B.C. Liberals ground hunting with drones

Government treating drones like helicopters, sets minimum and maximum fines

The B.C. Liberal government has strengthened regulations to ensure hunters do not use flying drones to help them track wildlife, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced on July 22.

The provincial government amended the Wildlife Act hunting regulation, making it illegal for people to operate or possess a drone, or use data obtained by a drone, while on hunting or trapping expeditions. It is also now illegal for a third party to use a drone to help a hunter or trapper.

Before the change, Section 27 of the Wildlife Act made it illegal to use a helicopter to hunt in British Columbia, although the province contended that drones were a kind of helicopter. The minimum fine for hunting with a helicopter or drone is $2,500 – although a first conviction could cost a hunter $250,000 and up to two years in jail.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation, B.C. Trappers Association and Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. support the change.