It's something many people do without even thinking about it, but it is actually against the law in Massachusetts.

Have you ever come across a group of pigeons in the park and run at them to scare them away? Then you have broken the law in the Bay State.

Yes, scaring pigeons is against the law and actually comes with the pretty stiff penalty of up to a month behind bars.

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READ MORE: Strange Laws Still on the Books in Massachusetts 

It may not be the strangest law in the state, but it is up there among the weird ones.

General Law Part IV, Title 1, Chapter 266, Section 132 states:

Whoever wilfully kills pigeons upon, or frightens them from, beds which have been made for the purpose of taking them in nets, by any method, within one hundred rods of the same, except on land lawfully occupied by himself, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fine of not more than twenty dollars, and shall also be liable for the actual damages to the owner or occupant of such beds.

Just based on the word choice alone, you can tell this law has been on the books for a long time -- since 1848 to be exact.

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At that time passenger pigeons were everywhere in America, so many that people would often see the sky darkened by mile-long flocks of birds.

Of course, they started to be hunted by the hundreds.

Pigeons were pretty easy prey to catch. Soon, squab (pigeon meat) became a staple in the American diet and entire cookbooks on how to prepare pigeon were all over Boston.

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Obviously, with such high demand on pigeons, poachers began hunting where they weren't allowed and the need for pigeon-hunting laws became necessary.

Presumably this 1848 law about scaring pigeons, with its wording about "except on land lawfully occupied by himself," came from people frightening these birds from one property to another in hopes of then catching them legally.

Pigeon meat isn't exactly a dinnertime staples in Massachusetts anymore, but the law is one of many weird ones that remain on the books to this day.

Massachusetts Laws You Don't Even Know You're Breaking

There are a lot of strange laws still on the books in Massachusetts, many that also carry actual punishments and fines. Though we're pretty sure no one has been arrested for the crimes we're about to list, we're also pretty sure you have violated at least one of these laws in the last month or so.

Gallery Credit: Nancy Hall

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Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.

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