If you’ve ever wondered why it is illegal to shoot a BB gun in the city limits of your hometown, there’s somebody with an eye patch out there somewhere who can explain it to you. Most laws end up on the books for a good reason. Although, that reason might be a bit hard to understand looking at them from a different era or part of the country. Here’s a list of nine weird laws that aren’t so weird when you think them over.
1. Target Practice in Wyoming
Yeah, it’s illegal to shoot fish pretty much everywhere. It’s generally referred to as gross negligence involving a firearm. Firing bullets into a body of water is an idiotic thing to do, so every state has made it illegal in one way or another.
2. Jeans not Jammies
Up north in the Windy City, there are several laws that can be mistakenly broken. But this comes more as a fashion blunder than in the form of destruction or disruption. Believe it or not, it is illegal to don a pair of pajamas while casting your line within the city limits of Chicago. Who knew?
3. Fishing with Explosives in Michigan
Once again, it’s illegal to blow up fish everywhere. This law makes more sense when you consider that Americans could buy dynamite at their local hardware store until the 1970s. These days, it probably doesn’t come up much, but blast fishing was all the rage back in the day.
4. No Fishing Gear in a Cemetery in Muncie, Indiana
Actually, most rural cemeteries have signs posted stating that it is illegal to trespass. It seems a bit out there that you would intentionally bring fishing gear to a cemetery. Which begs the question of what transpired to cause such a public stir? The cemetery in Muncie just happens to have been noticed and put all over the internet; guess the word got out?
5. No Hands-on Experiences in Pennsylvania
This is one that anyone could break. Under section Title 58 of the Pennsylvania state code, it is illegal to reach into the water and pull out a fish. There are some exceptions that make this legal, like one hand in the water and a rod in the other. But have you tried to pull a fish out of the water with one hand?
6. Helping your Friends Fish Without a License in New York
No, you cannot net your buddy’s fish for him without buying a fishing license in New York. Of course, this law is on the books to keep four people from fishing with one license. There’s really nothing strange about it. Most states have the same regulation in place, it’s just described differently.
7. Chasing Fish in City Parks in Louisiana
This is true, but it’s illegal to chase fish everywhere, it’s called animal harassment. Louisiana obviously just felt the need to codify a specific fish law for some reason. Yet again, it is also illegal to tie an alligator to a fire hydrant, so, it probably has something to do with Mardi Gras.
8. Don’t get Corny in Rhode Island
As of 2022, Rhode Island remains the only state to prohibit the use of corn as bait. This has more to do with sensitive trout hatcheries, than anything else. But one thing is for certain, if you get caught with corn or even chum on a trout river, there’s a fine coming.
9. Poisoning Fish in Florida
Finally, it is illegal to poison fish everywhere. This law is on the books because poisoning whole ponds of fish was a popular pastime for the mercilessly lazy in the 1950s. Sporting goods stores even sold kits specifically for it. It was a short-lived fad, and no one is sorry it’s over. Since then, it probably doesn’t occur frequently, or occur intentionally.
The Last Word
Not surprisingly, most of the strange fishing laws you can read about on the internet are baseless fiction with no grounding in reality whatsoever. No, it is not illegal for single women to fish in the State of Montana. Or, it is not specifically illegal to fish on horseback in Washington, D.C. And, it is not permissible to shoot at a whale from a moving vehicle in the State of California. Heck, it’s barely legal to shoot at anything in the State of California, why would whales be an exception? If any of these laws did exist at one time, they were never enforced and have undoubtedly been removed from the books by now.