Have you ever heard someone at your local sporting goods store say something completely outrageous and present it as fact? Was it something like “did you know it’s illegal to hunt whales in Utah?” The hunting world is full of rumors, hearsay, and nonsensical “wisdom” passed around as truth. Some of the most ridiculous rumors pertain to so-called hunting “laws” in certain parts of the United States. We’ve collected five of our favorites and provided them below.
1. It is illegal to hunt camels in Arizona
Never mind that camels aren’t listed as a game species in Arizona, but some claim that there is a law specifically banning camel hunts in this Southwestern state. This is despite the fact that camels are neither native to Arizona, nor have a large enough population to sustain hunting. However, a quick Google search will still show this “law” listed on many sites, so does that mean it’s true?
No. Arizona has no current laws regarding the hunting of camels and as far as the Arizona Game and Fish Department can tell, the state never had. The story behind this law may have come from the small herds of camels moved into the state by the US Army in the mid-1800s as pack animals. According to Snopes.com, the last of those herds died in 1913.
2. You can’t hunt bison from a hotel in Texas
There is reportedly a Texas law still in effect that bans hunters from shooting bison out of the second floor of a hotel—we’re not sure if the first floor is also included. This was allegedly to keep the harvest of bison, which was close to extinction during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, low. However, National Geographic reported that there has never been any concrete evidence that this particular law existed in Texas, and was likely either an agreement between hunters or a simple myth.
3. You need a hunting license to set a mouse trap in California
As ludicrous as this law may seem, some believe that a hunting license is needed to “trap” mice in California. Such a law would of course be virtually unenforceable, and in this case, is complete falsehood. There is no law in California that would regulate the setting of mouse traps to only hunters, and in fact, the California Health and Safety Code encourages both residents and business owners to eradicate mice or rats wherever they find them.
4. You can’t hunt whales in Utah
Why would a landlocked state hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean want to specifically ban whale hunts? A number of people point to this law as an example of the Beehive State’s odd laws, but there is actually no mention of whales or whale hunting anywhere on state laws. However, it is a federal offense to kill or injure whales under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
5. The only thing you can hunt from a moving vehicle in Tennessee is a whale
No. There is zero justification for this rumor and you can absolutely not hunt whales from vehicles of any kind. In fact, unless a hunter is totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair with the proper documentation, no hunters are allowed to take any wildlife from a vehicle, moving or not.
What is it with people and whales?
Image courtesy Gentry George/US Fish and Wildlife Service