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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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  • by Anonymous Coward

    What are they trying to protect?

    • by bored_engineer (951004) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:48AM (#46564261)
      Probably less affluent hunters. Using aircraft (or FPV drones) would allow wealthy hunters to potentially lock out subsistence hunters who have little to no income, or perhaps for whom this is an important cultural activity, rather than a fun trip for the weekend.
      • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday March 24, 2014 @12:22PM (#46564603) Journal

        its also because hunting is supposed to be a 'sport'. Hunters constantly are getting access to better and better technology, the Moose, and deer not so much. They playing field is already plenty slanted.

        Over hunting can ruin things for everyone, even non hunters. There is a legitimate social interest in NOT allowing hunters to become more effective.

        In some ways hunting on public game lands is like an MMO. Some people might like to use cheat codes, to avoid the grind of tracking and stalking or sitting and waiting, potentially spending all weekend and coming home without a prize, etc. If you let some people do this though it would ruin the 'game' for everyone.

        • Their effectiveness is mostly irrelevant when we impose limits on how much they can kill. Drones dont change that.
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            If everyone who went got their limit, there'd be nothing left. The limit is to prevent people from taking enough do that a few could cause a problem.

            Bear baiting is illegal, and hunting on the same day as you flew was already illegal, it looks like they are just expanding "flew" to include viewing areal surveillance. It's not a big change in law, just generalizing and existing law slightly.
  • Redefine hunting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ranbot (2648297) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:55AM (#46563709)
    Because at some point you can't call this "hunting" anymore. Good for Alaska.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Why would using a camera in the sky be defined as hunting all of a sudden? Or did you assume there was a gun on it?
      • by Ranbot (2648297) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:14AM (#46563907)

        Or did you assume there was a gun on it?

        Nope, I read the article just fine and didn't assume anything. We don't let hunters use automatic rifles. Many states out-law "spot-lighting" of deer for good reason. We don't let fisherman use electro-shock or dynamite to catch fish. There are reasons to limit technology in hunting for the purpose of sport and to give the animals a chance.

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

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:25AM (#46564009) Homepage
          There's always questions around this about "how much restriction is too much restriction?". There's places that don't allow barbs on fishing hooks. Also, hunting isn't just a sport, for many it's also a source of food. Fishing can be a sport because you can do catch and release. Most other forms of hunting I'm aware of aim to kill the animal. So while they may be "sport", there's very real consequences for the animals in question. As long as there are limits on how many animals you're allowed to kill in a season, should it really matter how you went about tracking and killing said animal?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            for many it's also a source of food. [...] should it really matter how you went about tracking and killing said animal?

            This right here (given the elesion) is precisely what I wanted to say. Sure, maybe even most hunters are out for yuks. But if there's limits, who gives a shit how sporting it is? As a comment addressed to the general population, worry about your own food, which was probably mistreated all the way to your plate, and not about the animal that the hunter did his damndest to drop with one shot.

          • by shadowrat (1069614) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:55AM (#46564349)

            As long as there are limits on how many animals you're allowed to kill in a season, should it really matter how you went about tracking and killing said animal?

            That was my first thought too. I suspect that the limits are based on a reasonable expectation of how many animals people are going to kill while walking around and just looking for them unassisted. When the DNR gives out permits to kill 500 moose, it's probably done with the assumption that only 45% of those hunters will succeed. Now, if it was suddenly way easier for the hunters to find the moose, the DNR might have severely overestimated how many permits they could safely give out. It's easier to simply ban the use of drones for scouting out game than to recalibrate your culling numbers with data based on how drones affect success.

            It's also probably in the state's interest to keep hunting reasonably difficult. if they start giving out only half the number of permits because people are just going to kill 2x as many moose with their technology, suddenly, there aren't as many reasons for tourists to come in for that activity.

    • In fact it is still 'hunting', even if you start using Reaper drones and Hellfire missiles. Your mistake is the romantic, disturbing, and false notion that 'hunting' is meant to be fair to both parties.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Your mistake is the romantic, disturbing, and false notion that 'hunting' is meant to be fair to both parties.

        Where do people get this strange, disturbing, and false notion that hunting is supposed to be fair?

        Hunting is a game of probability. Drop your typical burger-eating city dweller in the woods with a rifle (or bow if you prefer) and they have practically zero chance of finding anything to kill worth eating. Study and learn the behavior of your prey and that probability increases. Learn how to av

    • by jythie (914043)
      I think we passed that point a long time ago. I imagine it will not be all that long till people start arming drones so they do not even have to go sit in the cold.
  • No! (Score:2, Funny)

    by schneidafunk (795759)

    But what else are my drones good for?

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:01AM (#46563781)
    Then law enforcement using drones should be illegal too.
    • Then law enforcement using drones should be illegal too.

      yeah! and while we're just trying to get some pork passed with this bill lifeguards shouldn't be allowed to warn swimmers of sharks and my construction company gets a $5 million grant!

  • Bah (Score:3, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:07AM (#46563825) Homepage Journal

    Real men drone hunt in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
  • Sadistic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:09AM (#46563835)

    Just because you call it game doesn't make it a sport. I really do not understand the appeal of killing animals for fun. To get a meal? Sure. To deal with a pest? Makes sense. To protect yourself? No problem even though it rarely happens. For environmental stewardship? Great. But just for fun? With high powered rifles and drones? That makes that person a sadistic asshole. We're already WAY too good at killing things. If you are out to kill things for "fun" then make it a level playing field and do it with nothing more than a knife.

    Someone who would use a drone to hunt is like someone who plays a game with "god mode" enabled. They're completely missing the point. The point isn't to kill the animal at any cost. Someone who can afford a drone isn't doing it for their next meal. They're just killing to get their rocks off. Pity we aren't more evolved than that.

    • Just because you call it game doesn't make it a sport. I really do not understand the appeal of killing animals for fun

      Do you understand the appeal of first person shooters? Same concept, only with sport hunting you get a meatspace trophy to hang on the wall, as opposed to some sort of digital achievement.

      Not that I agree with the practice (much the opposite), but I do understand it.

      As for "hunting with drones," I also see a legitimate use case: scouting. Being able to establish migratory and feeding habits without having to hike through miles of wilderness and spend weeks camping along deer trails would be a real boon to t

      • by jythie (914043)
        Which is kinda the disturbing part since it speaks to hunters seeing animals as equivalent to those digital representations, no life before the player enters the scene, doesn't feel pain, exists for their amusement.

        Which is why, even though it sounds a bit hyperbolic, 'psychopath' is really not that far off. Granted the disorder is only really defined in terms of not having empathy for other humans, history has shown we have a rather sliding scale about what counts as 'like us' and what does not, and all
        • Which is kinda the disturbing part since it speaks to hunters seeing animals as equivalent to those digital representations, no life before the player enters the scene, doesn't feel pain, exists for their amusement.

          Oh please.

          See, this is the other reason* why the hunting community ignores you "environmentalists," - the hyperbole. I mean, really, calling a person a 'psychopath' because they hunt for food, rather than wait for someone else to kill it for them? Childish narcissism doesn't even begin to describe it.

          • by jythie (914043)
            We are specifically talking about people who hunt for fun, for the social experience and the enjoyment of tracking down and killing something. Even if they collect the meat and eat it, it is still generally a hobby activity where the primary gain is pleasure, not calories. So this means not just the mental gymnastics necessary to believe animals do not have awareness or feel pain, but taking the additional steps of going through expensive social actives and choosing to go and kill them for fun.
            • We are specifically talking about people who hunt for fun, for the social experience and the enjoyment of tracking down and killing something.

              No, you're personally attacking people who engage in a certain activity because you, for whatever reason, have subjectively decided that no one has a legitimate need to engage in said activity, and thus anyone who does is [insert favorite ad hominem here].

              Talk about mental gymnastics - you ever eat a cheeseburger from a commercial outfit? Do you have any idea where that meat came from, or how the cow it was made out of lived before having it's neck cut so it bleeds out onto the slaugherhouse floor, in full

    • by hippo (107522)

      It's not a level playing filed if you carry a knife. Vladimir Putin strangles them with his bare hands and Chuck Norris just kills them with a single punch.

    • I think most hunters eat what they kill. Few need to though, which is why it's more of a "sport" similar to how it's called "gardening" not "farming". Is spending the weekend hiking in the woods using some skills to get meat really more sadistic than sitting on the couch watching TV and eating the wings of a dozen factory farmed birds?
    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Hunting is not for everybody and not every person should be expected to understand the appeal. As a person who has hunted for most of his life, I will say that while I greatly enjoy the process of doing my research, learning the patterns of the animal, learning the lay of the land and practicing my skill set in such a way as to be undetectable when on the field. It is far more easily said than done and can be a tremendous challenge, depending on what it is you are trying to hunt. Most hunts you may not even

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:09AM (#46563839)

    In Maine it's legal to bait an area until bears come to it, then chase them up a tree with a pack of dogs, then walk up and shoot them out of the tree.

    This pervasive mentality (shooting wolves from a helicopter) and now this new drone thing is what gives hunters a bad name.

    • In Maine it's legal to bait an area until bears come to it, then chase them up a tree with a pack of dogs, then walk up and shoot them out of the tree.

      Sounds more like trapping than hunting. [footloosemontana.org]

    • If I recall right, bear baiting is only legal in ME for 3-4 months in the fall as well.
    • Is that not how humans traditionally hunted bears? I keep seeing people deride all this hunting business as using too much technology or insight to trick the animals... but that is precisely what got us to the top of the food chain in the first place. The simple fact of the matter is that killing animals is a solved problem, so these people just self impose rules to make things more 'fun'. Their time would be better spent solving actually challenging problems, but oh well, everyone needs to find entertai
  • by JimMcc (31079) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:11AM (#46563859) Homepage

    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. If we are going to ban aerial observation, than it should be for all applications and uses of it regardless of how monied the operator is.

    • by jythie (914043)
      Money. Hunting is 'non-profit', you do it for entertainment (or at minimal, the people who can afford a lobby do it for entertainment). Factory fishing is for-profit, thus anything they do that decreases the cost to consumers and increases their personal wealth is 'ethical'. Same applies to killing animals for purposes of protecting livestock or farmland, pretty much anything goes since wealth=better.
    • Rules. It is simply a societal choice to limit the effectiveness of recreational hunters vs. commercial activities.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Monday March 24, 2014 @12:23PM (#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."

  • Kudos to Fish and Wildlife of Alaska. Drones are no different than shooting from a quad or using a helicopter or plane for wildlife spotting, It is fine to use that gear to scout the area the day before, but once sun rises the day of the hunt it is the one sport that for all practical purposes stuck in 1910 technology. It would be nice to have a regulation that you can search for a wounded animal with a drone as that is where a few hunters run out of steam, in the tracking or chase of elk or moose that
  • But (Score:4, Funny)

    by slapout (93640) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:35AM (#46564123)

    Is it legal to hunt drones in Alaska?

  • Doesn't anyone remember when we used to go out after wooly mammoths with clubs? Youngsters these days!

  • At least folks are still getting out in the fresh air.

    Seems like its only a matter of time before people can just sit in their living rooms and run an armed drone around the bush to shoot stuff for them.

    It already happens a bit with the astronomy crowd - why stand shivering when you can remote your telescope from the comfort of home?

    On the plus side, if you do happen to design a drone smart enough to hunt down a critter, you may have a future building dystopian tech for the defense industry.

  • by AntiTuX (202333) on Monday March 24, 2014 @12:34PM (#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.

  • ...are pretty much illegal now. Great.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday March 24, 2014 @01:11PM (#46565115)

    Hunters with high-velocity rifles/sniper scopes/drones/helicopters vs. an unarmed animal? When one side has such a massively asymmetric advantage it is ridiculous to label the activity as a sport. I laugh at those pathetic people. They should be embarrassed to even admit that they are mentally stunted enough to even want to do it.

    Hunting will only be a sport when the hunted animal gains an equal ability to locate and kill its hunters, including taking out their vehicles and helicopters.

    Until then, hunting is just a predetermined and terminal (therefore the worst) form of sadistic bullying and/or an unnecessarily inefficient form of food gathering. Apparently those that spend thousands on hunting then claim they do it just for food aren't capable of even basic economics or understanding that there's a good reason why hunter-gatherer societies got completely superseded by agrarianism.

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