B.C. shoots down hunters using drones

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      Keeping up with the times, the provincial government has said hunters in B.C. are no longer allowed to use drones to catch their prey.

      Today (July 22) the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources amended the Wildlife Act to make it illegal to use drones—officially known as unmanned aerial vehicle—to hunt or trap a wild animal. The ban also prohibits using a drone for scouting, including a hunter communicating with a third party who is using a drone to assist them.

      Environmental organizations and hunting enthusiasts were quoted by the government as welcoming the new rules.

      “Using drones to help track your prey just isn’t part of the hunting culture in British Columbia,” said Jim Glacier, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation. “Hunters are respectful of wildlife and their habitat and very supportive of the steps government is taking to prevent hunters from using drones.”

      Scott Ellis, executive director of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., expressed a similar sentiment.

      “Hunters come to British Columbia to experience the wild and beautiful backcountry and participate in Fair Chase hunting,” he said. “Drones undermine the experience people have come to expect when they hunt big game in this province.”

      The specific regulation in question already banned the use of helicopters for hunting purposes. The government expended that section of the legislation to include unmanned vehicles such as small hobby drones.

      The penalty for using a drone to hunt is set at a minimum of $2,500 and up to $250,000 and two years in prison.

      There’s no record of how common a practice it was for B.C. hunters to use drones before today’s ban took effect, though according to the release, the new rules conform to existing practices.

      The provincial government noted other provinces already have similar bans in place, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

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