Hunting regulators in New Hampshire are set to consider new rules that would ban the use of increasingly popular game cameras that can transmit footage in real time to cell phones or computers, and could also bar the use of so-called "smart rifles" that use computers to shoot game on the move.
According to documents filed January 8 to the New Hampshire Fish and Game department, hunters would be banned from using so-called “Live-Action Game Cameras” to “locate, surveil (sic) or aid or assist in any attempt to locate or surveil any wild animals for the purpose of taking or attempting to take the wildlife.”
The rule appears to propose the ban of increasingly popular game cameras that use cellular technology to transmit photos or video footage to a hunter’s smartphone or computer when the animal triggers the device. More companies like Bushnell and Wildgame Innovations offer cellular trail cameras that help hunters who are sometimes hours away from their hunting grounds keep an eye on their favorite spot.
The proposed rule changes also include banning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to scout game — a restriction seen in many other sates — and surprisingly would ban rifles that use computerized sighting systems, or so-called “smart rifles.”
The smart rifle measure is aimed squarely at the new TrackingPoint firearm that uses sophisticated computer algorithms and sights to fire the rifle when the game is in the right spot.
“We need to establish rules regarding these fast-changing technologies to make sure that people understand that their use for hunting is not appropriate or ethical,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Martin Garabedian, according to New England Cable News. “Use of this equipment violates the principle of fair chase because it gives hunters an unfair advantage over wildlife.”
But TrackingPoint officials tell Grand View Outdoors the New Hampshire ban would be a mistake and could lead to more wounded animals and missed shots.
"Banning the use of technology such as TrackingPoint’s Precision-Guided Firearm would be a mistake not only for hunters but for all New Hampshire residents,” said TrackingPoint marketing VP Danielle Hamblin. “This technology is also more ethical, resulting in cleaner kills, responsible harvesting and far less wounding of animals."
Further, TrackingPoint argues a smart rifle ban would also threaten to reduce the already dwindling number of hunters who buy licenses.
“This rifle tech can help grow the sport of hunting by attracting a younger generation that’s grown up with and is accustomed to technology being embedded in everyday life,” Hamblin explained. “As younger generations seem to be more interested in simulated reality (video games, etc.) this technology is a tremendous opportunity to re-ignite their passion for the outdoors, wildlife and the traditions of hunting.”
A public hearing on the proposed changes will be held February 5.