The Great Outdoors Made Easy?
~ Samantha Lewis
The ‘droning’ on about drones is continuing. But with each new week, there seems to be something brand new to focus on. Although there are many articles regarding drones being ‘green’, running on biofuels and diminishing the carbon footprint in this world – not to mention, delivering your Amazon packages, which is still seen as impossible by most – there is a new issue with drones that seems to take away from the environment – or, at least, takes away from the art of enjoying it.
The Great Outdoors is there for a reason. Some of those reasons – and the most important ones – come with being able to breathe better, increasing plant and animal life, bringing back the earth to a healthy, natural state after causing so much ruin with suburbia and destroying forests – the list goes on.
But the Great Outdoors is also a place of pleasure for the hunter. Even if you do not like or believe in, say, whitetail hunting in
the wintertime, there are millions who disagree. They see hunting as enjoyment, a family experience, and they do actually eat venison – we are not talking about hunters who pay millions to shoot, take a webcam pic of the kill, and then walk away to pat themselves on the back. But…using drones to help hunt? That is not only seen as ridiculous and terrible by environmentalists, but the wealth of hunters also see it as absolutely stupid. Talk about taking away the actual hunt – what would be the purpose?
Well…it seems that the big game hunt is what these drone lovers are speaking about. And New Mexico is now the next in line to halt the use of drones for hunting. What next in line means, is that Alaska, Colorado and Montana have already stood up and shouted their heads off about this particular premise, and have outlawed the use of drones in hunting. I mean, let’s be honest here – fair chase is the whole point of the hunt. Sitting in your jeep eating a sandwich while someone tells you to look left and shoot, is not exactly the enjoyment of bringing down game. And sportsmen’s groups as well as animal advocates are right on the money when they say that historical traditions, talents, skills, abilities – all the things people wish to pass on to the next generation – are what should be used for a hunt, not a piece of technology.
The New Mexico Wildlife Federation spokesman, Joel Gay, said it best: “Hunting an animal with your physical senses, with your eyes and your ears and even to a lesser extent your sense of smell, that puts you on fairly even ground with these animals that can see far better, hear far better and smell far better than we can.”
When it comes to drones, you are talking about removing the challenge from the hunt – which is what the hunt is all about in the
first place. The use of drones, is feeling a lot like the Facebook/Twitter/cell phone takeover of our lives that has already happened. Technology has made it easy. (And when you sit and think about it, far more dangerous, but that debate will be for another time.) Technology has been introduced into preschool lives. It has been introduced into potty-training – is there a place where this could possibly end?
As each facet of life – from work to sports to child raising – is taken over by technology, we become the ‘stuff’ that sci-fi writers created decades ago. We’re not The Jetsons – nor should we want to be. We are a people with history. We are a people with abilities that WILL fade and be erased from our children’s lives if we end up doing everything in life from a sitting position, looking at a screen, and talking to a computer or cell.
Now even though drones are ‘anecdotal’ at this moment in time when it comes to uses in hunting, the states have been very wise to stop the problem before it becomes one. In New Mexico, the state Game Commission is set to vote this month on a proposal that would make it illegal to use drones to signal an animal’s location, to harass a game animal, or to hunt a protected species observed from a drone within 48 hours. Seeing as that all of this is already illegal if done from an aircraft, the word ‘aircraft’ is what will be redefined to include unmanned, remote-controlled drones. Which is exactly how it should be.
Here is a fact: In the United States at this moment, federal aviation regulators do not (yet) allow for the commercial use of drones. BUT the government is working on operational guidelines and HAS said that as many as 7,500 small commercial drones could be flying within five years of getting widespread access to U.S. skies
Frankly, that makes me want to run into the woods. Of course, if we become this ridiculous, you won’t even be able to hide in there – once technology takes over the ‘Outdoors’ just as easily as it already has the ‘In’.