not designated you are not responsible for the animal but the owner is still not liable for your car. This is the law in Utah and Washington but could vary in other states.
Most areas are “fence in” meaning the owners of livestock are required to fence in their animals. Open range is “fence out” meaning if you want to to keep livestock off your land you will have to build a fence.