By Montana Grant

Posted: August 14, 2022

Is it me or are we all being watched by more Drones? Almost every time I venture outdoors, I hear the buzz of a drone. Some are low while others are barely visible. They seem to hover over my spot and be watching me. 

Maybe drone drivers are just having fun. Honestly, I don’t head into the wilderness to have someone watching me. The quiet of nature is also interrupted by the buzz and whirl of these modern spectators.

I was at over 9,000 feet elk hunting when suddenly a drone flew by. It was on a grid pattern and searching. This was on Federal land where it is supposed to be illegal to uses a drone. My guess is that an outfitter or hunter was looking for a herd of elk. Perhaps the FWP was using a drone to do the same or to monitor hunters in the area.

During an ice fishing day, a drone hovered over me for an hour. This public area was also a “no drone zone” but… I waved the drone away and gave various digital signals to have them leave the area.  Finally, I drew my legal carry pistol and aimed at the drone. That did the trick. 

On an Alaska fishing trip, some friends were having great luck on their remote Halibut spot. Then one day, a drone showed up and hovered over them. For 3 days, no other boats were in the area. The next day, 3 boats were on his numbers. Drones can also record GPS locations.

What are you supposed to do if you see a drone? Most remote areas don’t have a cell signal. Taking a picture will not reveal any ID info. The pilot could be miles away. Outfitters, fishermen, or hunters are always looking for an edge and advantage. If a herd of elk is in a small area, a drone could save a lot of time. If salmon are migrating upriver, a drone could put you right on them.

Drones are a tool of rescue and law enforcement. New technology allows officials to watch and monitor poachers, and infrared cameras to concentrate on areas where issues have become a concern. High end cameras can zoom in and see what fly you are tying on. They also can be used at night or in poor conditions on land and water.

We now spend so much of our lives being filmed. Street cameras, store security, cell phone GPS, aerial surveillance, street cams, and who knows what else. If we are being honest and trustworthy, there is no risk but what if we just do not like being filmed. Privacy is an important right.

Hunting and fishing are about Fair Chase. Tree cams, laser sights, long range rifles and scopes make the hunt easier and perhaps unfair. A bird’s eye drone view is an advantage that needs to be looked at.

Some anglers use drones to carry baits into areas where they can’t cast. These areas could be below dams where access is limited, beyond the breakers in the surf, or into private waters.

We no longer need to subsistence hunt or fish. Limits, and regulations are supposed to protect and conserve our wild game and fish populations. Unfair advantages take away a sporting and fair balance.

Fishing, hunting, and outdoor sports are about peace and quiet. Limits and filling tags are secondary to getting away and relaxing. The critters and fish are simply the excuses to challenge us to have an adventure. If you measure success by meat in the freezer, then you missed the target.

Maybe we need to market surface to Drone portable missiles.

Montana Grant

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