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Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska 397

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
garymortimer (1882326) writes in with news about rules for hunting with drones in Alaska. "At its March 14-18 meeting in Anchorage, the seven-member Alaska Board of Game approved a measure to prohibit hunters from spotting game with such aircraft, often called drones. While the practice does not appear to be widespread, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said the technology is becoming cheaper, easier to use and incorporates better video relay to the user on the ground. A drone system allowing a hunter or helper to locate game now costs only about $1,000, said Capt. Bernard Chastain, operations commander for the Wildlife Troopers. Because of advances in the technology and cheaper prices, it is inevitable hunters seeking an advantage would, for example, try to use a drone to fly above trees or other obstacles and look for a moose or bear to shoot, he said."
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Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

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  • Re:Redefine hunting. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:27AM (#46564033) Homepage

    Not for bear or moose. You could do it, but it's not common - as opposed to deer. The latter often use the same trails day in and day out so parking yourself in one place that you know the animals traverse is a good strategy. Bear wander all over the place. Moose are sort of in the middle.

    In Alaska, the big 'purisim' issue is black bear baiting. That's still legal - and blatant cheating IMHO. As would be using drones. In most western states it is illegal to use aircraft to spot game within 24 - 72 hours of the hunt (depends on the state). This would be just like that only easier to do. You can buy one of these for a couple of hours of air time.

    That said, you'd have to have a pretty powerful drone to have the kind of range needed to be useful. Well within technological limits and getting closer to being easily affordable. Remember, bear hunting clients spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a brown bear. Perfectly insane, but that's human nature. Bear guides might want to use this sort of thing for an extra edge - you don't want your client to go home empty handed.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:44AM (#46564209)

    Actually, you might be surprised how much of the US population still hunts for food.

    The answer is a very small percentage and close to none of them actually need to do it. We spend over $22 billion [statisticbrain.com] on hunting which could easily feed every person in the US that actually needs to hunt to put food on the table. Furthermore there are plenty of food assistance programs available to anyone in the US should they need the help. This argument that we have people that "need" to hunt for food is an absurd and false justification to whitewash the fact that most of them do it for their amusement and no other purpose.

  • by Solandri (704621) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:23AM (#46564615)

    What's the difference between a hunter with a drone and a factory fishing vessel with spotter planes? Is it scale? money? Both models are using airborne technology to assist in the gathering of food.

    Alaska does a really good job managing its fisheries; probably the best in the world. Commercial fishing "season" is not just a "catch as much as you can" free-for-all. It starts on a specified date, each ship is allocated a certain tonnage it's allowed to catch, and they have until a certain date to catch it. The use of spotter planes (actually I'm not sure they use those in Alaska, but hypothetically) would allow a ship to meet its quota more quickly, thus minimizing cost and risk to the lives of those at sea.

    If there were commercial hunting, then it'd be the same. Drones would make sense because it would make the activity safer and more cost-effective. However, "commercial hunting" turned into cattle ranching several thousand years ago. The only remaining forms of hunting are sustenance and recreational. While an argument for drones could be made for sustenance hunters (people living in remote areas who have to kill wild game for their food), it contradicts the rationale for recreational hunters who are presumably doing it for "the thrill of the hunt."

  • by AntiTuX (202333) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:34AM (#46564727) Homepage

    From what I recall from the hunting laws, you had to have a 72-hour "cooling down" period after using a helicopter or aircraft to spot animals.

    Honestly, we (my father and I) were more interested in terrain issues than we were the animals. You want to try to find the path of least resistance, and also making sure that we could actually cross specific rivers, and at what points they were broken open during the winter time. At some places the snow would be so deep that if you stepped wrong, you would be up to your neck almost instantly. That doesn't even count making sure that you weren't in a hunting route for a grizzly bear, which makes things even more difficult. Having something that is the size of a VW beetle running at you full-bore at around 40 MPH is not something I want to ever repeat. It was hard living. It was more a survival thing for us.

    Every winter, there was a herd of about 400,000 caribou that would come within about 50 miles of town. Honestly, getting to the animals was the hard part. Getting one was as easy as taking a 200 yard shot with a high-powered rifle.

    Keep in mind that where I lived, we were 500 miles away from any major city, and the only way in and out was by aircraft. We actually lived off of what we killed and made use of it. We weren't out there looking for the big racks. We were doing it for survival, and we also followed the rules.

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