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Brand Inspection Requirements

Brand Inspection is required:

  1. Before removal from the County.
  2. Before removal from the State.
  3. Before a change of ownership (selling one head or more cattle or horses).
  4. Before cattle or horses are sold at a livestock auction.
  5. Before slaughter at a licensed establishment.


  • All Brand Inspections must be made in the daylight.
  • The inspection shall include an examination of the livestock and all marks and brands to identify ownership of the livestock.
  • A bill of sale is required to prove ownership. A bill of sale signed by the seller and adequately describing the livestock sold must be presented to the livestock inspector whenever the change of ownership inspection is made or whenever a buyer of livestock requests a county line or state line inspection for livestock.
  • Before any removal or change of ownership may take place, the seller of livestock shall request all required inspections and shall pay the required fees.


Market Consignment permits are available for livestock consigned and delivered directly to a livestock auction or licensed livestock slaughter house located in another county of the state or directly to a authorized shipping point in an adjoining county, where a livestock inspector is available for inspection.

Separate Market Consignment permits must be issued to each owner when the owner or their authorized agents sign the permit certifying the brands. descriptions and destination of the livestock. The cost is $1.00 per permit. Not to be confused with a brand inspection, the livestock are not inspected at the time when the market consignment permit is issued.

Market permits are available online at


Grazing Permits are also available when the following conditions are met:

  1. Livestock must be branded with the Montana recorded brand.
  2. The grazing permit allows the owner or his agent to move his livestock into an adjoining county and return for grazing purposes, when they are being moved to and from land owned or controlled by the owner or his agent.
  3. The grazing permit is valid for 8 months within the 12 month period from date of issuance.
  4. Any livestock moved during the interim period shall be inspected.
  5. A State Stock Inspector may enter the premise where livestock have been transported to and inspect any livestock moved under the grazing permit or any livestock commingled therewith.
  6. Any person transporting strays or livestock not lawfully under his control is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable as provided in 81-3-231.
  7. Separate permits must be made for each owner.
  8. Grazing permits to be issued by State Stock Inspectors.
  9. Payment on all applicable fees.
  10. Violations of these conditions may result in the Department of Livestock refusal to issue a grazing permit the following year.


Annual brand inspections are available that allow travel anywhere within the State for one year from the date of issuance. The cost is $6.00.

Lifetime Inspections are also available for horse owners. They allow travel anywhere within the United States and Canada via a reciprocal agreement with the other states and provinces. The cost is $30.00 and are available through State Stock Inspectors.


Bison transportation permits are required when removing or transporting bison from a county or the state. This is a transportation permit only and the bison are not required to be inspected. Bison transportation permit pricing and ordering can be found here.


Sheep transportation permits are required when removing or transporting sheep from a county or the state. This is a transportation permit only and the sheep are not required to be inspected. Sheep transportation permit pricing and ordering can be found here.


There are no brand or transportation requirements.

All Brand Inspection Certificates and transportation permits must be in possession of the person transporting the livestock. For the protection of the livestock industry, certificates shall be exhibited to any Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Highway Patrol Officer, State Stock Inspector or Deputy Stock Inspector upon request.


Montana Law, 81-2-703 MCA, requires that all animals being brought into Montana be accompanied by a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI - health certificate) and an import permit. This also applies to Montana livestock returning from out of state shows, etc. Import permits should be obtained by the Veterinarian issuing the CVI within 10 days prior to entry into Montana by calling 1-406-444-2976. There is no charge for the import permit.

Negative test results for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is required for imported horses. Tests from the 12 months prior to the date of entry are acceptable.

We do have a system by which we will issue ANNUAL import permits for horses for a fee. These annual import permits are valid for the calendar year in which they are issued. However, having an annual permit does not relieve the shipper from the responsibility of maintaining a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection on the horses. To qualify for an annual import permit, you must have permanent (lifetime) brand inspections for your horses. The application is available on our website here.

Canadian Imports: You must meet the requirements of the state of Montana in addition to any federal regulations.

Consignor's health and brand certificates may be checked in this state by a State Stock Inspector for compliance. If any animals are not in compliance when they arrive in Montana, the Montana Department of Livestock can refuse to let them unload.

In addition, failure to have the proper documents is a violation of Montana law and can result in a citation and fine.

Remember these are the basic brand inspection and health requirements and may not address every situation.

If you have any questions feel free to contact the Department of Livestock Brands Enforcement Division, Helena, Montana, (406)-444-2045 or Animal Health at (406)-444-2043.

Violations should be reported to Montana Livestock Crimestoppers at 1-800-503-6084.