Wherever we live, work, or travel, we need to follow basic laws for the common good. But Wyoming has some strange laws that are specifically unique to the state – and you should know about them. Some are archaic and you probably would never get sent to the pokey for breaking them, but others make sense and are necessary to maintain safety. Take a look at Wyoming’s 10 unique laws so you can stay safe no matter how crazy the regulations are.
1. It’s illegal to fish with a firearm.
Fishing with a firearm is like shooting fish in a barrel – not sustainable and not sportsmanlike. Even if you have permission to enter private property to fish, it’s illegal to “catch” them with a firearm. It’s pretty obvious – fishing with a firearm is not sporting.
2. It’s illegal to hunt, shoot, or attempt to kill wildlife while in a vehicle or along, upon, or across a public road.
This is another law that helps to prevent unsportsmanlike behavior. If you’re going hunting, you need to make the effort to park your vehicle, get out, and leave the road before you start to hunt. It’s also illegal to use a fully automatic firearm to hunt wildlife in Wyoming.
3. It’s illegal for any person to forget to close a fence or gate.
Gates are critical to livestock safety – either keeping animals in or out of a specified area. That’s why if you open a gate and forget to close it you can be slapped with a fine of up to $750 and a misdemeanor on your record. This law also applies to not closing “lay down fences” or replacing fence bars that you moved. In Wyoming, there have been many fatal highway accidents resulting from someone who forgot to close a fence or gate.
4. It’s illegal to ski when under the influence of alcohol or any illicit controlled substance.
Stashing a flask in your parka or quenching your thirst between runs with a few cold ones? Alcohol and snow sports don’t mix well. Skiing and snowboarding are a lot like driving – when your judgment is impaired by alcohol, it’s easy to run into something – like another skier, pylon, or tree. You simply can’t stop or turn as quickly as you’d need to, or hoped. In Wyoming, skiers and snowboarders can get DUIs because skiing or snowboarding under the influence of alcohol is a misdemeanor. A conviction can extend up to 20 days in jail.
5. It’s illegal to be drunk while inside a mine.
Because Wyoming is known as a ranching state, many people don’t realize that mining is also a huge industry. The Cowboy State is the nation’s largest producer of coal and over 12 mines process vast amounts of the stuff. Dark, dingy, and dangerous, mines and jail have some things in common. If you’re found drunk while inside a mine, you could face jail for up to one year! This law also applies to sawmills, smelters, machine shops, and metallurgical works.
6. It’s illegal for junk dealers to conduct business transactions with drunk persons.
Hmmm, why junk dealers and not car dealers? Some Wyoming laws are a mystery. That’s why it’s important for you to know the details! OK, well this law specifies that junk dealers cannot sell or buy junk such as metals, rubber, rags, or paper to or from a person who is intoxicated.
7. It’s illegal for a female to stand within five feet of a bar while drinking.
It’s surprising that in the Equality State, where women were granted the right to vote in 1869, women would be discriminated against at a bar. Maybe this law was originally designed to protect women. After all, at least from what we see in Westerns, brawling bar fights are so dangerous. Although it’s a law that’s still on the books, no worries ladies, it’s very likely that it’s never enforced.
8. It’s illegal to spit on walls, floors, and steps of public buildings.
Maybe we’ve just come to expect that baseball players will spit on the diamond, but in Wyoming, spitting on the walls, floors, or steps of a public building is illegal. This includes schools, halls, assembly rooms, and conveyances.
9. It’s illegal to wear any type of hat that obstructs people’s views in a place of amusement or in a public theater.
It’s considered basic good manners to be considerate of those around you – right? If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re trying to peek around someone’s hat to see a film or performance, you know how annoying it can be. And in Wyoming, where cowboy hats are common garb, a law had to be passed to protect those who potentially got stuck behind big hats. Whether you’re at a rodeo or a symphony, make sure everyone behind you can see past your hatted head. Otherwise, you could be fined.
10. It’s illegal to tattoo a horse.
Branding was devised so that if cattle were stolen, their owners could identify found animals. Today, some animals are tattooed for the same reason. For example, valuable horses can be tattooed to protect them from horse rustlers. However, in Wyoming, it’s illegal to tattoo a horse if your intent is to make the animal unrecognizable to its owner.
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