PETA Drones On
Russ Chastain 09.24.14
PETA has long been known to go to extremes to show that it values animals higher than it does people, and lately it’s going to new heights in order to harass hunters.
“Using your hobby drone, you can collect instant to-your-phone video footage of hunters engaging in illegal activity, such as drinking while in possession of a firearm, injuring animals and failing to pursue them, and illegally using spotlights, feed lures, and other nasty but common hunting tricks. Your amateur footage can be used to alert game wardens and other authorities to who is doing what to animals.
“While hunters hide in trees or pretend to be ducks in order to inflict harm, hobby drone operators who are always careful not to interfere with wildlife or hunters just may end up saving lives.”
While it’s nice to see the suggestion that drone users not interfere with hunters, that’s almost certainly there just for “CYA” purposes. One cannot fly a drone near a hunter without interfering “with wildlife or hunters.”
One obvious reaction by gun-toting hunters would be simply to shoot down such drones. And while that may be illegal, the folks that PETA claims to be targeting with these drones are already criminals by definition (poachers and such), and criminals hardly ever hesitate to break laws. In other words, the supposed targets of drone surveillance are likely to shoot ’em down.
The drones themselves are likely to be illegal in many areas, especially as laws are passed banning the use of drones over public hunting land. It would make sense that any ban would cover all drones, not just those that might be used to scout game for hunting.
At least one shoot-down of an anti-hunting drone was recorded on video in 2012. My heart does not break for the loss of that drone, which was, unfortunately, repaired.
Drones are interesting things and can be used for many good purposes. Fighting unscrupulous hunting is a good purpose, but somehow I doubt that’s what PETA people really do with them. Harassing legitimate hunters would be far easier for them and would better match up with PETA’s actions in the past.
And that’s where the USA’s many laws against hunter harassment come into play. My home state of Florida, for example, has a law that states that “A person may not intentionally… Interfere with or attempt to prevent the lawful taking of fish, game, or nongame animals… [or] Attempt to disturb fish, game, or nongame animals or attempt to affect their behavior with the intent to prevent their lawful taking.”
Clearly, a drone flying hither and yon would disturb game animals and hunters and would thus violate the law.
Also, we have wildlife officers to enforce game laws. There’s no need for bunny-hugging renegades to attempt to do so.
Here’s hoping this is just another case of goofball activism and that the use of drones by anti-hunters will quietly fade away to some quiet, dark corner out of which it should never have emerged.