This is a long post I made over at AK Outdoors. I figured I'd repost it here as I thought it led down some interesting paths regarding hunting ethics.
Of note, this is a debate in other communities too... I just read a book called "Wired for War" which talks about how unmanned systems are changing war. We're asking if someone who uses a remote camera system to monitor bears is a hunter; you can also ask if someone who uses a remote camera system to monitor insurgents is a warrior.
There was some interesting discussion of law, ethics, and so on and the bottom line is that the technology is outstripping the ethical framework, just as we see in hunting.
If you look at war as "harvesting" enemy body counts, then sure, purely unmanned systems including shooters is clearly a very efficient technique, just like the remote controlled gun setup y'all brought up. I think the comparison would be to someone who just wants the meat for whatever reason (healthier than store bought meat, cheaper, whatever). But if your objectives are different then maybe it isn't so efficient. We see that in Afghanistan where victory isn't always just about the body count (although a body count can certainly help...), and I think we may find it to be true in hunting too.
If an important part of hunting is the experience, then technology or other aids can get in the way of that. The difficult thing is that the experience can be widely different for different people. Some people might be all about being outside with their kids doing a multigenerational activity. Some folks get off on having an awesome trophy. Others dig the feeling of accomplishment from lugging out all that meat themselves. Some like the feeling of independence and value learning or honing skills. How do we say which aspects of hunting are more valid than others for the modern sport hunter?
I think there is a balance somewhere but there is a lot of grey and not much black and white. If you're going to ban this technology then would you also ban guiding services that do 95% of the work, merely requiring the client to pull the trigger after being maneuvered into a kill situation? How is relying on technology different than relying on another person's know how?
However, I think we can draw some lines. This is recreational sport hunting and almost all would agree that pure efficiency in harvesting is not necessarily the primary goal. For example, there seems to be wide consensus here that a Mk 1 Human needs to be the trigger puller for commercial sport hunting, even though having remote controlled robots at bait stations and automated carcass hauling ATVs would certainly result in a higher bear body count.
But there is still fuzziness; what if the automated monitoring station can detect movement, use some computer programming gee-whiz stuff to say, "yup, that is a bear-sized critter on the screen," and then ring an alarm to notify you of bears and only bears? What if it could be fine tuned to only ring the alarm for bears of a certain coloration or size? Now the hunter doesn't even need to view all the tape; the artificial intelligence software is helping him, perhaps even helping him select trophies! This may sound like sci fi fantasy but the tech already exists or is rapidly being developed for military applications, a generation of young warriors overseas are growing up with it, and it will hit the civilian market sooner rather than later.
It will be interesting to see how these technologies are handled in the future. I think there is a fundamental difference between previous tech upgrades which still always have a person in the loop (a bow increased the range from a hurled spear, and a firearm increased the range compared to a bow, but a person was still involved) because these new systems don't always require a man in the loop.
Very interesting topic...
Suzuki Outboard Propeller
1 hour ago