Taking to the air after game will land you in hot water in Wyoming.
Scouting for wildlife with drones during hunting season is now illegal in the state of Wyoming. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commision recently passed regulation that bans the use of both unmanned "drones" and piloted aircraft in the scouting of game animals from August 1st to January 31st each year.
Existing laws in the state prohibited scouting for wildlife from a plane and than hunting within 24 hours. The new rule strengthens the existing regulation and adds the ban of unmanned aircraft as well.
"We always knew we were probably going to have to address something with the new technology from drones, but we actually got quite a bit of public concern that go us looking into this thing," said Brian Nesvik, chief game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in an interview. "They didn't think it was right to take advantage of an airplane and find an animal."
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, an organization that advocates for public land access and preservation has been leading the charge in banning the use of drones as a hunting tool.
In a 2013 interview, Land Tawney, Executive Director of BHA laid out the organizations stance on the topic. "Our largest concern is the erosion of fair-chase principles," Tawney said. "Whether drones are used for scouting to find animals or, in a worst-case scenario, where they're used to pinpoint a particular animal for a hunter to kill, it's a problem.
The stance is echoed by the Wyoming BHA Co-chair Buzz Hettick, "No true sportsman will say with a straight face that hunting or scouting animals with a drone or aircraft is fair to the animal or to other hunters in the field."
"We greatly appreciate the Game & Fish Department listening to the concerns of Wyoming sportsmen and clarifying this language to uphold our tradition of fair chase hunting - without the interference of unnecessary technologies."