BHA-led effort to promote fair chase hunting gains momentum with wins in two key states
Missoula, MT -(AmmoLand.com)- Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is celebrating new successes in advancing fair chase hunting following recent decisions in Minnesota and New York to ban the use of drones while hunting and scouting.
“These victories attest to the power of our grassroots volunteers – and their commitment to upholding ethical hunting and fishing,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Since 2013, BHA has successfully facilitated regulations governing the use of drones by hunters in every Western state except Washington, with efforts underway there now. BHA chapters have been instrumental in advancing this national movement in support of fair chase.”
BHA state chapters have initiated and led a national grassroots movement to ban the use of drones in scouting and hunting. BHA has successfully facilitated drone bans in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming and is currently working to implement a ban in Washington. Illinois and West Virginia have followed in banning drones, as well.
“This is what happens when BHA comes to the table,” stated Tawney. “We achieve positive results – results that benefit sportsmen, fish and wildlife, and the future of hunting and fishing in North America.”
In recent years, the use of “unmanned aerial vehicles,” or drones, has skyrocketed. The Minnesota chapter initiated its effort following the growing use of drones in the state. In response, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources included information in its 2015 hunting regulations stating that drones, along with other wireless devices, cannot be used to take big game and small game.
“As sportsmen, we have a responsibility to support the principles of fair chase, including the use of emerging technology,” said Erik Jensen, co-chair of BHA’s Minnesota chapter and a Minneapolis resident. “Minnesota BHA is happy that the Department of Natural Resources has taken action to regulate the use of drones while hunting and scouting. We look forward to continued opportunities to work with the department to uphold ethical hunting and angling practices.”
BHA has emerged as a strong advocate for the ethical taking of fish of game. Efforts by BHA’s New York chapter resulted in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation revising its interpretation of aircraft and its use while hunting to encompass the use of drones. Drones now are prohibited in New York not only for hunting but for the harassment of wildlife in general. BHA was referenced during legislative hearings on the measure.
Dave Colavito, a member of the board of BHA’s New York chapter, welcomed the news.
“The Department of Environmental Conservation should be commended for taking this proactive stance,” said Colavito, who lives in Rock Hill, “which makes it ‘unlawful to hunt big game … with aircraft of any kind, including drones.'”
Read BHA’s letter to Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr regarding hunting and scouting with drones.
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