Drone news is coming up almost on daily basis and many of this is not even related to war or disaster. The recent spotlight has been on the topic related to drones used for hunting. The Wildlife departments of quite a few States in America have already expressed concern over using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for trapping, sport hunting and fishing purposes.
While drone for hunting has already been prohibited in States of Alaska and Montana, the latest to join the list is Oregon. Since over a month, Oregon lawmakers were considering passing few measures that would catalyze the mushrooming hunting industry in Central Oregon and Columbia Gorge.
These measures got further support from the Rep. Brad Witt, a Democrat from D-Clatskanie, who proposed a bill to prohibit drones for hunting and fishing almost a month back. As per the proposed House Bill 2534, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is directed to adopt rules that would prohibit using drone “for the purposes of angling, hunting, harassing or tracking to aid in angling or hunting.”
On Wednesday, lawmakers in the Oregon State House voted unanimously to pass the bill, thereby outlawing the use of drone for hunting or fishing in Oregon. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brad Witt said that drones have no place in sport hunting, trapping or fishing. These devices are simply antithetical and negating the concept of fair chase and fair catch.
It should be mentioned in this regard that the State already prohibited hunting within eight hours if drones are used for scouting animal whereabouts. Now that the bill orders the Oregon Department to adopt necessary measures to completely prevent the use of unmanned vehicles to track, harass or scout fish and wildlife, this means the State lawmakers adopted a step-by-step approach. The bill got passed in a 59-0 vote, and is now waiting for the Senate approval.
Few other States might follow in Oregon’s footsteps as similar prohibitions have already been proposed in New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, New York and Illinois, as per information available from the Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society, Oregon director supported the measure saying that drones give hunters an unfair advantage over the targeted animals. With drones, the chaser is actually taking help of technology which is something a responsible hunter would never do!
The bill’s supporters express concern over already dwindling wildlife populations. Thus they feel that if drones are widely used to scout or kill then that would prove to be even more disastrous for the ecosystem.
Those opposing the bill have their own viewpoints too. Since no case has been reported or noticed to justify the claim that Oregon hunters or anglers have been using drones, therefore the bill’s opponents feel that Oregon lawmakers are taking too rigid a step. Then many feel that it is not only about fishing and hunting only but the ultimate bone of contention is the privacy issue.
Now that Oregon has taken a decisive step to prevent drone for hunting and fishing, do others follow suit? It will be clear in coming months.