When British Columbia wildlife officials recently banned the use of unmanned drones for hunting, they were actually very late to do so. Nearly every state in the US already prohibits the use of drones to directly scout for game.
Laws outlawing drones for hunting parallel existing regulations that have been around for years against flying on the same day you hunt. So you can’t fly over a herd of elk and then land your helicopter and go shoot them.
It all comes down to the idea of “fair chase,” a term first coined by Teddy Roosevelt and the group of hunters that founded the Boone and Crockett Club.
According to the group’s website, fair chase means “the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.”
As technology improves, regulators are continually adjusting the rule books. In New Hampshire, officials recently banned the use of smart rifles and live action cameras, such as those used in the TrackingPoint precision guided system.
While these laws are intended to address a perceived unfair advantage, many hunters question whether they would actually make things easier. Sure they offer a bird’s eye view without the use of expensive helicopters, but drones are still noisy. They sound like a swarm of bees and could easily spook deer or other animals.
Then again, a buzzing drone could be used to flush out birds. But as duck hunters will tell you, it’s awfully difficult to know where those birds are going to go, so the idea of actually pulling this off successfully is very unlikely.
Meanwhile, feel free to continue using your drone to spy on your neighbors.
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