Channel 19

Todd Dills

Have truck, can’t hunt

| January 19, 2010

Over-the-road drivers deal with all manner of annoyances, some rising to the level of outright injustice — I think immediately of the numerous times I’ve watched a fellow auto-driver cut across three lanes of traffic at 70-plus mph within mere feet of a rig’s front bumper, to name just one — but writing in the Montana newspaper Billings Gazette, reporter Brett French recently uncovered one such injustice that might take the cake for most downright silly.

French’s story, “Trucking couple doesn’t qualify to hunt, fish in home state,” centers on the team trucking couple of Joyce and Bob Davis of Shepherd, Mont., who were recently told by Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks that, since they were only home around 75 days of the year, their hunting and fishing license was not valid. Montana law stipulates that residents must reside in the state for at least 120 days in any given year to qualify to hunt and fish there, and the Davises found out about this after being contacted by the Department about a complaint filed against Bob, Joyce told French, adding that she suspected a disgruntled former employee of Bob’s was the complainer.

Other relevant state regulations include one that says a resident “must have been physically living in Montana for at least 180 consecutive days immediately prior to purchasing a resident license,” wrote French, and the existence of voting and vehicle registrations and taxes filed in Montana, if at all. Exceptions to the residency requirements are made in the law for “members of the military and those in federal service such as Congressmen and congressional aides,” wrote French. None exists, however, for truckers.

As French quite nicely put it, “Joyce said she and Bob don’t live in Montana because they like cold winters, it’s because they like to hunt and fish in the little bit of free time they have. She joked they could move to Wyoming, where there is no state income tax, and use the money they save paying taxes to Montana to afford out-of-state licenses to hunt in Montana.” Find the full story here.