SALEM, Ore. – Proponents of fair chase hunting are celebrating a success in the Beaver State as the Oregon Senate advances legislation that would ban the use of drones for hunting and scouting.
“The sportsman’s voice is ringing loud and clear in the Oregon legislature,” said Ed Putnam, co-chair of the Oregon chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “This bill speaks to the core of who we are as sportsmen, and we commend the legislature’s willingness to consider it.”
BHA’s Oregon chapter called for introduction of the bill following an explosion of reports of aircraft, as well as a growing number of drones, being used to locate and pursue big game in the state. Current law prohibits hunting within an 8-hour period after receiving information on the location of a game animal from either a manned or unmanned aircraft. The new law would ban the use of drones outright for hunting, scouting or harassing wildlife.
“Fair chase is a crucial element of modern-day hunting,” said Duane Dungannon, state coordinator for the Oregon Hunters Association, “and drones don’t fit within the definition of fair chase. Technology is advancing so fast that it’s difficult to stay out in front of it. This is an effort to at least try to catch up with it.”
“Drones are becoming increasingly popular, both by sportsmen and the citizenry at large,” agreed Putnam. “This bill strengthens the language about what is and is not ethical in the face of that changing technology. We’re thrilled to see it greeted with such overwhelming support.”
The Oregon Senate held hearings on the legislation yesterday and today. Following its anticipated passage by the Senate, the bill will advance to the governor’s desk.
BHA state chapters have initiated and led a national grassroots movement to ban the use of drones in scouting and hunting and uphold the principles of fair chase. BHA has successfully facilitated drone bans in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont and is currently working to implement bans in New Hampshire, New York and Wyoming. Illinois and West Virginia have followed in banning drones, as well.