House bans drones to buzz hunters
Lansing — The Legislature made a rare but unanimous bipartisan gesture Tuesday by voting to ban the use of drone technology to buzz or otherwise disrupt a hunter looking to kill deer or other game animals.
The House voted 108-0 to make harassing a hunter with the an aerial unmanned vehicle a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Penalties increase to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a second offense. An individual would violate the bill if they used a drone that “blocks, impedes, or harasses another individual who is engaged in the process of lawfully taking an animal.”
It also makes it illegal to use a device to block hunting ground or affect animal behavior in an effort to “hinder or prevent the lawful taking of an animal.”
The legislation is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for his possible signature after the Senate voted 38-0 in September to pass the bill.
There is also a pending bill that would make it illegal to use drones to hunt deer and other game animals. Outdoor enthusiasts have called for the legislation to ensure individuals use some skill to bag animals and uphold the spirit of hunting,
Alaska, Colorado, Montana and Canada's Saskatchewan province earlier this year approved bans against the use of drones in hunting.
While hunting with aerial surveillance hasn't been a problem here, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials, readily available Internet video shows how it might be done.
One video follows a drone-mounted camera spying on an elk among some trees near Oslo, Norway. Another shows night-vision-equipped drone cameras zeroing in on nuisance feral pigs in a Louisiana farm field before they are slain by hunters on the ground using rifles equipped with night scopes.