Call to restrict drone use that interferes with hunting, fishing

Written by Rachel McDevitt/Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 22, 2016 4:11 AM

(Harrisburg) -- As the state Game Commission considers banning drones over 1.5  million acres of state game lands, one lawmaker is proposing putting new restrictions on the use of the unmanned crafts in the commonwealth.

The bill from Democrat Gerald Mullery of Luzerne County would make it a summary offense to use a drone to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing, and boating activities in the commonwealth.

"There are a lot of FAA guidelines that are in place and we want to make certain that the commonwealth is in line with those," he says. "So, we may have to enact some legislation just to be in compliance with federal law."

The Democratic vice chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee  says he was contacted by sportsmen's groups who had heard about certain animal rights organizations using drones to monitor, and in some cases disrupt, legal hunting activities in other states.

He says the groups use the unmanned crafts to, "either simply disrupt the recreational activity that sportsmen are doing or more sinister, trying to scare the game away so that outdoorsmen could not enjoy a hunt."

"The sportsmen that I represent, they all felt that was something that we wanted to get out in front of, rather than be reactive after the problem presented itself here," he adds.

Animal rights groups have said they use drones to catch illegal hunting activity.

Drones have been shot down in Pennsylvania in years past while monitoring lawful pigeon shoots.

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