Skip to main content Skip to main content

Drone Flyer Fined for Causing Stampede at National Elk Refuge

Drone Flyer Fined for Causing Stampede at National Elk Refuge
A man's use of a drone in the National Elk Refuge allegedly caused on stampede of thousands of elk. (file photo)

A Washington, D.C., man was recently ticketed and fined for an incident at the National Elk Refuge in which he allegedly caused a stampede of elk while piloting a drone.

National Elk Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the unnamed man was cited for illegally using an "unmanned aircraft system," or drone, and for disturbing wildlife.

In a press release, the agency said that man flew the drone over a wintering herd of elk, which reportedly created enough of a disturbance to cause around 1,500 elk to stampeded for about a half-mile inside the Wyoming refuge.


The Associated Press said the man was fined $280; disturbing wildlife can result in up to a $5,000 fine.


In addition to creating a wildlife disturbance, the drone was not registered through the Federal Aviation Administration, the wildlife agency said.

According to the agency:

Policies regarding use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems may vary between land management agencies. Drone operators are required to familiarize themselves with and comply with all applicable restrictions in the areas where they are flying. Drones are especially dangerous when used near wildfires, which frequently occur on federal lands. They can interfere with wildland fire air traffic, such as air tankers, helicopters, and other aircraft used to suppress wildland fires. Forty-one wildland fire drone incursions were reported in 2016, resulting in a range of actions including grounding aircraft, canceling flights, and diverting aerial resources to other locations.

Long winters, especially during heavy snow years like the current one in the Jackson Hole valley, can take a toll on wildlife, officials say, and repeated human disturbances can cause stress and impact health and survival of animals.




national elk refuge

"There are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities for people on the National Elk Refuge during the winter," Deputy Refuge Manager Cris Dippel. added. "We ask people to do use caution and good wildlife ethics while viewing and photographing animals."

General guidance and policies regarding the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration's web site at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Trigger Time

Trigger Time

If there is one thing that can make a hunter a better shooter, it's a better trigger. Triggers with heavy pull weights, and excessive creep and overtravel can ruin a shot—and a day—in the deer woods. The Lupo's trigger is designed to help hunters place their shots accurately. Let's look at the details on episode nine of Beyond the Rifle.

Crash Course: How to Fish Swim Jigs for Bass in Heavy Cover

Crash Course: How to Fish Swim Jigs for Bass in Heavy Cover

The swim jig is a big-bass lure in a small package; learn how to fish it now.

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Crankbaits excel for smallmouth bass not only in lakes and reservoirs but also in waters with current, such as rivers. Fishing a crankbait is straightforward, but there's more to it than just casting and reeling. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll go over how to choose the right crankbait based on water depth and other conditions, as well as how to fish it effectively for smallmouth bass.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now