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Bill would ban remote hunting online
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Animal advocates and sportsmen have endorsed a legislator’s bid to make a pre-emptive strike against remote-controlled hunting over the Internet.

Although no one has even suggested introducing such activity into Maine, Rep. Roderick Carr, R-Lincoln, has submitted a bill that would make it illegal to use a computer to fire a remote-controlled rifle at a game animal.

"It’s probably a good idea to have something in statute to prevent this," said Carr, a retired state trooper and registered Maine guide. "In the state of Maine, we have a tradition of hunting, and our tradition is you go into the woods and stalk your game."

Carr’s bill was prompted by a Texas businessman’s plan to test computerized hunting in his home state later this year. John Lockwood of Live-Shot, a company based in San Antonio, said his project is intended primarily to allow severely handicapped people to hunt some types of deer, sheep and feral hogs.

Clients would hook up online to a set of cameras at a ranch, then be able to sight game and aim and fire a rifle, all by computer.

Lockwood said his computerized target shooting system is unique in the United States and he knows of no one offering remote-controlled hunting yet. No state has outlawed remote-controlled hunting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department may try to regulate the hunt, according to spokesman Tom Harvey, who said some sportsmen in Texas have vowed to lobby the Legislature to ban the practice there.

Carr’s bill has the support of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, an animal-welfare group whose executive director, Daryl DeJoy, says hunting with a computer keyboard doesn’t meet anyone’s definition of a fair chase. The proposed ban also has the backing of the powerful Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which is "very enthusiastically supporting it," according to executive director George Smith.

"It’s not hunting," Smith said of what Lockwood has proposed. "You’ve got to get out into the woods" to hunt, he said. Smith said using a computer to shoot an animal "takes away all of the best of the experience of hunting" and the state already has programs to help disabled people hunt.

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