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Oregon House votes to outlaw hunting with drones

March 18, 2015

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Lawmakers in the state House voted unanimously Wednesday to outlaw the use of drones for hunting or fishing in Oregon.

While there’s no evidence that Oregon hunters or anglers have been using drones, the bill’s proponents said it’s happened elsewhere.

“Drones have no place in sport hunting, fishing or trapping,” said Rep. Brad Witt, a Democrat from Clatskanie who sponsored the bill. “They are simply antithetical to the principle of fair chase and fair catch.”

The bill orders the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt a rule banning the use of unmanned vehicles to track, harass or scout fish and wildlife. It passed in a 59-0 vote, sending it to the Senate.

The Humane Society of the United States says Oregon would join Colorado, Montana and Alaska in prohibiting drones for hunting. Similar prohibitions have also been proposed in Vermont, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and Illinois, according to the organization.

Drones would give hunters an unfair advantage over the animals they target, said Scott Beckstead, the Humane Society’s Oregon director. The bill’s supporters say wildlife populations might dwindle if drones are widely used to scout or kill game.

“You’re using technology to locate game rather than engaging in sort of the fair chase and the traditional stalking methods that most responsible hunters adhere to,” Beckstead said of the prospect of hunting with drones.

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