Almost every state in the country seems to be trying to pass legislation that would protect private citizens from police-operated UAVs. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are simply trying to preserve one of their states’ most beloved pastimes: hunting.
The state senate has introduced two bills this past month that would outlaw any drone use that could interfere with “another person’s lawful taking of game or wildlife.”
On April 7, Democratic Sen. Richard Kasunic introduced Senate Bill 1332, which would outlaw “using an unmanned aircraft in a manner that interferes with another person’s lawful taking of game or wildlife.” Kasunic introduced a similar bill that would apply the same measure to fishing and boating.
Drone operators are facing a passel of new state laws that often broadly define where drones can and cannot be used, resulting in confusion as new legislation forms an inconsistent patchwork of regulation.
In the Pennsylvania House, Democratic Rep. Gerald Mullery has introduced a similar bill in response to alleged drone harassment by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Mullery told the Wilkes-Barre Citizen’s Voice that PETA uses or sells drones called Air Angels to harass legal hunters in attempts to uncover illegal ones.
“While the operators of these drones claim that they are being used to spot illegal activities, the reality is that they are disturbing wildlife and interfering with the recreational opportunities of law-abiding hunters and fishermen,” he said.
PETA’s blog claims the drones will only be used to capture footage of illegal activity but doesn’t state how such drone use will conform to state laws.
“PETA aims to see a fleet of Air Angels patrolling the skies this fall, capturing footage of hunters engaging in cruel and/or illegal activities—such as shooting deer from the side of the road, baiting fields for ducks or geese, or using dogs to chase turkeys.”
PETA is selling the drone for $324 in its online catalog.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Director Matthew Hough told the Citizen’s Voice that drone interference had not been an issue and that current law would cover any violations.
“We do have a section of Game and Wildlife Code that prohibits interference with lawful hunting,” he said.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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