Hunters beware — government grounds drones
The Province has strengthened regulations to ensure that hunters do not use flying drones to help them track wildlife, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced Friday.
The Province amended the Wildlife Act hunting regulation, making it illegal for people to operate or possess a drone, or use data obtained by a drone, while on a hunting or trapping expedition. It is also now illegal for a third party to use a drone to help a hunter or trapper.
“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,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Before the change, Section 27 of the Wildlife Act made it illegal to use a helicopter to hunt in British Columbia, although the Province contended that drones were a kind of helicopter.
The minimum fine for hunting with a helicopter or drone is $2,500 – although a first conviction could cost a hunter $250,000 and up to two years in jail.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation, B.C. Trappers Association and Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. support the change.
“Hunters come to British Columbia to experience the wild and beautiful backcountry and participate in Fair Chase hunting. Drones undermine the experience people have come to expect when they hunt big game in this province,” said Jim Glaciar, president, B.C. Wildlife Federation.
- Drones are small, remote or GPS-controlled aircraft that can be equipped to send digital images to the operator.
- Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario,and Newfoundland and Labrador have banned hunters from using drones.