Will This State’s Game Wardens be Watching Hunters with Drones?

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, aren’t just some new thing. They’re here, they’re getting more popular with the public and law enforcement agencies, and now some state officials are trying to figure out ways to use them.

droneThat includes state conservation departments and wildlife agencies. At least one state governor has created a task force that includes his wildlife agency and says “drones offer many advantages …” for the agency’s officials.

What kind of advantages haven’t been revealed, though. Data collection? Spying on hunters? Who knows? The task force had its first meeting on Aug. 29.

Check out the press release below, sent on Aug. 22, about it:

Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced the creation of the Alabama Drone Task Force. The task force was created to review the necessary requirements to further Alabama’s potential use of drones in areas of agriculture, conservation and law enforcement.

“I believe drone use can benefit the state now and for generations to come, because drones offer many advantages to help our farmers and law enforcement agencies be successful,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The task force will review Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for drone use in Alabama and establish the necessary guidelines. We have assembled a strong group with extensive knowledge and experience to serve on the task force, and I look forward to their recommendations for a statewide plan.”

The task force consists of the following five members: Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan, Transportation Director John Cooper, Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier and Montgomery Airport Authority Board Member Jimmy Reynolds. Commissioner McMillan will serve as chair of the task force.

“So many constructive uses have emerged recently for drones in agriculture, forestry and other commercial enterprises,” Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillian said. “Now is the time for the State of Alabama to be proactive  with ideas that enable this rapidly developing technology to be a positive innovation for the long-term. I am honored that Governor Bentley has asked me to join this worthwhile endeavor that will yield great benefits now and in the future.”

The Governor has requested task force members accomplish the following:

  • Study the requirements for drone operations in Alabama, and the process for FAA approval;
  • Apply for necessary FAA waivers for drone use in Alabama airspace;
  • Meet with stakeholders to discuss plans for drone use;
  • Recommend a statewide plan for drone use in Alabama.

The statewide drone management plan is due to the Governor before January 15, 2015.

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