LAMAR, COLORADO — The Colorado Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers today applauded the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission for showing national leadership in protecting hunting rights and fair chase from emerging technology of civilian drones.
“Hunters are America’s first conservationists and we have a century-old tradition of policing our own ranks,” said David Lien, Co-Chair of Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “We’re pleased that the CO Parks and Wildlife Commission has stepped up to protect our hunting traditions, by ensuring fair chase and fair distribution of wildlife.”
Today, the Commission took an initial look at draft regulations which wouldban the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for hunting or scouting in Colorado. UAVs, or “drones” are increasingly popular in civilian hands and there are videos on the internet of the machines being used to spot, stalk and hunt wildlife.
The Commission reviewed regulations drafted by staff and will make a final vote at the January commission meeting in Westminster. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers was the first national sportsmen’s groups to set a policy opposing the use of drones by civilians to search for wildlife while hunting. Most states have laws limiting the use of manned aircraft for spotting wildlife, however questions remain whether private unmanned drones would be considered “aircraft” under these rules. The regulations drafted by Colorado Parks & Wildlife staff would lay any question to rest.
“Drones are poised to be very popular among civilians and there are many legitimate uses in science, agriculture and search-and-rescue,” said BHA Director Land Tawney, of Missoula, Mont. “However, hunting should remain an activity of skill and woodcraft, not just technology. If drones take off in hunting fields, it will split the ranks of hunters between those who can afford and embrace the technology and those who do not.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a conservation group based in Montana, with chapters throughout the West. Tawney said other states are considering drone regulations, but Colorado is the first to take action.