Colorado Considers Ban on Hunting Drones


Share this Post

As communities across the country weigh in on how to handle new drone technology used for hunting, Colorado is considering a ban on the use of unmanned aircraft to help sportsmen seek out game.

Federal law has banned hunting from the air for over 4 decades now, according to Randy Hampton, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Hampton pointed out that there is an escalation of drone aircraft being manufactured in the U.S., and added, "We want to make it clear what the rules and regulations are with this new technology."

Below is a clip of a Parrot AR Drone chasing deer:

At present, federal law states that a hunting party must wait 48 hours to engage game after a scouting flyover has been conducted, which coincides with a "fair chase" unspoken law that hunters abide by. The emerging drone technology has complicated standing regulations, and Hampton says that a drone ban would be a part of an updated package of new regulations that lawmakers will vote on early next year. Any new laws would go into effect in time for the 2014 hunting season in Colorado. The state rakes in roughly $404 million per annum, via hunting license fees, equipment sales, outfitting and lodging.

In related news, a small Colorado town called Deer Trail, Colorado, had recently considered an ordinance that would allow hunters in the area to shoot down drones. The town even voted on a bounty for recovered drones. Deer Trail resident, Phillip Steel, who drafted the ordinance, said, “We do not want drones in town. They fly in town, they get shot down.” The FAA went on to quickly point out that shooting a drone out of the sky is obviously a dangerous activity, and is against the law.

The U.S. military has long used weaponized drones for reconnaissance and battlefield excursions, but now one can buy a little drone at middle-of-the-mall kiosk for relatively cheap.

These sort of scary RC drones might soon be banned on Colorado hunting trips:

Still, for now one can only purchase a novelty Deer Trail drone-hunting license, and hope the drones don't someday become self-aware. "It is a statement, but really just a novelty that could generate interest in the town and bring in some money through festivals or something like that," town clerk Kim Oldfield said. "It wouldn't allow people to shoot things out of the sky."

Image via Wikimedia Commons.