I was sent some information from a reader about the prospects of hunting deer or other animals with the use of a drone; a drone being a remote controlled flying contraption that provides video or photos of areas used to locate game for hunting purposes.
First of all we must bear in mind the Airborne Hunting Act:
This Act, Public Law 92-159, approved November 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 480) and subsequently amended by P.L. 92-502, approved October 28, 1972 (86 Stat. 905) added to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 a new section 13 (16 U.S.C. 742j-l), which is commonly referred to as the Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act, prohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harrassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued.
Also keep it in your mind that this act, having been through the rigors of the courts at differing times, has some degree of time restrictions. It is my understanding that a certain period of time must elapse from the time a prospective hunter spots game and when he is on the ground and can legally shoot.
I’m not sure that this law would pertain all that much to hunting with a personal drone. However, one must be sure of their own state statutes. In Maine, I believe the law is quite clear in that it states:
1. Prohibition on use of aircraft to hunt. A person on the ground or airborne may not use an aircraft to aid or assist in hunting:
I would suppose that once lawyers got involved, a debate might ensue as to the definition of “aircraft”. It is also my belief that when this statute was written, it was not written to deal with drones. Rather it was written to deal with a hunter on the ground by aided by a pilot in the plane as to the location of game.
What are the statutes in your state and if legal would you consider using a drone to assist you with hunting? With the ever increasing presence of technology in the sport of hunting one has to wonder what the limits are and whether or not each state is keeping up with regulations to ensure that such contraptions aren’t having negative effects on the sustainability of game populations.
This blog addresses hunting with a drone and questions the ethical ramifications of drone hunting. And the video below is sample video taken from a small remote controlled drone. If the quality and capabilities of affordable drones in general is represented in this video, I certainly wouldn’t fear the overuse of the devices.
I should also point out here that I had previously had conversations with a friend about another issue concerning the use of drones for business related items and with a bit of research it was determined that the federal government, i.e. the FAA, is beginning to crack down on the personal use of drones and is intending to regulate the activity. This should mean, licensing and all other means of pricing and regulating hobby users out of commission.
It may not be a matter of whether you would use a drone to hunt with but a matter of whether your government will permit it.