British Columbia has made it illegal for people to operate or possess a drone – or use data obtained by a drone – while they are on a hunting or trapping expedition.
The announcement was made today by Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations for the province.
“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 practice,” he says.
British Columbia amended its Wildlife Act hunting regulation in order to ensure hunters do not use unmanned aircraft to help them track wildlife. Under the amendment, it is also now illegal for a third party to use unmanned aircraft to help a hunter or trapper.
Before the change, Section 27 of the Wildlife Act made it illegal to use a helicopter to hunt in British Columbia. The minimum fine for hunting with a helicopter or drone is $2,500; however, 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, according to a release from the British Columbia government, which adds that Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador have already banned hunters from using drones.
“Using drones to help track your prey just isn’t part of the hunting culture in British Columbia,” comments Jim Glaciar, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation. “Hunters are respectful of wildlife and their habitat and very supportive of the steps government is taking to prevent hunters from using drones.”