Lawmakers in Michigan are looking to keep drones from being used by hunters to gain an advantage over wildlife. Michigan would join Alaska, Colorado, and Montana in banning drone-assisted hunting. Legislation has also been proposed to block animal rights groups from using drones to harass or interfere with hunters, a measure that was implemented in North Carolina on Dec. 1.
“This came from hunters and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, according to The Detroit News. “They felt [the use of drones] takes away from the spirit and tradition of what hunting is supposed to be about.” He also made a distinction between unmanned aerial vehicles—”a real-time device that gives you a view of the field”—and the technology used in trail cameras and fish finders, which “still requires a degree of hunting or fishing skill to be used effectively.”
At a hearing on Tuesday, Michigan’s House Natural Resources Committee considered both bills as a pre-emptive move. “This is prospective legislation that addresses this issue before it becomes a widespread problem,” said Ed Golder, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.
A story in the Daily Tar Heel suggests that North Carolina’s prohibition of drone use to survey hunters, a portion of N.C. House Bill 1099 which took effect on Monday, is a response to the production and distribution of PETA’s Air Angel drone. Some are criticizing portions of the new law for bearing vague terminology and supporting a practice known as “ag-gag”—the prohibition of aerial filming at agricultural sites, where advocacy groups and journalists are interested in investigating environmental practices.