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LETTER: Hunting and drones shouldn’t mix

A drone was used during standoff that started in the early morning hours Saturday and ended peacefully at about 1:30 this afternoon. Keith Gosse/The Telegram
File photo

Lately, through different newspapers, magazines and the public there, has been a lot of talk about hunters using drones, helicopters or bush planes to spot and stalk animals from the air, particularly drones.

Now I realize people enjoy their high-tech toy’s, however, we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere when it comes to hunting land mammals from the air.

There still seems to be an increasingly distorted view of wilderness that is enough to bring tears to a glass eye. 

If a person wants to harvest a moose in Newfoundland or an eland in Africa, if fair chase is not incorporated from the beginning of the harvest, it’s a disgrace to hunters and a negative for the whole hunting culture worldwide.

Yes, there are some controls put in place for air travel in and out of remote wilderness areas, that really should be increased if anything. An example would be no hunting a day or two after you fly into a remote hunting camp. This puts the hunter and animal being harvested at some form of level playing field where the animal has a chance to escape or move out of the area.

Worldwide there is huge problem with poaching and the indiscriminate slaughter of our precious wildlife resources.

Drones in the hands of the wrong people are as dangerous as any form of new technology if used as a means to spot and stalk land mammals. Anybody looking for this kind of an edge in the woods should really reconsider how bad this practice is, because as we all know, through media and our peers the world does have its share of criminals and kooks who have no respect for nothing or nobody.

They will take whatever they can shoot with no regards for the next generation.

As amusing as drones maybe to some people for hunting — and given the rapid pace of technology in this 21st Century — we cannot allow people to engage in this practice during harvest time, at least. Wilderness areas in this province and worldwide have enough challenges through encroachment, remote cabin development and indiscriminate dumping to deal with let alone this new technology, compromising the bit of wildlife we have left.

I ask conservationist Shane Mahoney and government leaders to please put legislative controls in place before drones become as cheap and easy to use as a cigarette lighter.

The truth is people hunting by air in whatever means have a huge advantage over the animal they are after, which is simply wrong.

One example is the satellite telemetry used by the Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador governments to track the George River Caribou herd migrations in Labrador. Every man and his dog had online access to this information that only the biologist should have been able to access. Criminals and the like could go online and estimate where the herd was at an approximate time.

No fair chase here, that’s for damn sure!

This kind of technology definitely didn’t help the plight of the George River Caribou in the long run and will not help Newfoundland’s and Labrador’s $15-million Woodland Caribou research initiative, either.

Yours in Conservation,

Anthony J. O’Leary

Western Bay

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