The buzz in Illinois is about drones — the small, remote controlled aircraft — and prohibiting their use to harass hunters and anglers.
Illinois legislators in committee approved a bill to make it illegal to use drones to harass someone who is fishing or hunting. The proposal was unanimously approved in the committee and now goes to the full Senate.
Drones aren’t just used for high-sky surveillance by the military. Small models are available to consumers for recreation or, perhaps, some kind of surveillance. Some are used for filming movies and television shows, or to record events like music festivals or sporting events. They probably are used for some unsavory things, too, as is the way with society today.
But in Illinois, legislators are taking a dim view of anti-hunters who have said they’re interested in using drones to watch hunters and anglers. The anti-hunters believe these drones will capture images of hunters (or anglers) doing illegal things although, most likely, they’d find legal, law-abiding outdoorsmen and women engaged in their enjoyable pursuits.
The Illinois bill would make using drones to interfere with hunters or anglers a misdemeanor crime. The state also could refuse to issue a permit for a drone (a permit? really? to fly a remote controlled aircraft?), or suspend or revoke a permit.
But according to this report, it may not be anti-hunters who are doing all the harassing. former Illinois Conservation Police officer Timothy Sickmeyer told the Senate committee that some of the “worst offenders” are fishers harassing hunters, hunters disturbing other hunters and vice versa.
“Sometimes that’s almost an embarrassment to the establishment, but that’s what does happen,” he said. “This would help us give some teeth to help suspend those privileges.”
Sen. Daniel Bliss, D-Evanston, sponsored the Senate version. House Bill 1652 is sponsored by Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign.