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Reaching New Heights

May 27, 2016 - Larry Claypool
Photography has again reached new heights (literally) with one of the latest fads reaching all levels with the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that tote quality video and still cameras. OVO Pro Staffer Jonathan Parsons took advantage of his photography and videos skills recently to capture our cover photo with his quadcopter drone.

I asked Parsons if he could provide a photograph with his drone high above a local fly fisherman at a popular area fishing stream at Beaver Creek State Park (Columbiana County, OH). The photograph would accompany a feature article about fly fishing for this issue. See Craig Wetzel’s article Page 8.

I also asked a local fly fisherman, Scott McIlduff, of East Palestine, Ohio, to ‘model’ or fly cast for the photographs. He did a great job of that, as we shot the photos during a beautiful Saturday afternoon this past April. It was one of the few nice weekend days to fish we’ve had this spring.

Because of some flack, and stupidity by others, flying a drone in public areas lately has not been very inviting. With that in mind I contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife before our photo session at Beaver Creek to make sure it was legal to do so. I received a quick response from the Ohio State Parks Manager Doug Lyons that “the use of drone's are permitted in Ohio State Parks”.

Hopefully the rules don’t change in the future, as many more people are flying drones as a hobby and used commercially. And as I mentioned early there can be problems and dangerous situations when the UAVs are not used safely or maliciously. This has forced some states, including Pennsylvania, to adopt laws regarding civilian drone usage in state parks, game lands and near wildlife sanctuaries.

PA’s new measure will be considered for final approval in July by its Game Commission.

Some of the wildlife disturbances in PA mentioned by legislators included: five reported disturbances during the snow-geese migration season (some in an off-limits propagation area), other disturbances of waterfowl forced hundreds of birds to flush and reports of drones flying too close to bald eagle nests and eggs.

As the list of negative situations that may arise from the use of drones there are obviously positive projects, uses and advantages to using the remote aircrafts. Our military and Department of Defense have used unmanned aircrafts for longer than we would ever guess. And in other countries drones have been used to combat and prosecute poachers. Drones with cameras are also used to monitor wildlife, both for good and bad. The use of drones as a scouting tool for hunters seems like a great idea. Again though, I can imagine a few hunters will cross the line and use a drone during in-season to track and hunt deer. I’m sure the following Ohio Hunting Regulations rule would apply here: A hunter CANNOT - “Use any device capable of transmitting or receiving a person's voice to aid in the hunting or taking of deer.”

I’m going to guess the wording in that rule will be amended soon to include the use of images and information obtained by a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle.

As regulations and new laws evolve due to the influx of recreational and industrial use of UAVs there also must be something done to protect drones from being ‘poached’ or shot down, from the sky. It’s happened already, but that could become another tough issue. Stay tuned!


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Blog Photos

Fly fisherman Scott McIlduff slings a line for drone photographer Jonathan Parsons, who shot the cover photo for OVO's Summer issue, which is on newsstands now.