Wildlife Agency: Drones, Tracking Scopes ‘Unethical’ Technology for Hunting

Scope technology such as the new one from Tracking Point is drawing a critical eye from some wildlife agencies and hunters.

Scope technology such as the new one from Tracking Point is drawing a critical eye from some wildlife agencies and hunters.

Technology is gaining a foothold in the hunting industry as smartphones, game cameras, drones and technical scopes join performance apparel, utility vehicles and better weapons — carbon bows and arrows, for example — every year.

Some state wildlife agencies have balked at these advances. That stone wall has come, sometimes, at the urging of groups of hunters and other times from within the agencies. Most agencies have older folks in management positions and so, arguably, it’s easy to see where they may say, “Whoa, those electronic things ain’t cool!”

Some state agencies still prohibit lighted nocks for bowhunting, which truly is about as stupid as trying to cook rocks. Lighted nocks do not give a hunter an advantage in locating or killing a game animal. They greatly assist with finding the blood trail starting point or the animal, which is a basic tenet of hunters — make the best effort to find and recover your animal.

Yet some agencies believe a little lighted nock is “too much” and steps over the line. What a load of crap. They allow compound bows with carbon fibers and speedy cams and lightweight arrows, but think a lighted nock is too much. Sheesh.

drone

Drones also are getting a critical examination due to their ability to provide hunters with real-time images.

Now the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is wading into the fray and taking aim at what it deems as unethical methods of hunting. Here’s the press release about the agency’s upcoming public hearing:

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public hearing at noon on Thursday, Jan. 29, regarding proposed rules that would regulate the method and manner of take of wildlife through the use of emerging technologies such as drones, smart rifles, and live-action game cameras.

The hearing will be held at Fish and Game headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, in Concord, N.H.

“We need to establish rules regarding these fast-changing technologies to make sure that people understand that their use for hunting is not appropriate or ethical,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Martin Garabedian.  “Use of this equipment violates the principle of fair chase because it gives hunters an unfair advantage over wildlife.”

Garabedian explained further that “the traditions of hunting dictate that game be taken in the spirit of fair chase, which is one of the central ideas behind North America’s successful wildlife conservation model.”

Specifically, the new rule would:

  • Ban the taking of wildlife using an unmanned aerial vehicle (commonly referred to as “drones”);
  • Ban the use of “smart rifles” for taking wildlife (these rifles contain a computer that locks in on the target, adjusts for wind, animal movement, etc., and automatically fires);
  • Ban the use of live-action game cameras to locate wildlife for the purpose of taking said wildlife. These cameras transmit real-time images to a cell phone or computer.

The complete rulemaking notice, with proposed rule language for these proposals, can be viewed at wildnh.com/Legislative/Notices_summary.htm (click on Hunting-related Use of Drones, Smart Rifles”).

Written comments must be received by February 5, 2015. Send to: comments@wildlife.nh.gov (use subject line “Comments on [title]”); or write to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to 603-271-1438.

What do you DDH readers think about these “emerging technologies” in regard to hunting? We’d like to hear your thoughts.

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One thought on “Wildlife Agency: Drones, Tracking Scopes ‘Unethical’ Technology for Hunting

  1. poper08

    I’m not normally one to poo-poo new technology, but of the 3 specifically mentioned here;
    1) Ban the taking of wildlife using an unmanned aerial vehicle (commonly referred to as “drones”);
    2) Ban the use of “smart rifles” for taking wildlife (these rifles contain a computer that locks in on the target, adjusts for wind, animal movement, etc., and automatically fires);
    3) Ban the use of live-action game cameras to locate wildlife for the purpose of taking said wildlife. These cameras transmit real-time images to a cell phone or computer.

    I would agree with banning #1 and partially with #2.

    I would draw the line EXACTLY at this; if the technology pulls the trigger for you, it is not sporting. So you can use a smart rifle scope, you just can’t have the trigger add on. The scope cal tell you exactly how much to aim over, left rihgt, whatever, but you need to DO it and pull the trigger.

    And no drones; hutning with a drone? That’s just stupid…unless its feral hogs, then ANYTHING is legal!

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