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Julie Morrison


SPRINGFIELD – Using drones to get an advantage when hunting and fishing wouldn’t just be unfair, it would also be illegal under a new law proposed by state Senator Julie Morrison.

“Let’s keep the man – or woman – in outdoorsman,” the Deerfield Democrat said. “Using drones to hunt makes the process too easy. That’s not fair for hunters and fishers who are seriously into the sport, and it’s not fair for the animals that deserve a chance to escape.”

While small animals that fear birds of prey run when they see unmanned aerial vehicles, big game animals like deer are unfazed by the small aircraft, making them easy pickings for high-tech hunters.

Several other states, including Colorado, Montana and Alaska have already passed laws or rules banning the use of drones for hunting and angling, and they’re off-limits in Illinois-neighbor Wisconsin because of existing state law.

Across the country, proposals to ban using drones for hunting have brought together surprising allies – hunting enthusiasts and conservationists. Both groups generally believe that drone-users gain an unfair advantage.

“The sentiment is that using drones to hunt is basically cheating,” Morrison said. “I’m inclined to agree.”

The senator came up with idea for the law while talking to officials from Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources late last year. She also noted that she may consider an amendment to allow the use of drones to hunt or fish for invasive nuisance species like Asian carp.

If Morrison’s legislation becomes law, conservation police and other DNR employees will be allowed to confiscate drones that are used for hunting. The hunter could also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in prison or two years on probation.

The legislation is Senate Bill 44.

Category: Features

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