Drones may be cool to fly and get neat footage of events, but state wildlife agencies and hunters are taking aim at the unmanned flying aircraft as unethical when it comes to scouting and hunting for deer and other game animals.
Wyoming Game & Fish Department is the latest state wildlife agency to take a hard look at the use of drones. The agency is getting support from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Wyoming chapter, among others, in support of curtailing or banning use of drones for hunting purposes.
Here’s the press release about the situation:
A sportsmen-led campaign to uphold fair chase hunting in Wyoming is gaining momentum with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s recent decision to consider a new rule outlawing the use of drones or aircraft for hunting or scouting.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Wyoming chapter initiated the effort in the wake of numerous reports of aircraft, as well as a growing number of drones, being used to locate and pursue big game in the Cowboy State.
“No true sportsman will say with a straight face that hunting or scouting animals with a drone or aircraft is fair to the animal or to other hunters in the field,” said Wyoming BHA Co-chair Buzz Hettick, who lives in Laramie. “Yet Wyoming big game regulations currently have loopholes that leave the door open to the use of drones and aircraft for hunting.”
While existing state statute outlaws scouting wildlife from a plane and then hunting within 24 hours, the new rule change would strengthen these regulations and specifically ban the use of any drone or aircraft to hunt or scout.
Hettick continued, “We greatly appreciate the Game & Fish Department listening to the concerns of Wyoming sportsmen and clarifying this language to uphold our tradition of fair chase hunting – without the interference of unnecessary technologies.”
“After hearing numerous reports of hunters abusing drones and aircraft to pursue animals on Wyoming’s wide open landscape, we realized that something needed to be done,” said BHA member Jeff Muratore of Casper. “I commend the Game & Fish Department for taking action to protect our wildlife resources by making sure hunting regulations are in line with the state statute, which is intended to prohibit the use aircraft for hunting.”
BHA state chapters have initiated and led a national grassroots movement to ban the use of drones in scouting and hunting and uphold the principles of fair chase, principles that are central to BHA and to hunters and anglers all over America. BHA has successfully facilitated drone bans in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont and is currently working to implement bans in New Hampshire, New York and Oregon. Illinois and West Virginia have followed in banning drones, as well.
If adopted in Wyoming, the new rule would take effect in the fall of 2016. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the measure; details should be made available shortly.
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