NewsCovering Colorado


Game Wardens looking for pilot who buzzed elk in Moffat County

Posted at 1:58 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 15:58:28-05

MOFFAT COUNTY – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking for the public’s help identifying the person responsible for flying a single-engine aircraft very low over a large herd of elk.

Witnesses in Moffat County, north of Craig, say the plane made two low passes over the herd, disturbing the animals and causing them to scatter.

It is illegal to harass wildlife with a plane or use it to scope out wildlife for hunting.

Officials are asking anyone with information to give them a call or for the pilot to turn themselves in.

Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park
Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park (National Park Service)

Colorado law prevents hunters from using unmanned aerial vehicles to scout for wildlife as the activity is prohibited under the CPW Commission Regulations. State law only allows the taking of coyotes from an aircraft with a specific permit.

As outlined in Article IV – Manner of Taking Wildlife, Section C:

It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.

1. For the purposes of this regulation, drone shall be defined as including, without limitation,
any contrivance invented, used or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is
unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVS).

The Federal Airborne Hunting Act enacted in 1971 specifically outlaws the shooting or harassing of wildlife from an aircraft without a specific license to do so.  While there is no specific language about drones officials have warned it will be enforced the same.


Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regulations – General Provisions (PDF)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife using an eye in the sky to watch over wildlife