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Wildlife Officials Take On Drone Hunting Controversy

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DENVER (CBS4)- The growing debate over drones used for hunting has wildlife officials tackling the debate.

Some hunters are using the unmanned flying devices to track their prey. That practice is causing controversy among hunters and those who oversee big game management.

Drones are one of the fastest growing tech products on the market. The technology offers a significant advantage for hunters.

Drones allow hunters to get up close to their target without having to spend hours and miles tracking them.

“We think it gives the hunter an unfair advantage,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers spokesman Tim Brass.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has proposed new bans on drones to game managers across the West.

“As the technology progresses you’re ow able to locate animals without having to walk and work for them. That effort and skill makes hunting what it is,” said Brass.

Drones in hunting is an issue that’s being tackled across the U.S. In Massachusetts PETA activists use drones to record videos of hunters in the field saying they’re trying to keep hunters honest. Colorado law calls that surveillance harassment.

Wildlife officials do worry about the use of drones because it could change the nature of the chase.

“Our goal is to make sure that the harvest of animals is done in an ethical fashion. That we’re not seeing people get out there and do things that are crossing the line,” said Colorado Parks & Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

Drones are everywhere. In December 2013, Amazon.com announced a controversial plan to have drones deliver packages door to door.

Drones are even used to track the viability of wildlife.

Game managers believe the ban is needed now as drones become more prevalent in everyday life.

“We want to make sure people aren’t using technology to cheat the system,” said Hampton.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will vote on regulations that prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft in hunting or scouting on Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration that says shooting an unmanned aircraft is a crime.

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