Thursday, April 07, 2005

Don't Look! It's a Moose!

On my way home from work today, I listened as the radio show host read out one of those dubious strange laws you hear about from time to time. You know what I mean, "No female shall appear in a bathing suit on any highway within this state unless she be escorted by at least two officers or unless she be armed with a club." I'm sure you've seen them. According to CBC Radio, "in the state of Alaska, it is illegal to look at a moose from an airplane."

If it's a real law, I suppose the reason is to prevent harrassment of moose, like the Canadian rule prohibiting overflight of cariboo, reindeer or muskoxen below 2000' agl. It might be an extreme measure to prevent hunting from airplanes, herding animals towards hunters with airplanes or simply locating moose to direct other hunters toward them. It could also be to prevent what an American pilot I flew with once called "moose stalls" (losing control of the airplane in a steep bank, while circling to look at a moose on the ground).

So, does that mean that if you're overflying an airstrip in preparation for landing there, and there are moose grazing on the runway, you must avert your eyes? What if you're taxiing out? Or sitting in a parked airplane?

I find it really difficult to believe that any legislature enacted such laws. I think they are just funny stories that circulate forever on the internet. This site has more, including the claim that in Delaware, "It is a violation of local law for any pilot or passenger to carry an ice cream cone in their pocket while either flying or waiting to board a plane," and "it is against the law to sneeze in an airplane."


sweavo said...

Yeah, there are certain stories that resonate in just the right way that they get propagated regardless of their importance.

Difficult to verify? applicable only rarely? slightly offensive? These are all good ingredients to a self-propogating myth.

In my home town of York, it's said that it's still legal to shoot a scotsman with a bow and arrow if found within the city walls after dusk. It resonates with the fact York was a strategic point invaded by the scots, it's slightly offensive to scots, and impossible to try out since we don't have that many bows and arrows and where are you going to sit waiting for a scotsman to pass?

It's one of my life goals to create one of these myths myself.

Lord Hutton said...

I suppose some of these stupid laws (if they exist) were made for particular long forgotten incidents and have never been repealed.

Alex Little said...

This is hilarious, as I heard something to this effect while sitting on hold for the Drs. office via phone earlier this week. A friend of mine who lived in Alaska cleared this one up for me just today! He stated that there is a law prohibiting the fly by and landing within 24 hours near a herd, to prevent hunters from going out and spotting a mighty, giant moose, landing and bagging it! Now that makes sense! When I first heard of this law (and the way it was worded), I was thinking you're sitting there waiting to taxi out and you make eye contact with that grazing moose, who then charges the plane, as he didn't like the way you were looking at him, lol!