One can certainly be saved by birding equipment, such as the time John and I
were returning from a guided tour of California Gulch in remote southern
Arizona very near the Mexican border. A border patrol officer pulled us
over. You know -night time, dirty dusty van with tinted windows, coming
north from the border, several passengers. "Where you coming from?" Our
guide responded, "California Gulch." The patrol officer shone his big
flashlight on each one of us, binoculars dangling from our necks and scopes
at the ready. Then he just laughed. Yup, just another bunch of those crazy
birders coming from a road to nowhere.
Then it occurred to us - great way to smuggle illegal aliens - a few binos,
a scope or two, couple of field guides, maybe a Tilley hat!