Code of the West

The Code of the West* was first chronicled by the Western writer, Zane Grey, as an effort to describe the values and conduct of people during the westward expansion of the United States.

The following is drawn from and excerpted from this document:

This document attempts to keep with the spirit and values of the rugged individualists who long ago chose to live outside urban areas and whose values of integrity and self-reliance guided their decisions, actions and interactions, as well as efforts to work together and share in building and enhancing their rural community life.

It is important to know that life in the country differs from life in the city and that local, county, and state governments are unable to provide the level of service found in urban areas. The following information is intended to help you in your decisions to live in Hoback Ranches.


That you can drive to your property does not necessarily guarantee that you, your guests, and emergency service vehicles can achieve the same access at all times. Please consider:

1.1 Emergency response times (sheriff, fire, medical care, etc.)  cannot be guaranteed and may be slow and expensive.

1.2  Some drives or roads that access property are not part of the Hoback Ranches Improvement and Service District (HRSID) and may be private easements intended for an individual owner and are not available for use by others without permission.  It is wise to obtain legal advice on such situations. All Hoback Ranches is private property, and any off-road travel may result in a trespass violation.

1.3  The principle roads in Hoback Ranches are maintained by the HRSID. Consult the HRSID for its guidelines and rules regarding roads. Due to bad weather, roads may not always be in good condition. Grading of these roads may be infrequent, and extreme weather might render them impassable. Do not assume that these roads will be someday be paved. Do not expect these roads to be plowed during snow conditions. (When conditions permit, roads are plowed to designated HRSID parking areas only) You may need a four wheel drive vehicle to travel at certain times.

1.4  If you intend to build, it is prudent to check out construction access and the narrowness of roads. Further, an impact fee must be deposited to ensure that roads damaged during your construction are repaired.

1.5  Unpaved roads generate dust during the dry summer months. Unpaved roads may also be slippery when wet.

1.6  Speed limits on ALL roads are 20 miles per hour. Do not exceed this level as fast moving vehicles can cause bumpy conditions. You may also experience increases in vehicle maintenance costs when you regularly travel these roads.

1.7  Mail delivery is not available directly to your home. Ask the postmaster to describe how to obtain a post office box in Bondurant or other means of delivery. Check on services by FedEx, UPS, and other delivery services.  (FedEx and UPS currently maintain drop boxes at the US HWY 191 Hoback Ranches west access.)

1.8  Newspaper delivery is not available except through the mail.

1.9  Television reception will be poor and you will need to subscribe to a satellite service.

1.10  It may be more expensive and time consuming to build a rural residence due to the delivery fees and the time required for workers to reach your site. Materials must be on site by November 1 for facilitating any winter construction.  In winter, access to the building site may be by snow machine only. Usually, June 1 is the best time to start construction.


Electric, telephone and other services may be unavailable or may not operate at urban standards. Repairs can often take much longer than in towns, and cities. Please review your options from the suggestions below:

2.1  If you have a private line, it may be difficult to obtain another line for fax or computer uses. Limited DSL is available. Cell phone service has improved in recent years, but may not work in all areas.

2.2  You will need to use an approved septic system or other treatment process. The type of soil you have for a leach field will be very important in determining the costs and the function of your system. Have the system checked by a reliable sanitation firm, and ask for assistance from the Sublette County Health Department.

2.3  You do not have access to a supply of treated, potable domestic water. You will have to locate an alternative supply. The most common method is use of water well.  Permits for wells are granted by the state engineer and the cost for drilling can be considerable. The quality and quantity of well water can vary considerably from one location to another and from season to season.  It is strongly advised that you research this issue very carefully prior to finalizing your building site.

2.4  It is important to determine the proximity of electrical power. It can be very expensive to extend power lines to remote areas.  All power is underground. It may be necessary to cross property owned by others in order to extend electric service to your property in a cost efficient manner. It is important to make sure that the proper easements are in place to allow lines to your property.

2.5  The cost of electric service is usually divided into a fee to hook into the system and then a monthly charge for energy consumed. It is important to know both costs before making the decision to purchase a specific property.

2.6  Power outages can occur in outlying areas with more frequency than in more developed areas. A loss of electric power can also interrupt your supply of water form a well. As a result, you may also lose food in freezers or refrigerators, and power outages can cause problems with computers as well, if you do not have an appropriate UPS. It is important to be able to survive for up to a week in severe cold with no utilities if you live in the country.

2.7  It is illegal to create our own trash dump or to burn trash on your land. The only option for any refuse is to haul your trash to the appropriate landfill. Recycling is more difficult as pick-up is not available, but containers are placed throughout the county.


There are many issues that can affect your property, so research these items before purchasing the land:

3.1  You may need access to easements to allow construction of roads, power lines, water lines, and so on across your land.  There may be easements that are not of record. Check with neighbors before commencing construction n the perimeter easements to tracts.

3.2  Most property owners do not own the mineral rights under their property. It is very important to know what minerals may be located under the land, and who owns them. Much of the rural land in Sublette County can be used for mining, although a special review by the county commissioners is required. Be aware that adjacent mining uses can expand and cause negative impacts, including the ability to change surface characteristics in the extraction of minerals.

3.3  Unless your property has been surveyed and pins placed by a licensed surveyor, you cannot assume that the plat of your property is accurate. Fences that separate properties are often mis-aligned with the property lines, so confirm property lines through a surveyor. Generally fences should be avoided but if necessary shall be buck and pole construction made of rough native lumber, to be animal friendly.

3.4   Deeds in Hoback Ranches have covenants than limit use of property and are perpetual and forever binding. It is important that you obtain a copy of the covenants. Make sure you can live with those rules.

3.5  The surrounding properties may not remain as they are indefinitely. Check with the County Zoning and Planning Office to learn how these properties are zoned and what future developments may be in the planning state. The view from your property may change.

3.6  Flowing water can be a hazard, especially to young children. Before you decide to locate you home near an active stream or pond, consider the possible danger to your family.

Mother Nature

Rural and country residents usually experience more problems when the elements and earth turn unfriendly. Consider the following:

4.1  The physical characteristics of your property can be positive and negative. Trees are a wonderful environmental amenity, but also can involve your home in a forest fire. Building at the top of a forested draw should be considered dangerous, as fires usually go uphill. You may need to remove the high fuel build-up of fallen timber.  Only dead and diseased trees may be removed. No open burning is allowed.

4.2  If you start a forest fire, you are responsible for paying for the cost of extinguishing that fire. You may be liable for fire damages to the property of others and should consider carrying substantial liability insurance, in that event. For further information, contact the County Emergency Services Department, and the Bondurant Volunteer Fire Department.

4.3  North facing slopes or canyons rarely see direct sunlight in the winter. There is a possibility that snow will accumulate and not melt throughout the winter and, often, well into the spring.

4.4  The topography of the land can tell you where the water will go in the case of heavy precipitation. When property owners build roads or fill ravines for a building site, they may find that the water that once drained through a ravine now drains through their house. A flash flood can occur, especially during the summer rains, and often turn a dry gully into a small river. It is wise to take this possibility into consideration when building.

4.5  Nature can provide you with wonderful neighbors such as deer, moose which are positive additions to the environment. However, even “harmless” animals can cross the road unexpectedly and cause traffic incidents. Rural development encroaches on the traditional habitat of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, elk, moose, bears, mosquitoes, and other animals that can be considered dangerous. You will need to know how to deal with them. In general, it is best to enjoy wildlife form a distance. If you do not handle your pets and trash properly, it could cause problems for you and the wildlife. Keep trash in the house or garage. Do not let pets run free. No attempt at killing or capturing any wild animals or wild birds in permitted in Hoback Ranches.


Owing rural land means knowing how to care for it and its water.

5.1  No more than four horses are allowed on each ten acre tract where the horses are maintained. Horses and their manure can cause objectionable odors. No cattle, swine, goats, poultry, or fowl are permitted.

5.2  Wyoming has an open range law which means that if you do not want livestock on your property, it is your responsibility to fence them out, not the responsibility of the rancher to keep them off your property.

5.3  Before buying land, you should know if it has noxious weeds that may be expensive to control, and you may be required to control.  Some plants are poisonous to horses.  The Hoback Ranches Weed committee monitors thistles, knapweed and henbane.  Assistance is available from the Sublette County Weed and Pest Control.


This information is by no means exhaustive. There are other issues that you may encounter that are not addressed here, and you are encouraged to be vigilant in your duties to explore and examine those things that could cause your move to be less than your expected. Further information is available from the Hoback Ranches Service and Improvement District, P.O. Box 33, Bondurant, WY 82922.


*The “Code of the West” was drafted by John Clarke, County Commissioner of Larimer County, Colorado and has been adopted by rural communities throughout the West.

2024 Hoback Ranches Calendar

FEB 7-27 filing for Election: HRSID Director Candidates
April 12-22 Mail Annual election Ballots
MAY 7 Annual HRSID Election
JUNE 15 Early Budget Public Meeting
JUNE 30 Annual Bondurant Community BBQ-Picnic
JULY 20 Annual HRSID meeting
JULY 20 Annual Hoback Ranches Picnic
JULY 25 Annual Budget Approval, Sublette County
AUGUST 10 Bondurant Heritage Day Event