SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois House committee endorsed a proposal Monday to criminalize the use of drones to interfere with someone’s hunting and fishing.
State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, proposed an addition to an Illinois criminal law that prohibits interference with hunting and fishing.
Brown’s addition would make it a misdemeanor to use of a drone to interfere with a hunter or fisherman who is lawfully taking wildlife or aquatic life. The proposal defines “drone” as any aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator.
Brown said he proposed the measure when he read that one animal rights group used a drone over hunters in Pennsylvania and another announced plans to buy drones “to stalk hunters” nationally.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on April 8 publicly announced it would “go high-tech this fall to bust lawbreakers who leave animals to die.”
The group said it was shopping for “one or more drone aircraft with which to monitor those who are out in the woods with death on their minds.”
“Slob hunters may need to rethink the idea that they can get away with murder, alone out there in the woods with no one watching,” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a press release.
Brown said hunters should not be “stalked and tormented” by drones.
“I think these drones are a new frontier as far as the invasion of our personal rights,” Brown said.
Committee member State Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Smithton, said as a hunter he believes drones overhead would definitely spook turkey and deer.
The legislation is House Bill 1652.
Contact Hlavach at Laura.Hlavach@lee.net or 217-528-1079.