Environment Montana Fish & Wildlife to Ban "Drone Fishing"

Montana Fish & Wildlife to Ban “Drone Fishing”


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“If we can ever get to the point where you can order up a jar of marshmallows, two dozen crawlers and a 12-pack of beer from Amazon and have it delivered by drone, that would be very convenient.”

Wait, drone-fishing is a thing? Because it sounds incredible.

So-called “drone fishing” is when an angler uses a remote-operated aircraft to catch fish. The technique is mostly used in places with extremely clear water in which fish can be seen from the air. And apparently, the drones are on the radar (*ahem*) of Montana’s Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Currently, tracking game animals with a drone is illegal in Montana but it’s unclear if that regulation applies to fishing, or at least so says Phil Kilbreath of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Enforcement Division. Kilbreath raised the concern during a June meeting, claiming that the statute was unclear so now the Commission is seeking input from the public.

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For an example of drone fishing, watch the video below (fast-forward to the 6.30 mark).

However, current Montana statutes seem to be very clearly oriented toward hunting and not fishing. The statute reads, “It is unlawful for a person to use a UAV/drone for the purposes of concentrating, pursuing, driving, rallying, or stirring up any game animal. A UAV/drone may not be used to locate game animals for the purposes of:  hunting those animals during the same hunting day after a UAV/drone has been airborne, or providing information for another person for the purposes of hunting those animals within the same hunting day after the UAV/drone has been airborne. UAVs/drones are not allowed to film a hunt.”

The commission voted to outlaw using drones to carry fish in October and was allowing comment from the public until 11:59 this morning. Reportedly, the measure should pass without much struggle.

One sportsman, James Homison, reportedly told the commission that their phraseology for the ban needs to clarify that drones can be used “while fishing” but not for the purpose of catching fish. This is because, as Homison said, “If we can ever get to the point where you can order up a jar of marshmallows, two dozen crawlers and a 12-pack of beer from Amazon and have it delivered by drone, that would be very convenient.”  


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