As we look around us, we can see technology progressing at a phenomenal, yet terrifying rate. One of the many things this rapid progress has given us is drones. Drones, as an idea, were conceived in what seems like yesterday, yet they have branched out to fields no one ever imagined they would be used in. One of the latest applications of this tech is coming into the limelight- drone hunting. Yes, you heard that right – hunting using drones.
At first glance, drones may seem like the perfect companions for exotic hunting. They are silent, nimble and extremely fast – perfect
for tracking quick-footed animals and birds, but this new tech faces some opposition. People who oppose using drones to hunt animals say that hunters using said technology have access to easier methods, negating the spirit of “fair chase.” Hunting large animals such as deers becomes exceedingly easy when sing drones, as not only are they tagged, but their location can be determined remotely and accurately.
The provincial Wildlife act prevents the use of an aerial vehicle to hunt or chase wildlife. Although drones are not particularly mentioned as forbidden, many hunters believe they should be. Right now, drone hunting is not used for anything more than small mammals – mice and rabbits and the sort, but as the act is becoming more and more famous, seasoned hunters have started to wonder how long it is before drones are used to take out big game as well. Many animals have now a new apex predator – technology. Not only are animals in danger due to drone hunting, but so are many people’s jobs. Guides and outfitters, to name a few, are starting to feel threatened by these machines, fearing that they will cost them their businesses. But as any proper debate does, this story has two distinct perspectives. Those who are in favour of the usage of drones see these tiny unmanned vehicles opening up a world of opportunities. No longer will they have to go scout the hunting lands before the season drops. They can sit comfortably in one stationary spot, surveying the entire hunting ground.
Drone hunting supporters also point out that hunting is no stranger to the use of tech, with hunters frequently using trail cameras, mobile apps, and GPS devices to assist them. Thus, drones can be seen as “just another piece of gear.” These so-called “modern hunters” have been outfitting drones with more and more advanced technology, hoping to finally being able to hunt without getting their shoes dirty. The major problem though, lies in the fact that this technology can be used to devastating results. Poachers, for one, can now track particular animals with much more ease. Where they required gathering a lot of handymen just to scout the field before, now they can just employ an army of drones, which’ll do the job equally well, if not better.
The point which many hunting veterans are trying to get across is that hunting requires a hunter to do his homework. It’s not as easy as sitting at home, controlling a flying camera. This brings up the point of trail cameras – to which the owner of an outfitting store in Texas says that they’re not counted as a hunter is still required to do the legwork to set them up and prime them. The introduction of drone hunting may end up being a turning point in the act of hunting itself, shifting more towards smart technological aids than brute manual labour and instinct.
Many hunters are now driving game towards them using drones before killing them, completely eliminating the need to go out into the field. While this is the civilian side of the drone hunting debate, the legal side is completely different.The legal age at which a UAS drone can be registered is 13. Registering costs just $5, and failure to pay the same may result in charges up to $27,000, and/or criminal penalties up to $250,000 in fines, and a maximum of three years in prison. Drone hunting is completely unopposed from a legal standpoint, though the number of accidents with drones in recent years has skyrocketed. Despite this, it is illegal to shoot down a drone from the sky, just as it is for a helicopter. The drone debate rages on, with both sides providing equally compelling arguments, but something that can’t be denied it that drones will end up changing the art of hunting, for better or for worse.