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Bill targets use of drones to monitor hunters

Bill targets use of drones to monitor hunters

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Virginians don’t like anything to come between them and their hunting. And if Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Mecklenburg, has his way, you’ll be able to add the use of drones to the list.

That’s right, drones — those unmanned aircraft that have risen to prominence over the last couple of years as lethal and low-risk military intelligence tools in the war against terror.

Under Virginia law, it is unlawful to “willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting of wild birds or wild animals.” The offense is punishable as a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Ruff’s bill adds: “Impeding hunting shall include utilizing an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, for the sole purpose of monitoring and photographing persons who are lawfully hunting on private land if done by a private person who does not have the permission of the landowner.”

The Senate Committee on Agriculture took up the bill Thursday and referred it to the Courts of Justice Committee, which meets Monday.

Jim Nolan

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