Advancements in technology have made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones much less costly and more available to the public. Drones have the potential to do amazing things in terms of photography and aerial shots. However, they also can be used for purposes that are harmful to hunters and anglers alike.
Last year MUCC drafted resolutions that would give legal definitions and restrictions to the use of drones in relation to hunting and angling. These resolutions were inspired by the increase in incidents of drones being used by anti-hunting groups to harass hunters and anglers while practicing their lawful right to hunt and fish. Furthermore, they were drafted to prohibit hunters from using drones to take game in accordance with fair chase principles. The resolutions were advanced through the legislative process but were held up in the final days of the 2014 lame duck session.
With the new session however, the resolutions are steadily making their way through the legislature after their reintroduction as Senate bills 54 and 55. On Wednesday they made it out of the House Committee on Outdoor Recreation with one amendment. This amendment offered by Rep. Goike would prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from using drones to interfere with those who are engaging in the lawful taking of game or fish as well. The two bills along with the amendment were unanimously voted out of committee and will now move on to the full House for consideration.
This is good news for MUCC members as the Legislature is showing its persistence in passing these bills. They are continuing with their renewed commitment to conserve, protect and enhance our natural resources and outdoor heritage.