For hunters, it’s nice to escape these technological distractions and head into the wilderness, admiring nature for all its wonder, and reaping the benefits of simply being outdoors.
However, some think hunters should have Big Brother constantly watching our every move, and who else but PETA should take hunter harassment to a whole new level?
Enter PETA’s new Air Angel drone, a remote-controlled, quadricopter drone being marketed to the general public as “the new hobby for animal protectionists.”
That’s right, for just $324.99, “hobbyists” can bring home their very own drone—stickers included—that can send video and photos straight to the user’s phone, allowing them to track hunters from on high.
“PETA’s drones will help protect wildlife by letting hunters know that someone may be watching—and recording—them, so they should think twice before illegally killing or maiming any living being,” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a news release. “Wildlife watchers outnumber wildlife killers five to one—and if even a fraction of these kind people use hobby drones, they’ll make a huge difference by exposing hunters’ dirty secrets.”
The release continues: “PETA aims to collect video footage of any illegal activity, including drinking while in the possession of a firearm; using spotlights, feed lures, and other forbidden hunting tricks; and maiming animals and failing to pursue them.”
Forbidden hunting tricks? That’s not hunting; that’s poaching, and we hate poachers. While poaching does happen, it’s quite a leap to say all hunters are poachers, just as it would be to say all drivers are drunk drivers.
“While hunters hide in trees or pretend to be ducks in order to inflict harm, hobby drone operators who are always careful not to interfere with wildlife or hunters just may end up saving lives,” PETA writes on its online shop.
Zero in on that last sentence. PETA says these drones won’t be used to interfere with hunting, but selling these toys to hot-headed animal rights nuts with little to no idea how to pilot them—or with some raging, violent vendetta against hunters—could certainly toe the line of hunter harassment, which is a misdemeanor in all 50 states.
“PETA using drones would certainly constitute hunter harassment if it in any way impeded on a hunt,” said Doug Jeanneret of the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance. “Imagine drones running over your duck decoys or near your tree stand. It would certainly interfere with your hunt and break the law. They will definitely be using them against all hunters.”
USSA Director of Federal Affairs Bill Horn added that the use of drones could constitute hunter harassment in a number of ways.
“If the drones make noise that scares away the animal, or visually scare away the animal—a drone might look like a strange large bird to the animal—the violation of the ‘disturb’ provision of the hunter harassment statute is clear,” Horn said, citing Massachusetts hunter harassment laws (the press release from PETA focused on Massachusetts bowhunters).
“If the drones merely observe the hunter without impacting the hunting, there is an arguable violation of the ‘follow’ provision in the Massachusetts statute. Finally, if the drones trespass onto private property or lack any permit that might be required to be on—or just above—public property, that is trespass.”
Harassment has been a pretty hot topic among hunters recently. As our sister site Wildfowl reported, a pair of Wisconsin hunters were duck hunting on private land—where they had permission to hunt—when a 64-year-old anti-hunter grabbed his .410 and over their heads, trying to chase the hunters away. The trigger-happy activist, Van Hawkinson, was arrested and charged with dangerous use of a weapon and disorderly conduct.
Barron County (Wis.) District Attorney Angela Beranek said hunter harassment charges were not filed because hunter harassment is a civil matter, not criminal. Horn agreed, saying any prosecution under hunter harassment laws is a “civil forfeiture.”
PETA can have its fun with its toy helicopters, but these wannabe Junior Birdmen do so at the risk of a lawsuit or, should one of their toys come into contact with a hunter, greater legal ramifications. Still others, like those in Deer Creek, Colo., have declared open season on drones in general, which should make the PETA people think twice about entering unfriendly skies.
Case in point, the lawsuit it filed in February 2012 against SeaWorld for the use of what PETA claims is "slave labor," i.e. killer whales. The legal team representing SeaWorld echoed the seemingly obvious sentiment most semi-conscious adults share: "Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the 'We the people'... when the Constitution was adopted." You don't say. I don't have a law degree, but I could have come to that conclusion.
PETA always finds a way to outdo itself, though. It has launched campaigns against video game characters like Mario—who so cruelly enjoys smashing turtles and wearing raccoon suits—and Pokemon, both part of the Nintendo family. As we so often remind our kids, a simple message to PETA should suffice: video games are not real. No actual raccoons were harmed in the making of Super Mario 3D Land.
In reality, PETA's policy is to use any method possible to grab people's attention, regardless of the consequences. Ironically, in trying to make people aware of animal cruelty, PETA objectifies women and treats them like a piece of meat tossed to the masses. In a world where women are gang raped and treated like a commodity millions of times a day around the world, it is unthinkably deplorable that PETA would turn women into disposable currency for their own agenda.
The result? A push for "Double D Dipple Nipple," the breast milk ice cream with double dipped gumdrops. No, we're not kidding. Much to everyone's surprise, Ben & Jerry's said no, nursing mothers said no, consumers said no and well, pretty much everybody said no. Let's all take a collective moment to shudder.
But it's not just that PETA relies on celebrities to make their case—we're talking about photos of naked celebs with a catch phrase like "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" to go with. Since research points out that erotic images send blood away from the thinking part of the brain to, uh, other regions, it's pretty likely a naked picture of Khloe Kardashian or Chad Ochocinco has got people thinking about anything but animal cruelty. If you take a look at the forums where these photos are discussed, this much is obvious.
First of all, making light of sexual or physical abuse committed against a woman is morally abhorrent. Treating a woman so rough sexually that she needs a neck brace and can barely walk is nowhere near a laughing matter. Furthermore, celebrating such an act as a benefit to going vegan does exactly the opposite of what PETA intends—it associates moral perversity with a vegan lifestyle, making you want to reject both vehemently.
This is stupidity at its height—pairing the thing you're trying to celebrate (veganism) with a morally outrageous act (sexual abuse) and wondering why people run from your organization like the plague.
What we're not for is the kind of protest PETA likes to launch—an exhibition of naked, bloodied people laying on the ground in front of a stadium to protest bull fighting. Let's face facts: if the Europeans laugh, cringe or get their jollies as protesters line the sidewalks in Pamplona (not at all ungrateful for the free display of nudity), then the message is almost completely lost. I'm sure for them seeing the naked protesters is the cherry on top of their bull fighting sundae. Once again, the connection between a bunch of naked vegans dancing around in the streets and animal cruelty are ridiculously vague at best. If anything it makes their culture seem even more unappealing and psychotic.
We're not really sure what the point of "Veggie Love" was, especially since the most offended parties after its launch were vegans. They're the first group of people to complain about PETA associating pornographic lewdness, physical abuse and exploitation of the female body with the vegan message. So if your organization is hated by so many of the people it claims to support, is your method really working? Obviously not.
A 2008 video makes this point clear, as a KKK member shows up at a AKC meeting and is told he's in the wrong place. "No, you guys are all for pure blood lines, right? This is just the place for me." Nothing like comparing dog breeders with white supremacists who terrorized African-Americans and formed lynch mobs. It doesn't get much more stupid than that.
A German court banned the practice, calling it overly offensive and said it was not protected by free speech.
Not only is it stupid that PETA is willing to waste $9,000 on a drone to harass hunters in the field, it's also illegal. But just like uncle Joe, PETA has no problem suggesting harebrained initiatives that completely ignore the law. As in Michigan, nearly every state has laws like this:
"Hunters in Michigan have the right to enjoy their sport free from unreasonable and deliberate interference from those opposed to hunting as a legitimate use of public land and other natural resources. Michigan law prohibits individuals from obstructing or interfering with the lawful taking of animals."
Bring on the drones, we say. Hunters are an industrious lot, always looking for a good challenge. Just don't blame us when the "warning shot" from our front porch or treestand happens to knock down your pricey toy helicopter. The real question is, what type of shotshell load works best on drones? Let the debate begin.