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Colorado Bans the Use of Drones in Hunting

After contemplating, the state of Colorado bans the use of drones in hunting activities.

A short while ago, we discussed a brewing Colorado measure that sought to issue an outright ban on the use of drones in hunting.

This week, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved that same measure in a unanimous vote, shutting out drones and other types of unmanned aircraft from hunting, scouting, and any other pursuit involved in "the taking of wildlife," said the Denver Post.

It's a big, bold move, especially given the growing prevalence of drones in virtually every area of public consciousness. Not only have the unmanned aircraft devices cropped up in hunting - particularly for scouting purposes, with many hunters seeing a place for drones as the next-gen version of trail observation cameras - they have also been considered for underwater exploration and even for package delivery. That's right, in one of the more bizarre media stories of the last year, Amazon recently announced plans to develop delivery drones in order to enhance its customer service capabilities.

Whether other states will follow in Colorado's footsteps and kick drones to the curb as far as hunting is concerned remains to be seen. The state's contention that drones represent a threat to fair and ethical game pursuit is a viable argument, and could be used by wildlife management departments all over the country to hold hunters in check as technology advancements continue to give them new advantages over the animals they seek to kill. The argument may even get a boost from hunters themselves, many of whom share the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission's belief that drones would provide an unfair advantage in hunting. Of course, hunters are probably more likely to be worried about the advantage that a drone-using hunter would have over a more traditional game pursuer, but ultimately, the reservations about drone use in hunting amount to the same thing: a ban.

Related story: Read about some Underwater Drones being used in fishing.

Not that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission's decision has gone without criticisms in the hunting community. On the contrary, a recently formed organization - called the National Association of Drone Sportsmen, or NADS - believes that the Colorado wildlife management division has jumped the gun in banning drones, "demeaning, maligning, and demonizing" hunters in the process.

By NADS' estimation, the vast majority of hunters have yet to even try using drones for hunting purposes. In fact, Colorado records indicate that no hunting incidents involving drone use have even taken place, meaning that the state's Parks and Wildlife Commission's decision to ban drones in hunting is a preemptive strike against something that hasn't even been proven problematic yet. NADS worries that the commission's premature decision in this matter is a sign of the sweeping over-regulation that is creeping into every corner of the hunting world.

If Colorado is going to ban the use of drones in hunting, however, NADS is hopeful that the provision will extend to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has recently begun encouraging animal rights activists to use drones to spy on hunters in the field. PETA claims its drone behavior is simply in place to keep hunters honest and make sure they aren't engaging in illegal or unethical treatment of animals while hunting. However, most states simply regard PETA's drone spying as something else entirely: hunter harassment.

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Colorado Bans the Use of Drones in Hunting