Caribou Gear

drone ban in WY

teamhoyt

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I just read a post on another forum about banning drones/aircraft between certain dates in WY. The question I pose is don't several of the new hunting show including fresh tracks use drones to get that video coverage from the air? and I assume that this will cause some sort of issue for them in the future. If that's not how that footage is taken I would be curious as to how its done. I think it adds a cool perspective on the shows.
 

BuzzH

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For filming purposes like taking pictures of scenery, trucks, etc., there shouldn't be a problem as it wouldn't violate the intent of statute.

23-3-306(a) (a) "No person shall harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, or kill any Wyoming wildlife except predatory animals with, from, or by use of any aircraft, automotive vehicle, trailer, motor-propelled wheeled vehicle, or vehicle designed for travel over snow. No person shall use any aircraft, to aid in the taking of any Wyoming wildlife, except predatory animals, whether by spotting or locating the wildlife, communicating with any person attempting to take the wildlife, or by providing other aid to any person taking the wildlife. Nothing in this subsection shall apply to the use of any aircraft by governmental agencies, their employees, contractors or designees performing any lawful duties. The commission may exempt handicapped hunters from any provision of this subsection.

That has been a law for a long time. The confusion was a result of REGULATION, that stated a person must wait 24 hours before hunting.

Jeff M. and I sat down with the WYGF and discussed this issue at length. It was determined that the 24 hour regulation weakened statute, which is against the law. Regulation can strengthen statute, but cant weaken it.

Also, there was no regulation in regard to drones/uav's and they are now included in definition of aircraft in regulation. The 24 hour language will also be removed.

There apparently has been some confusion on using aircraft to access landlocked state and BLM lands. The current statute and regulation DO not prohibit that. It may need to be clarified in regulation and Jeff is working on that with the WYGF as I type this.

Just an FYI, under the previous 24 hour regulation, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to hunt state lands via aircraft. Since over-night camping is not allowed on State lands, there would be no way to fly into those sections, wait 24hours, and then hunt them.

Under the new regulation, it would be legal to be transported via aircraft to State lands and be able to hunt.

WYBHA has worked extensively on this issue. What the "new" rules are trying to prevent is scouting via drone/aircraft. This is a big problem for mule deer in the NW part of the state. Aerial scouting has really taken off (pun there), the last 5+ years for all species, antelope, deer, elk, moose in particular.
 
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Thats a great question. I was actually wondering about that the other day. It will probably be just another permit required in order to film a hunting tv show in these wild areas.

On a related note, I came across an article about a small town in Colorado called Deer Trail, where there is actually a measure awaiting approval that would allow "drone hunting licenses," allowing people to shoot any drone they see flying within 1000 feet. I thought it was kinda funny lol. Amazon recently stated that they are considering using drones for package deliveries. Its scary to think that just two or three decades ago such a thing was unthinkable. So the drones are coming whether we like it or not.
 

johnp

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The ariel footage from drones shown on some of the diy type hunting shows makes good entertainment , but I wouldn't miss it one bit if it means drones are completely out of the picture for anything to do with hunting season . John
 

elkantlers

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I actually just bought a drone. Not for hunting or anything hunting related, just cause the kids thought it would be cool. By the way, it is cool. They are a lot of fun to fly around. I honestly don't think they would help you that much in a hunting situation. From what I have read, most drones only have about a 10 minute flying time and have a pretty limited range. They also get hard to see and operate once they are very far away.
 

LopeHunter

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Drone batteries will get more powerful. The 10 minute flying time today will be 20 minutes in a couple of years then an hour or more soon enough. The range will get better, too, and zooming up 1500' to look over the top of the ridge into the next drainage will be tempting vs. hiking for an hour or two.

A drone with a camera is a trail cam that can move around. Need to flush a buck toward you? Send in the drone. Night vision to find a bedded bull elk? Ethical? Has that ever stopped the slobs and poachers?

Outlaw drones. Outlaw trail cams and confiscate on public property. Are birds of a feather IMHO. Both allow someone to sit on their butt and let technology spot the animals.
 

elkantlers

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Outlaw drones. Outlaw trail cams and confiscate on public property. Are birds of a feather IMHO. Both allow someone to sit on their butt and let technology spot the animals.

What has aided in the harvest of more animals, Drones or High power optics? Which would have the greatest return on decreasing the harvest of animals, Drones or high power optics? Which should be banned? I am betting you have some nice optics, so I am going to go out on a limb and assume you will defend optics.

Like I said earlier, I have no interest in using drones and could care less if they are banned. I just think it is interesting that people get so bent if someone has a perceived advantage, Even though that same person is using several advantages in their own hunting.
 

BuzzH

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What has aided in the harvest of more animals, Drones or High power optics? Which would have the greatest return on decreasing the harvest of animals, Drones or high power optics? Which should be banned? I am betting you have some nice optics, so I am going to go out on a limb and assume you will defend optics.

Like I said earlier, I have no interest in using drones and could care less if they are banned. I just think it is interesting that people get so bent if someone has a perceived advantage, Even though that same person is using several advantages in their own hunting.

Pretty lame argument, since optics have been around for many decades.

Plus, the issue of drones needs to be addressed now. Its better to get in front of the technology before it becomes a bigger problem. Most states have done that, and rightfully so.

As far as others getting "bent if someone has a perceived advantage" that's just not the case....its not about the advantage. Its a line in the sand over how technology impacts the resource. With everything else that we all use, enough has to be enough at some point.

I think most are willing to draw the line with drones and aerial scouting, and both are going to be illegal in Wyoming by the end of 2015.

BTW, nice post LopeHunter, I agree 100%. A classic example of technology impacting the resource is the AZ strip. I was talking to Ryan Hatch one day in Kanab about the strip and it caught my attention when he said, "trail cams have killed more big bucks on the strip than anything else"...
 

elkantlers

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You must have missed the part where I said I couldn't care less if drones are banned. And, I am certainly not making an argument for them. I was only saying that there is tons of technology out there that has a greater impact on game than drones.
Like I said, It easy to ban stuff as long as it isn't something that you use.
 

BuzzH

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Its easier to ban things before they become a problem.

I would gladly give up technology for more time in the field, more opportunity, and to help struggling wildlife resources....every time, without exception.

Obviously your mileage varies...or you wouldn't bring it up. Glad you don't care what happens in regard to drones/aircraft in Wyoming, the residents here do, and we make the decisions.

Good luck with the drone...probably legal to use one for scouting in Utah, a great place for them.
 

Oak

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Regarding drone technology: I don't know much about it, but I recently reviewed a sheep study proposal that included the use of high-tech drones that could be programmed to fly to the coordinates of a collared sheep and record what other sheep may be visible in the area. This was in a difficult to access wilderness area, so I assume the range is fairly good. I'm guessing that it all depends on how much money you want to spend.
 

LopeHunter

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What has aided in the harvest of more animals, Drones or High power optics? Which would have the greatest return on decreasing the harvest of animals, Drones or high power optics? Which should be banned? I am betting you have some nice optics, so I am going to go out on a limb and assume you will defend optics.

Like I said earlier, I have no interest in using drones and could care less if they are banned. I just think it is interesting that people get so bent if someone has a perceived advantage, Even though that same person is using several advantages in their own hunting.

If you and others on this forum have ever hunted big game on terrain that is quite flat though with some tall vegetation then you have no doubt been amazed to see pronghorn or deer walking along at a few hundred yards distance and bed down into sage or scrub brush and simply vanish. Someone hiking into that area a few minutes later would never see those critters unless waited for several hours.

Now, give that guy hiking by a drone and will be easy to gain perspective by flying up 100 feet or so over the sage flats. Easy to spot the bedded animals and even "accidentally" flush them towards you. Oops.

Same visibility challenges in a deep, nasty canyon with loose rock sides. Stand on the rim sipping some ice tea while you fly your drone around looking into the hidden fingers and on the back side of scrub patches.

A high power scope on a rifle can allow me to shoot 1000 or more yards. I do have to see the animal first. Drones will make the seeing much, much easier which will drive up harvest rates and needlessly flush out and harass the deer that are deemed not worth shooting at today.

You may be able to make that 1000 yard shot in a crosswind and not shoot off the back leg of an elk as it takes a step forward during the time the bullet flies drifting sideways. That is not an ethical shot for me. A few of us on this forum might be able to shoot a muzzle 250 yards or an arrow 100 yards. Not me. These are ethical issues related to ability.

Some ethical issues are not linked to ability. None of us can use a spotlight to fill our deer tag. None of us can shot an elk then decide is not big enough so walk away. Ethics.

I see trail cams and drones as ethical issues. Not ability issues. Ethical issues in that you can encounter something without using your eyes. I would place night vision goggles in the same pile. All three of these devices do not magnify what you are seeing but rather reveal what you would not see.
 

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