Wildlife officers urge the public to take wildlife into consideration as drone usage is increasing stress on wildlife. There have been several recurring cases of people using drones to hunt and/or harass wildlife, violating the CPW Commission Regulations as well as the Federal Airborne Hunting Act.

CPW Field Services Assistant Director, Heather Dugan, said, “The bottom line is, if it’s related to a hunt in any way, you can’t do it. For scouting, locating, anything. If they fly before they take an animal, they’re illegal. If they use the drone to locate an animal they may have shot and wounded, they’re illegal.”

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This year it is reported that there are 3.5 million small drone hobbyists in the US, with many people flying drones in areas where they can harass wildlife.

Dugan said, “The definition of harassment is causing any change in the behavior of the wildlife. So, if the animal runs, if it changes direction, if it stops eating, that’s harassment. Any change in the animal is considered harassment and it’s illegal.”

Drone usage can be a huge threat to wildlife if used irresponsibly. This can include flying too close to wildlife or following wildlife. This is especially dangerous and stressful for animals who are protecting their babies, eating, or being hunted. 

Anyone who flies drones should do so responsibly and understand the effect that they can have on wildlife.

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