The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has cast a unanimous preliminary vote to enact a ban on the flying of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over lands or waters designated as state game lands.
The measure will be brought back to a July meeting, where commissioners will consider it for final approval.
In addition to protecting wildlife, the commissioners said the ban also would ensure drones aren’t used to interfere with lawful hunting and trapping on game lands.
The preliminarily approved measure provides for exceptions to be made through written permission by the executive director.
During the snow-goose migration season at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this year, the game commission says its staff detected at least five instances in which UAVs disturbed wildlife. In one case, a drone was flown into an off-limits propagation area that serves as a sanctuary for resting waterfowl, and another disturbance caused hundreds of waterfowl to suddenly flush. There also were reports of drones being flown close to bald-eagle nests, according to the commission.