The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering whether it’s fair to allow hunters to use new military-style smart rifles, powerful new crossbows or trail cameras that show hunters where they can find wildlife in real time.
Department Law Enforcement Coordinator Aaron Kerr said as new technologies hit the market, the question is whether they allow an animal a fair chance to escape.
“The idea of fair chase really comes down to giving the animal some chance to either escape detection by a hunter or avoid being killed once they are detected. But when it comes to hunting, fair chase means different things to different people and there’s not really a definite definition,” said Kerr.
For instance, is it fair chase to allow high powered crossbows during the early archery season?
“Some of the folks that like to archery hunt with more traditional equipment are opposed to using those more advanced crossbows during an archery season,” Kerr said. “And the folks that like to use them are arguing that they can often get a better shot and hopefully a cleaner kill when they’re hunting with that equipment.”
Improvements in hunting technologies are hitting the market constantly, which is why the Wyoming Game and Fish Department wants to hear from Wyomingites about whether they feel all of this new equipment qualifies as fair chase hunting. In coming months, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will decide on the rules for using new hunting technology, and has asked the Game and Fish Department to host a series of meetings for the public to weigh in on the subject.