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A map showing the percentage of residents who said their state was the best or one of the best possible to live in.

Gallup recently conducted poll where they asked people across the United States if their state was the best state to live in. And guess what? Montana came on top. 77% of the people polled in Montana said its state was definitely the best state to live in.

What? Who in Montana responded to that poll? If I don’t personally know them, with only 1 million people living in the state chances are I know someone who does.

Ever since I arrived years ago I have listened to native Montanans trying to convince me to leave. At first I thought this said something about me. Talk about giving a guy a complex. But then I realized this spoke more about the good people of Montana. It’s awfully hard to swing a stick in this state without hitting someone who enjoys discouraging outsiders from moving here. Why, you ask? More on that later.

But before I share the secret of the Montanan campaign to dissuade people from moving here, I give you my top 10 reasons why you should not move to Montana−as are frequently shared with me by the residents of Montana.

1.) It’s way too cold.

Cold Temperatures.jpg

But it is a dry kind of cold. The good news? It flushes the tourists out of the state every year.

2.) The roads are horrible.

A snow plow removes snow after the big storm from a rural gravel road in southern Chouteau County, Montana→ License Photo.

Have you ever seen a snow plow this big? I didn’t think so. Now ask yourself why they need a plow that big. Please also notice they aren’t plowing the crap off the road at all. They’re just cleaning the side of the road. The road itself, it seems, is good enough. Oh the humanity.

3.) There aren’t many creature comforts.

The side of a service station and small grocery store in the small town of Circle, Montana. → License Photo

You might find an ice cold Coke, but you will have a hard time finding sushi, humus, cell phone signals, trendy beauty products, and/or fancy shoe stores. And gas stations aren’t two miles away. Sometimes they are more than a hundred miles away. But Montana does have a lot of beer. In fact it leads the country in more craft breweries per capita than any other state. In other words, you can easily drown your sorrows for “having to” live in Montana with some of the best damn beer in the world. Dammit.

4.) People are few and far between—and Montana has three times more cows than people.

A young man stands at the head of a herd on a ranch north of Havre, Montana. → License Photo

It’s hard walking anywhere in Montana without being surrounded by cows. They are everywhere. And do you know how much methane an average cow produces in a day? Seriously, one cow can make your Uncle Charlie’s flatulent habit seem positively benign in comparison. But with all of this open space and methane comes cheap beef prices. And lots of room for secluded cabins. And not having having to bump into the ex at the mall. Terrible, I know.

5.) If you break down somewhere it might be days (or weeks) before anyone finds you. If you are lucky.

My truck in the middle of a deslotate country road while out making photos on a cold snowy day in Montana. → License Photo

Do you think someone would quickly find you if your truck broke down here? Not likely. With that kind of danger lurking everywhere you drive, even on outskirts of Billings, why would you even want to chance it by moving here?

6.) There’s a huge volcano constantly belching steam beneath Yellowstone National Park and it could blow at any time and kill you and everyone else who lives in Montana.

Tourists on the boardwalk at Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. → License Photo

The steam that rises from geysers at one of the most amazing places on Earth, Yellowstone National Park, is a constant warning of our impending doom. And when that fiery caldera finally blows and wipes Montana off the map you will have a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth.

7.) Montana is full of gritty, hard working people. And you might be exposed for the fraud you are.

A cowboy roping calves while it begins to snow near Cleveland, Montana. → License Photo

This man does more before 8 AM than you do all day. And he isn’t afraid to tell you so. He eats rusty nails for breakfast and chews up lazy cow hands for dinner. If you think pushing paper in your cushy cubicle job will earn you any points with the locals, think again. You will never know what hard work is until you move to Montana. Consider this warning a public service.

8.) If you suffer from allergies you will hate it here. And if you don’t think you suffer from allergies you might discover you really do suffer from allergies.

Rows of freshly cut hay in a field north of Joplin, Montana. → License Photo

Montana has lots of hay, flowers, trees, grass, weeds, etc. etc. etc. everywhere. And you think your allergies are bad when living in the that asphalt jungle you call a home? Really? Why would you even want to chance it by moving here? Tissues and Mucinex are always in short supply in Montana, just like toilet paper is in short supply in Venezuela. Most allergy sufferers sneak across the border into Canada to find ample supplies of the remedies they need for their vulnerability to ragweed, grass, and pollen. Even the thought of this makes you want to sneeze, am I right?

9.) A rattlesnake might bite you.

Montana has more rattlesnakes per square foot than any other place on Earth. How do we know this? We don't. But hopefully those words are enough to get you to move to Rhode Island instead.

Montana has more rattlesnakes per square foot than any other place on Earth. How do we know this? We don’t. But hopefully those words are enough to get you to move to Rhode Island instead.

It’s not the bite that will kill you—the slow and painful congealing of your blood will. Just look at him. He’s deadly. And if you’re not scared yet, just remember he sleeps with 1000 to 5000 of his brothers and sisters in his den every winter. What’s more, 4 out of 5 people who die from a venomous snake bite in the United States are under the influence of alcohol. Fact. And if you combine that with the fact that Montana leads the nation in craft breweries per capita, what you have is a bad combination.

10.) And worst of all, a grizzly might eat you.

If you aren't careful, this grizzly bear might eat you. Probably better to stay where you are.

If you aren’t careful, this grizzly bear might eat you. Probably better to stay where you are.

Say “hi” to your new neighbor if you move to Montana. Sure, he looks all cuddly and cute, but he will tackle you at 40 miles per hour and his jaws will crack your head like a walnut with its 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch. Not a great way to go.



Gee, the people of Montana sure are a hardy lot, aren’t they? Pain and agony lurk around every corner.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. And the locals won’t be happy I did. Montanans don’t really have an inferiority complex. No, quite the opposite. The secret is (ahem, was) Montanans love their state. In fact, they love it so much they would rather not see you or any other interloper move here.

So what does this poll really tell us? Well, for starters, Gallup probably only called a bunch a former prune pickers from California who now currently reside in Whitefish. Or Missoula. Or Bozeman. And clearly they didn’t get the memo to keep their big yaps shut. Also, and perhaps more telling given how much Montanans hate to encourage others to move here, at least half of the remaining 23% who did not think Montana was the best place to live, well, they were lying.

So please, do everyone a favor and don’t move here. The one million residents who live here already in the fourth largest state think it’s crowded enough, thank you.

P.S.  Have you considered moving to Rhode Island? We hear it is beautiful there this time of year.

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