Mind the Gate!

Not counting the time I broke a fence post by hitting a barbed wire gate going 30 miles per hour on my mountain bike, I’ve always followed the simple rule learned in my first days in Montana: always be sure to leave gates in the same state — open or closed — as the way you found them.
It sounds obvious, but it also requires that you know how to open and close a barbed wire gate — not always easy, especially if a rancher strings a tight fence. Sometimes it’s a two-person effort. Many pay-per-rod waters, which often exist on working ranches, have stepped walk-overs that allow anglers in waders to simply step over barbed wire. But if you are planning on asking permission to fish water on private land, or if you are taking advantage of laws that allow public access to “private waters” (see the story on new access granted in Utah), be sure you respect landowners’ fences.

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