Montana’s ‘Natural Man’ Defies Courts, Sets Up Another Rural ‘Patriot’ Showdown
Ernie Wayne terTelgte in court
Ernie Wayne terTelgte likes to style himself as a Montana mountain man, dressing in buckskins, boots and tricornered hats and sometimes bearing an old muzzle-loading musket. He likes to elaborate upon his theories about so-called sovereign citizenship in a florid 18th-century style. But it isn’t a silly nostalgia act. The Bozeman man has, in fact, been challenging Montana’s courts and legal system in the name of his extremist belief system all while adopting anachronistic clothing and calling himself the “Natural Man.”
Asked to explain why he was fishing without a license, terTeltge told a judge: “I was searching for something to put in my stomach as I am recognized to be allowed to do by universal law,” he said. “I am the living man and I have the right to forage for food when I am hungry.”
This all could be written off as the peculiar antics of another kook with convoluted legal ideas - something not unheard of in Montana - but for the fact that terTeltge has amassed supporters locally and regionally. His fight with the courts over what began as a simple fishing citation has become the latest cause célèbre among the far right in the Mountain West, including the region’s antigovernment “Patriots” and associated militias.
Looks like Cliven Bundy isn’t the only pathetic excuse for a “freedom fighter” resisting a non existent tyranny, who is in desperate need of an attitude adjustment.