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Public Hearing on Proposed Rules on Hunting-related Use of Drones

CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public hearing at noon on Thursday, January 29, 2015, regarding proposed rules that would regulate the method and manner of take of wildlife through the use of emerging technologies such as drones, smart rifles, and live-action game cameras. The hearing will be held at Fish and Game headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, in Concord, N.H.

“We need to establish rules regarding these fast-changing technologies to make sure that people understand that their use for hunting is not appropriate or ethical,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Martin Garabedian. “Use of this equipment violates the principle of fair chase because it gives hunters an unfair advantage over wildlife.”

Garabedian explained further that “the traditions of hunting dictate that game be taken in the spirit of fair chase, which is one of the central ideas behind North America’s successful wildlife conservation model.”

Specifically, the new rule would:

– Ban the taking of wildlife using an unmanned aerial vehicle (commonly referred to as “drones”);

– Ban the use of “smart rifles” for taking wildlife (these rifles contain a computer that locks in on the target, adjusts for wind, animal movement, etc., and automatically fires);

– Ban the use of live-action game cameras to locate wildlife for the purpose of taking said wildlife. These cameras transmit real-time images to a cell phone or computer.

The complete rulemaking notice, with proposed rule language for these proposals, can be viewed at http://www.wildnh.com/Legislative/Notices_summary.htm (click on “Hunting-related Use of Drones, Smart Rifles”).

Written comments must be received by February 5, 2015. Send to: comments@wildlife.nh.gov (use subject line “Comments on [title]”); or write to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to 603-271-1438.

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