When it comes to the hunting and angling ‘laws’ of this country, there are some truly ridiculous rules on the ‘books’ that not only make people laugh, but also make absolutely no sense no matter how much you read them. When calling up laws that appear from state to state, more hunters and anglers end up rolling their eyes when they hear some of these strange things that could turn their ‘fun’ hunting weekend into a literal trip to a jail cell.
When you look back over the past, there have been rules, regulations and laws that stopped the outdoorsmen and women from doing everything from carrying an ice cream cone in their back pocket to wrestling bears down south to fishing from their place on horseback. There are a slew of laws that concern animals and hunting which literally defy common sense, and even though these laws were put on the books many decades ago – they are still enforced today.
Looking at the oddest of the ‘odd’ when it comes to hunting, the number one law that seems to still upset many is not being able to hunt on Sundays. Many states restrict the hunter from having a day all to themselves. Even though some states are doing their best to take this law off the books, it seems that for at least ten states, this law will remain in place. The work comes first during the week and the children/family come first on the weekend, leaving only Sunday to really get out there and hunt. But only a few states, thus far, give people the ability to ‘hunt’ on the seventh day – so we’ll see if any Divine help comes along for the others.
Another slightly ridiculous law comes from banning hunters the use of cameras on the trail. Now…why the bucks would care that they’re being photographed when a hunter isn’t anywhere near them, we can only guess. In fact, there are many you can almost see in your mind’s eye waving and smiling for the camera, as if daring the hunter who left it behind to find them one of these fine days. In other words, “Battle On!” The state of Montana restricts trail cameras during hunting season and calls them “electronic aids,” and to “maintain ethical hunting practices,’ the cameras are out. Now…whitetail hunters whose season hasn’t started yet, likes to put out trail cams in order to see what may be in the area. Why that’s breaking the law remains to be seen.
Your ‘best friend,’ the hunting dog, is also off limits in various states – which is not good in the long run. It’s a fact that no matter how good you may be as a hunter, there are many times when the deer is not brought down and literally heads into the woods after the shot has been made. Without the hunting dog, the wounded animal is not something you, as the hunter, can find in most cases. But when it comes to the tracking dog, you’re talking one-hundred percent across the board success in retrieving the prey.
It is the good old historical state of Pennsylvania where the tracking dog is prohibited. However, when you really sit down and think about it, having you ‘best friend’ will not only retrieve the prey, but they also make sure the animal does not suffer a long, drawn-out death which is far more ethical.
One of the oddest laws comes in Kansas. Fowl hunters who take down everything from pheasants to quail must make sure to only hunt these species when they’re airborne. The law in Kansas states that no hunter can shoot any wild game bird unless that bird is in flight. Can you just see it? A flock of birds sitting on the ground looking at the hunter with a slight smile on their face, knowing that as long as they have their ‘feet on the ground’ they are completely safe in Kansas. Now, the wild turkey isn’t that lucky. Whether airborne or walking they are up for grabs…except if they decide that sitting in a tree is where they want to be. Once they decide to hit those branches, the hunter has no right to take them out. Who’s watching? Well, until a hunter risks it…we’ll never know.
The state of Wisconsin has one of the most hysterical laws on the books, although they believe it is for safety-sake and will forever remain a part of their hunting season. You see, Wisconsin hunters may love the abundance of deer hunting that’s available but they are also the hunters who must be brighter and more visible than a Miss Universe contestant in a boxing ring. Bright, fluorescent orange clothing adorns every hunter in Wisconsin, and when the season begins it looks a great deal like you’ve been transported to Charlie Brown’s ‘Great Pumpkin’ patch. The law is very clear; hunters must wear clothing that covers at least half of their bodies from the waist up in bright orange gear. Hats, vests, coats – whatever they choose must be seen from miles away. And boy…it is! You can even see the whitetail standing in the forest smiling up a storm at the oh-so-colorful crew.
Although these are the main laws in debate at the moment, there are even more ‘odd’ ones to think about. In Pennsylvania, the law states that: “Dynamite is not to be used to catch fish.” (No TNT can shoot those bass into the sky). In yet another area of their law book comes the rule that: “You may not catch a fish by any other body part except the mouth.” (I would assume they mean the mouth on the fish and not the hunter diving in and catching them with their own mouths.)
In Kansas: “No one may catch fish with his bare hands.” (I wonder if they’ve spoken to the bear colony about this?) And in this writer’s neck of the woods: “Hunting is prohibited in Mountain View Cemetery, New Mexico.” (This, however, does not apply to zombies who wish to take out anyone who comes to visit.)
In the end, laws are necessary for safety, but as you can see, some of them are more than a bit silly. Good luck out there and always remember if you catch the bass with your mouth, clamp down tight!