Top 10 Ways to Spot a Tourist in Montana

Brian Ripple, by Kate Hulbert

There are a lot of tourists floating around Montana these days, especially this time of year. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether that person sporting cowboy boots is a true Montanan or just fresh off the plane. Here’s how you tell the difference between a tourist and a local.

Bear Spray
If they have a bear spray canister strapped to their hip while strolling downtown, you can bet it’s a tourist. The locals know if you do run into a bear downtown, it’s not going to be a grizzly.

New Boots
If they are sporting a pair of brand new, untouched cowboy boots, you can bet it’s a tourist. A real cowboy’s boots have been through the mud.

No Friendly Nods
If they don’t smile or at least throw a nod your way when you pass on the street, you can bet it’s a tourist. It took us a while to get used to this one, but hey, not everyone can be as friendly as a Montanan.

The Unreal Photo Ops
If they are blocking traffic to take a photo of a deer, you can bet it’s a tourist. Remember, those 35 deer photos are the only piece of Montana they get to take home with them. That and a “Hike Montana” t-shirt.

Mostly Vegan Problems
If you overhear them complaining about the lack of vegan restaurants in Montana, you can bet it’s a tourist. Montanan vegans know the ratio of vegans to meat eaters is not in their favor. 

Hat Trouble
If they are chasing their cowboy hat down the street, you can bet it’s a tourist. Everyone knows that a real cowboy’s hat doesn’t fall off, no matter how strong the wind.

Easily Bored
If you hear them complaining about how “boring” Montana is, you can bet it’s a tourist. Real Montanans know that there are countless things to do on any given day. In fact, they were probably on their way to fish a river or climb a mountain when they overheard that absurd comment.

Finger Waves
If you pass someone on a dirt road and they don’t give you the dirt-road-wave, you can assume it’s a tourist. A true Montanan won’t pass a car on a rural road without giving a friendly wave.

Road Ragers
If their road rage is out of control, you can bet it’s a tourist. This one is a sore spot for all of us locals. Don’t bring your big-city-road-rage to our generally pleasant streets. Laying on your horn won’t get you anywhere around here. 

Bison Saviors
If you spot them loading a cold baby bison in the back of their car, you can bet it’s a tourist. Wait….too soon?  

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