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Cow shoes used by Moonshiners in the Prohibition days to disguise their footprints, 1924


During Prohibition (1919–1933), the transportation of alcohol and the making/cultivation of alcohol were prohibited. Some people who drank moonshine (a type of whiskey) did it in the middle of a forest or meadow. Moonshiners were often sought after by law enforcement.

At times, officers had to track down alleged criminals on foot. So to avoid capture, some moonshiners changed their shoes because a set of human footprints would be ambiguous and would be a sign of people making or transporting wine. Specifically, they wear cow shoes.

The hoof marks were for the police not following the tracks in the first place. Obviously, if they still came out, they would do something about it. But with hoof prints, the idea is that if police encountered said prints, they would think nothing of it, whereas if they found human footprints, they would likely follow them and eventually find a still. Will search

A 1922 article from a now-defunct St. Petersburg, Florida newspaper called the Evening Independent gave a story about Moons wearing "cow shoes" to trick revenue collectors – leaving suspicious footprints leading up to their secret portrait. Instead, they'll leave the innocent—seeing hoof marks in the dirt and grass.

State Prohibition Enforcement Director A.L. Allen revealed a new method of evading Prohibition agents here today, who showcased "cow boots" as the latest thing in front of the moon hunt.

A cow shoe is a metal bar, carved from a block of wood to resemble a cow's hoof, that can be fastened to a human foot. A man with a pair of them will leave a mark similar to that of a cow.

The shoe found was picked up near Port Tampa where it was still located some time ago. It will be sent to Washington's Prohibition Department. Authorities believe that the inventor got his idea from a Sherlock Holmes story in which the villain covered his horse with boots, the impression of which was similar to that of a cow's hoof.




Moonshine is a term used to describe highly-certified distilled spirits, which are usually produced illegally. The word "moonshine" is believed to be derived from the word "moonrakers", used for the nature of the operations of early English smugglers and clandestine (i.e., by moonlight) illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey. did. Distillation was done at night in order not to get caught.

Today "moonshine" usually refers to house wine and it is still illegal, but for different reasons. The only reason it is illegal is that the government cannot tax it. Also, unlike beer and wine, it is illegal to brew without a license.

Moonshine contains more alcohol than others, is purer and can be fatal. It is more likely to cause blindness or other health problems than everyday alcohol.

Prohibition in the United States focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; However, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Consumption of alcohol was never illegal under federal law.

Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution took effect and was repealed in 1933 with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.

In WW2 intruders/smugglers had shoes closed with soles on the back, to fool the Germans into mis-tracking them.

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