CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — With bow season starting this weekend and firearms soon after, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding people to not use drones in any capacity while hunting.
Cole Thompson, owner of Hunter’s Haven in Champaign, said drones jeopardize the sport.
“You can fly them over and get a live feed of a field or live feed of the woods and know if a specific animal is in those woods at that given time,” Thompson said. “So it makes sense that they’re outlawed, and it makes sense that they’re not allowed to be used because that’s technology that just takes away from the sportsman’s aspect of it.”
DNR Officer Zachary Williams pointed out that operating the drone while hunting would fall under the same category as using any other vehicle.
“You can’t use a vehicle, whether that’s the big Ford truck, whether it’s an ATV, whether it’s a combine, whatever,” Williams said. “You can’t use that. You can’t be riding in that and take white-tailed deer.”
Thompson, like other hunters, hopes the DNR looks at feasible and fair rules in regard to a drone’s possible usage during recovery.
“It makes sense that the DNR, that it’s regulated where drones are not used for the taking of wildlife and using that kind of technology to harvest animals,” he said. “Hopefully in the future, they look at maybe the recovery aspect of things because it makes the most sense if you have an animal that you can’t find, and making that a little bit more efficient in finding an animal makes sense to me.”
With drones becoming more readily available for public use, Williams believes that painting a clear image for what is legal is important.
“People can get drones easier now with how cheap they are,” he said. “So that’s why we’re taking a stance on it. Just trying to get ahead of the curve, basically.”
It’s important that all hunters know: the only things that should be flying this weekend are arrows.