Can You Use a Drone for Hunting?

It is not recommended. Even though The FAA does not explicitly prohibit the use of drones for hunting, many states have prohibitions against doing so. Additionally, it is generally frowned upon to use a drone for hunting because doing so can interfere with wildlife. 

Hello everyone! My name is Lavelle and I am a long-time drone enthusiast and a professional drone pilot. Over the past decade, I have flown several types of drones for recreational and commercial purposes and learned a lot about drone restrictions.

In this article, I will address some of the state restrictions on using drones for hunting, scouting, or other such advantages. I will also provide resources that help you understand the reasoning behind the prohibitions.

Key Takeaways

  • In many states, such as Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, and 40 others, hunting or scouting wildlife with a drone is illegal.
  • The use of drones for hunting in some states is only allowed with a special permit.
  • Check with your state for its regulations and restrictions on drone use for hunting.

Can You Use a Drone for Hunting

In 45 of the 50 states in the United States, hunting or scouting wildlife for hunting is illegal. For instance, the state of California has regulations in place that restrict the use of telemetry, computer, or other kinds of equipment for the purposes of hunting. 

The FAA does not directly have any guidelines against using drones for hunting, however, state regulations do impose restrictions. The primary reason for restricting the use of drones while hunting is that drones can disturb wildlife, which is a violation of FAA rules. The US Fish and Wildlife Department also imposes similar restrictions.

Here is a list of the states that have restrictions on using drones for hunting.

New Hampshire New JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhioOregonPennsylvaniaSouth Carolina
South DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermont
VirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

*Some of the states listed above have variations of their ban or restriction. Check with the state you are in for more detailed information.

Can You Use a Drone for Scouting Wildlife

In most states, you cannot use drones for scouting wildlife. It is not stipulated by the FAA but the majority of the states do expressly prohibit it. 

For instance, in the state of Kansas, drones cannot be used for hunting. However, they may be used for scouting on lands not owned by the state but not on the same day that the hunting occurs.

Other states like Louisiana and Minnesota do not allow hunting or scouting in state wildlife areas. In South Carolina, drones can be used for hunting or scouting anything but game birds. In Texas, hunters can apply for a special permit to use drones for hunting and scouting, otherwise, it is illegal in the state.


Below are some answers to a few of the frequently asked questions and using a drone for hunting.

Can You Use a Drone to Help You Hunt?

In most states, you cannot use a drone to assist you in hunting efforts. However, there are a few states that do not prohibit the activity but have some restrictions or require a special permit.

Can You Use a Drone to Recover Deer?

It depends on the state you are in. Most states do not allow it but some states allow drone use for recovery only.

Can I Use My Drone for Fishing?

Yes, you can use your drone for fishing. There are many drone models used specifically for fishing. But you should check with your state for its regulations on using drones for fishing.

Final Thoughts

While the FAA does not explicitly prohibit the use of drones for hunting, many states do. Additionally, scouting may be illegal in many states. There is also the question of morality when considering the use of drones for hunting or scouting. In all instances, I would not recommend using a drone for hunting.

What do you think about hunting with a drone? Do you agree that most states find it illegal and prohibit hunting and scouting wildlife using a drone? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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