Moonshiners' Cow Shoes

The May 27, 1922 issue of The Evening Independent carried a story about moonshiners wearing "cow shoes" to trick revenuers -- rather than leaving suspicious footprints leading up to their secret stills, they'd leave innocent-looking hoofprints in the dirt and grass. The New Yorker's "Photo Booth" had a good snap of one of the shoes (above).

Shiners Wear "Cow Shoes" (via Kottke)


  1. Putting the “moo” in… oh never mind…

    *slouches away, bad puns spilling from pockets*

  2. I guess if this worked, it means the revenuers were city slickers who wouldn’t know how the pressure of a cow’s hoof is distributed.

    1. Yeah, but, what if they also walked BACKWARD?  Then it would have the added bonus of looking as if they walked the other way. 

  3. Moonshiners also invented the adjustable pneumatic suspensions we see in today’s lowriders. They used the extra boost from the pneumatics to keep the ridgerunners (cars modified for delivering moonshine) for riding low on their shocks. Police often stopped cars that were riding low from heavy loads.

  4. The Jacobites (among others) used boots with horseshoes attached to trick the English soldiers. This is a very old trick. Still works sometimes. A revenuer who knew anything about cattle would be suspicious seeing a single cow going into the woods.

    1.  Of course, it would allow you to walk across a field without leaving too-obvious tracks. Having a few cows around is hardly a suspicious activity.

    2. Running a still seems like one of those things that takes more than one person to do.

  5. “The Adventure of the Priory School” – Sherlock Holmes had to figure out the mystery of the cattle tracks to solve the murder on the moors. 

    1.  MOOOOOOOOOrrrs!

      Holmes would have been A) across the Atlantic and B) long dead, of course, by the time these shoes were made.

      1.  Mr. Holmes last ‘official’ chronicle was in 1914, where he was quite hale and hearty, so I have no doubt he may have read this particular issue of  The Evening Independent with a knowing smile, received in his occasional packages that Dr. Watson would send him for amusement, when he took a break from his beekeeping.

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