Senate Approves Drone Hunting

ADK Park News

Kim Andresen

Drone Ban lifted in Remote 6 Million Acres of Upstate NY

Adirondack Park deemed exception to NYS Law which outlaws Game Hunting by Drone

For Immediate Release: 7:51 AM | Apr. 1, 2015
Tupper Lake, NY | Adirondack Region

In an overwhelming decision by the Senate, a bill proposed in February of 2015 by Democratic Assemblyman Steven Englebright of Long Island and sponsored in the Senate by Republican Phil Boyle of Long Island, has been approved pending the following concessions.

It is now illegal in New York State for hunters to use drones to scout and locate animals in an attempt to flush out the wildlife. Englebright, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, said drones have become increasingly popular with hunters and some states have already banned their use. "Using military equipment to hunt animals rewrites the rule book on a tradition that is thousands of years old," he said.

"Hunting should have a certain degree of the process of a man being pitted against wildlife with an equal chance and some uncertainty," he said.

To this degree, the Senate has approved the use of hunting drones in a remote 6.1-million-acre park in upstate New York. The Adirondack Park is an anomaly with limited access to technology, electricity, and according to one hunting advocate, "there's even limited cell-phone coverage in some areas. I mean c'mon, this place is like the perfect almost-off-the-grid but still-close-to-everything hunting grounds."As such, it was overwhelmingly agreed that wildlife in this region had a distinct advantage against the average hunter and would therefore be considered exempt from the law.

In an effort to equal out the chances for both animal and man, using drones to flush out wildlife (aka poaching) will remain illegal, however using a drone to navigate and hunt down prey will be considered a skilled trade and fair sport.

NYS will follow procedures from a recent test site in the Southern Tier:

  1. Hunters may utilize drones with a maximum diameter of 3 feet. *
  2. Weapons must be attached to lower front-third of the drone, and must hold no more than 6 shots.**
    a) The use of automatic weapons will be considered a violation of this exception and hunters will be fined; their weapons will be confiscated and donated to the local fish and game club for educational purposes.
  3. Weapons must be attached securely to the drone using certified, state-issued zip-ties.***
    a) The use of duct tape will be deemed a violation of this exception and hunters will be fined; their weapons will be confiscated and donated to the local fish and game club for educational purposes.
  4. It is not permitted to camouflage the drone to look like a bird, a deer, or a patch of clover as this will be deemed an unfair drone advantage.

New York State is proud to promote this new legislation as a ground-breaking step toward technology meeting tradition. While Alaska, Colorado, and Montana have all recently outlawed the use of drones for hunting, and Idaho, Wisconsin, and most recently New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming, have pending rule-making petitions before their respective wildlife commissions to ban the practice, New York will be the first state to declare a sanctioned region where this practice will be encouraged.

"Hunting in the Adirondack Park has always been a challenge for the weekend sportsman," states T. Rea Huggier of the Adirondack Park Environmental Conservation Association (APECA). "Wildlife has a distinct advantage in this mountainous Forever Wild region of NYS. We see no reason to ban the use of drones in an area where hitting a tree is a more likely result than hitting anything with legs -- two or four. In this age of technology and video games, it is a natural progression for hunters to sit back, relax, and take their skills to the air. If they can hit a moving target while navigating the trees and brush, they deserve to take home their dinner."

Huggier went on to mention there will still be a good deal of sport involved as the hunter must locate their kill (weather permitting), cart it back to the APECA headquarters, and have it documented. "Drone hunters will not be allowed to bag more than traditional hunters. We need to keep that fair for the sake of those outdoorsmen who can't afford or don't have access to the more expensive, newer technology, as well as those who are just downright bad at hand-held gaming devices and choose a bulkier, traditional weapon."

The Senate approved additional provisions proclaiming that:

  • Drone usage will be closely monitored via state-issued mandatory recording devices.
  • There will be several manned check-points throughout the Park.
  • Flying with a blood-alcohol level of .12+ will result in temporary grounding of drone.
  • The state will use a fleet of unmarked camera-drones mounted with their own weaponry to enforce and eradicate any drones found in violation of the Drone Hunting Code of Conduct issued at time of license registration.
  • Unregistered/unlicensed drones will be confiscated, and/or destroyed immediately.

The public has reacted overwhelmingly positively so far to the new provision. "I never hunted before but I do love me some video games. Sure, I guess I could load up some ammo and give it a try," said Dick Poutier, a twenty-something part-time employee of Game Shoppe. Retired puppy breeder, and amateur hunter, Ella Bendell said, "This is truly great news! I can hunt from my home and only have to get dressed and head into the Park on the rare chance that I down some big wild animal. What a time saver."

REMEMBER: Drone hunting is a privilege -- similar to living and paying taxes in New York! Hunters must be 10 years of age or older to apply for a license. Prior to licensing, all applicants will be required by the state to take a mandatory hunters safety course, and score at least a 3 out of 10 on a final hunting-simulation test.

For more information or to fill out your preliminary Hunting Drone Application online, contact the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. ROOST: connecting tourists and animals for over three decades.

Overview of Approved Drone Rules

*Please note the preceding non-news release was our simple attempt at a bit of April Foolery, Drone Hunting has not been approved in the ADK Park and as such we really don't have any licenses to hand out!

In related ADK Park News:
DOT & DEC Announce Joint Rails/Trails Decision
Wilmington Notch to Install Tolls
$325,000 Tree Tracking Grant Awarded to Hamilton County
Forts Reactivated: NY Tourism to Declare Civil War on Vermont
Visible Blue Line Proposed to Outline Park Boundaries
Saranac Lake Attempts Summer Ice Palace


hunting drones

If any drones come over where we are hunting or on our private land it's going to look like the ack ack fire over Bagdad. It's coming down.

Hunting Drones

I'm not a hunter; but this just isn't right.

We're thinking of putting rr tracks on our mountains because obese people can't see our nature and floral by foot; and now drones for hunters so they can hunt easier? Also what's this about lighting up the blue line to illuminate the park from space? Or the Republican's allowing states to side step the federal laws based on claims it's against their religion? The world has a bit of 'crazies' I know this is "April Fools" Day; but really???

Obese should be hiking, and I have a few pounds extra too! Hiking is an experience in itself, a train ride is only a bumpy television show that isn't recorded.

Hunting made easier? We've already put many species on the extinct list, or endangered. We've fished out many places. Our sustainable food chain is spiraling down the rabbit hole!

Illuminating the blue line from space? Now that is the best crazy thought! We can send a billboard announcement to the aliens to saves us because we're too fat to move, and hunted out all the food ... and oh yah, our excuse is that it was against our religion so that is why we didn't obey the laws of our land.

I want April Fool's day to come once a year, please!

YAY! hunting drones

just ordered my drone should be here 3-5days


Kim, you are the best. After I calmed down I reread all of it. You got me good, I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Thanks


Hell no not right!!!! Men are cowards who hunt like this or any method !!!!!!!!!!!

Adk. Drone Hunting

I took part in the Southern Tier Drone Hunting Pilot project this past fall. It was very successful and proved to be extremely safe as there were absolutely no hunting mishaps attributed to drones. I applaud the DEC for taking this bold move into the world of technology.

So glad to hear from someone

So glad to hear from someone that has participated in the test project! I wasn't if you were under a gag order or would be allowed to comment!


Hunting with drones

What is wrong with people condoning this kind of thing. I have read some of the comments from people who have never hunted in their life. Now they will take their gaming skills to the sky with a loaded weapon
and pull the trigger without having the hunting skills necessary to distinguish where the bullets will go as they miss their target. What will the liability be to the polititians who approve this? Are DEC officers not busy enough without having to take more of taxpayers money to police additional sky hunters? If this truly passes into law, more than likely people will eventually die from accidential shootings from sky hunters. It is hard to believe Governor Cuomo would approve this after taking people's constitutional rights away by passing the safe act. This is not safe! This is a new avenue for money in the state's pocket by charging additional fees for the right to kill animals from a flying vehicle. Does the state alow people to kill from a small manned aircraft? No! This is no different! This is ludacrous!

Hi John - perhaps you didn't

Hi John - perhaps you didn't read the disclaimer at the bottom of the blog? Hopefully that will clear up all of your questions and concerns!

Drone Hunting

The article was a good joke. But most likely some so called hunters will try to use them! I declare open season on drones if I ever see one in the area!!

I’m puzzled: The article

I’m puzzled: The article claims that the state Senate passed a bill, but does not mention the Assembly, let alone the Governor signing the legislation into law. I confess to not being sure about this, but would this law not require approval by all the above, not just the Senate? Or, is this new program an administrative or regulatory change requiring no formal legislation?

I’m also not sure how I feel about this on an ethical level. On the one hand, it’s silly to talk about “leveling the playing field” in the contest between wildlife and human hunter when we’re talking about guns with a range of up to a mile or more, and computerized, self-correcting scopes, etc. Talk about an unfair advantage! On the other hand, how is using a drone to locate game any different than using a pair of good binoculars? That said, and considering the use of high-powered and long-distance weaponry, do hunters really need yet another advantage? Where’s the challenge in that?

One thing that I might favor without reservation, and on purely humane/ethical grounds is this: Limit the use of drones to their use in helping track and locate wildlife that has been wounded, but not severely enough to drop the creature in its tracks, so-to-speak. Too often, for example, deer and bear are badly injured by an imperfect shot, only to get away to die a slow, agonizing death in the woods. Drones might help locate the animal, recovering the hunter’s trophy, and allowing for the humane dispatch of the animal.

Finally, considering at least one of the comments, folks who spend $300-$1000 on a drone or “quad-copter” had better be prepared to have them blown out of the sky by pissed-off hunters who resent the distraction and noise of the damned things screwing-up their hunting, and the peace and quit of the forest (at least until they fire their own weapons). It could get ugly!

Hunting with drones

My friends and coworkers that live in thee city are repulsed when I get excited about opening day of deer season. But they dont hesitate to pull into a reasturant and order a steak or hamburger. Then they complain that they can't driver to my house in the country because there are so many deer out on the road and they might crash their vehicle? My state has too many deer. The wildlife department even wants to sterilize deer to control the population? My best advice is to regulate hunting with license, and if you want to use drones you must be a certified drone pilot for hunting and pass a gun safety program.

Drone hunting

Drone hunting I agree with because I will certainly shoot the drone if it come anywhere near me when I'm in the woods. You people who come up with this idea really need not be making our laws, you choose to hunt because of the challenges of being in an environment where you don't have the advantage that's where your skills come into play, you lazy people who don't want to put any effort into achieving you goals should stay home and play your foolish games on TV there isn't any place for you in the woods. And any lawmaker that would sponsor such a bill should be put out of office. This state comes up with new gun laws that do nothing but harass the firearm holder who is responsible and now u want to allow some lazy idiot to mount a firearm on a drone so he can fly it over some venue where people are in the open so he can harm them without actually being there . I certainly hope this is a joke and not really coming into reality .

April Fools!

Hi Greg, Check out the comment at the bottom of the blog..This was an April Fools joke blog from a couple years ago. Hopefully that clears up your concerns! :)

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