Following in the footsteps of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, British Columbia becomes the third Canadian province to make the use of drones for the purpose of hunting illegal.
As technology continues to change the landscape for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, regulators are quickly adapting to the changes in an attempt to remain one step ahead.
“We have to make sure that our regulations keep pace with technology. These changes help ensure that the rules are in line with what most hunters already practise.” Steve Thomson, British Columbia;s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said last week.
From a technical standpoint, the regulation changes were made to the same section of the Wildlife Act that prohibits the use of helicopters for hunting. Fines for the violation of these regulations start at $2,500 but can rise to $250,000 for first time offenders who may also find themselves behind bars for two years.
“Certainly it doesn’t fall within the realm of fair chase that should be conducted when hunting,” Al Martin, director of strategic initiatives for the B.C. Wildlife Federation told CBC News.
In addition to the unfair advantages drones could provide hunters, there is also a great deal of concern about those using the aircraft to obtain photographs of nesting birds or elusive mountain goats and sheep.
“Wildlife are sensitive to disturbance, especially at certain times of the year — their mating seasons or when newborns are around,” Steve MacIver, acting manager of the province’s wildlife management section said in an interview. “The last thing they need is to be harassed by a drone.”