‘Unethical’ high-tech hunters using drones to find prey – Nova Scotia

Hunters in Nova Scotia say they’re seeing far too many people using aerial drones to help them find animals to kill.  

Ian Avery, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, uses drones for photography.

But he says using them for hunting crosses a line.

“It’s pretty unethical to use a helicopter or a plane or a drone, in this case, to go after wildlife,” said Avery. 

The provincial Wildlife Act forbids hunters from using any type of aerial vehicle to hunt or chase wildlife. Avery believes that includes drones, although they are not specifically mentioned in the act.  

Deer are among the animals that hunters using drones can potentially track. (CBC)

No one charged yet

The federation has asked the province to tighten the regulations to specify that drones cannot be used to aid hunters. 

So far, Avery doesn’t believe anyone in this province has been charged after using a drone for hunting.  

The law is not stopping some people from using remote-controlled machines to pursue deer, moose and other animals. 

Drones can reduce the amount of time hunters spend trudging through woods, bogs and fields tracking animals. That’s enough to entice some people to use the devices. 

Avery said it’s hard to know how many people may be using drones this way.

Avery uses his drone for taking aerial pictures. He says drones are fine for recreational purposes, but shouldn’t be used for hunting. (Rob Short/CBC)

‘It hurts the outfitters and guides’ 

Animals aren’t the only ones suffering as drones make their way into the forest. Guides and outfitters are feeling pressure from the machines, too. 

Some worry drones could cost them business. 

Dave MacLeod owns Farmland Outfitters in Millbrook First Nation in the town of Truro. 

“It hurts the outfitters and guides that have the training and do this for a living,” he said.    

“A lot of guides, we have to have a course and a licence, and we spend time to get that….

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