Consider it a preemptive strike. That’s how state Sen. Richard Kasunic described a pair of bills that would outlaw the use of drones to disrupt legal hunting and fishing activities in Pennsylvania. “It hasn’t happened here in Pennsylvania yet, but I’m sure that in due time it will happen,” Kasunic, D-Fayette, said Wednesday.
The possibility may sound a little far-fetched, given that most of the talk about drones focuses on military capabilities. But even Amazon is considering using unmanned aircraft to deliver packages, and Dominos is exploring ways to use a quad-copter to drop off piping-hot pizzas.
There’s another possible civilian use: monitoring hunters and anglers.Ashley Byrne, a campaign specialist with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said drones have been used effectively overseas to police poachers.
In America, PETA last year conducted its own test flight of drones as part of a program to keep watch over hunters. The organization began offering drones for $324.99 as part of its online catalog, describing the “Air Angels” as “The New Hobby for Animal Protectionists.”
The animal-rights activist group has painted its “Air Angels” as tools to capture evidence of hunters illegally shooting deer from the side of the road or cracking open a cold one while pursuing their next trophy buck. That footage could then be used to alert authorities to problems, PETA said.
“The idea is that poachers need to rethink the idea that they can get away with murder out there alone in the woods with no one watching,” Byrne said.
The drones could also capture the “cruel” side of hunting — such as animals dying slowly after being shot, Byrne said.
While activists might catch illegal activities on tape, they could also scope out hunters and anglers doing nothing unlawful. It makes for a privacy problem in the eyes of state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin, an outdoorsman and chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee.
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