Mementos To Markers - Boots on the Fence in Montana

I grew up on a large ranching operation in central Montana.  So, seeing these types of traditions are commonplace for me.  I even knew one of the more popular traditions when it comes to seeing a boot on a fence line in our state.

What I didn't realize is that there are several different meanings behind this common practice by ranchers and farmers across the state.  Heck, it even happens across the country in many states.

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No, There Really Isn't a Definitive Answer to This Question

And really, there probably isn't a right or wrong answer either.  Just different interpretations of the meaning behind it.  Most commonly when you notice a boot on fence post, it is a remembrance of someone or something by that rancher or farmer.  Perhaps a family member, or even a favorite horse or family pet may be the meaning behind seeing it.


But there is other lore that belongs to the boot on a post.  Have you ever heard of some of these explanations?

More Explanations for a Boot on the Fence Post in Montana

In an article found at The Family Handyman, the reasons behind the boot on a fence post vary.

Some of those include:

  • The boots have worn out and are representative of the hard work the rancher has done in them.  It's a tradition to hang them to show the hard work the boots made possible.

Another interesting tidbit about those boots:

  • The rancher is home.  This is a little dated for this one, but it still makes sense.  Before electricity and phones, a rancher would point the toe of the boot towards the gate to signify that he was at home.  A toe turned away from the gate meant he wasn't.

What other traditions have you heard about a boot on a post?  Let us know in the comments of our social media, with the appchat feature or you can email us here.

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