I’m a drone guy. I love gadgets and technology that can help in improving the hunt. But is it ethical to use drones for aiding in your hunt?
Drone usage has increased over the years. You see all kinds of drones from $50k crop sprayers or thermal imaging drones to $9 Walmart drones that break on the first flight.
In many states, drones are banned for hunting or recovery purposes.
Illinois law states that the use of any unmanned aircraft, including drones for “any aspect or recovery of wildlife is unlawful”.
In Indiana, drones are banned throughout the state to “search for, scout, locate, or detect a wild animal as an aid to take an animal”.
To date, Kentucky has announced no ban on drones for hunting or recovery. The regulations only state that no aircraft of any kind can be used as an aid for migratory game birds.
In our area of Kentucky, there are a few different companies that offer deer recovery services using a drone. I’m not sure how long the state will let that go on with other states in the area cracking down on them.
We have a friend locally who has a deer drone recovery service and he keeps busy during the Fall season.
So what are the concerns on using drones for aiding in hunting?
Lets first review what the fair chase rule says. According to Boone and Crockett, the fair chase rule is the “ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the game animals.“
I have no problem with using a drone to scout for deer trails, looking at the terrain, checking your feeding locations, etc. But if you’re sitting in your stand with a drone controller in hand, looking for deer and chasing them, I believe that’s giving the animals an unfair advantage and I do not agree with it.