Adobe Stock / Field & Stream
Pennsylvania could become one of a growing number of states to allow the use of drones to recover downed game. On January 2, State Senator Jarrett Coleman released a memorandum asking fellow lawmakers to co-sponsor a bill that would make the practice legal, after a drone operator was busted last month for attempting to help a client recover a deer in Lancaster County.
On December 6, during a Game Commission sting operation at the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve, Wingy Drone Services owner Joshua Wingenroth became the first person in the Keystone State to be charged with unlawfully using a drone for game recovery. He received one count each of disturbance of game and wildlife and spotlighting, and two counts of using unlawful devices and methods. The PGC confiscated Wingenroth’s drone, and he is facing penalties up to $2,500 in fines and three months in jail.
The case has turned up the heat on an already hot topic in the hunting community. “It’s common sense to me and I don’t think we should try to overthink it,” Sen. Coleman told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Is there any good reason to allow an animal that’s been killed to go to waste?”
One of the controversies surrounding the issue is that, as things stand, it’s not entirely clear to hunters or drone operators (or apparently some wardens) just what is and isn’t legal in this regard. While current game laws do prohibit the use of drones for hunting in Pennsylvania, using one after the hunt to recover an animal is a stickier question—one that seems to be up to the discretion of individual wardens, says Mike Yoder, host of the Drone Deer Recovery podcast and a drone operator in Ohio where the practice is already legal.
In a January 8 episode, Yoder interviews a P.A. drone operator who estimates that he helped recover 40-some game animals for clients this past season. The man tells Yoder that he had a warden out with him one night during a recovery and that there was “not an issue in the world. The next month, they’re doing a sting operation in another part of the state. So, it’s like, which warden are you going to get?”
Sen. Coleman’s proposed legislation would make things crystal clear—that drones should not be allowed for hunting but should be for recovery after the fact. “With the advent of drones,” he told WHTM News, “hunters have an additional too to use and reduce the amount of dead game that goes uncollected.”
Yoder encourages Pennsylvania hunters to reach out to their state senators about the issue and to attend the upcoming PGC Board Meeting in Harrisburg on January 26 when the public is invited to comment.
The post Pennsylvania Legislator Wants to Make Thermal Drones Legal for Deer Recovery appeared first on Field & Stream.
Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.