An Illinois House Committee approved a proposal this week that would make the use of drones to harass hunters and anglers illegal. According to the Bloomington Pantagraph, House Bill 1652 was introduced by State Representative Adam Brown (R-Champaign) after he heard about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) plans to use drones for surveillance of sportsmen.
“I think these drones are a new frontier as far as the invasion of our personal rights,” Brown said.
If passed, the bill will criminalize any act of interference with a law-abiding hunter or angler using a drone, or a remote-controlled aerial vehicle.
PETA recently announced its intention to fly drones over popular hunting and fishing spots in order to record lawbreakers and “those who are out in the woods with death on their minds.” Many outdoorsmen believe that the drones will only serve to harass them and scare off game. A large negative reaction to the announcement spread online, leading many commentors to say that if they encounter a PETA drone in the field, they will shoot it down.
According to CNN, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk is not concerned.
“I’d rather have them shoot something inanimate than an innocent doe,” she told CNN. “It’s not the bedroom; it’s the great outdoors, so let’s see what they’re up to.”
PETA intends to follow all federal regulations while flying the aircraft, which requires maintaining a line-of-sight and flying under 400 feet. Newkirk added that her organization’s drone program will be focused especially on bear hunting and bear hunters. No specific locations for drone patrols have been announced.