Precision Guided Firearms

Regulation Number: 
2020-0-01
Status: 
Decided
Region: 
Province-Wide
Regulation Type: 
Firearm Restrictions
General Open Season
Limited Entry Hunting
Species: 
All
Closing Date: 
January 19, 2020 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

This regulation was approved as proposed and is included in the 2020-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.

Current Regulations: 

There are currently no regulations that prohibit Precision Guided Firearms for the purpose of hunting.

Proposed Regulations: 

Prohibit the use of Precision Guided Firearms, which act as a range finder and condition sensor (i.e. wind speed/direction, humidity, temperature, distance, target movement, etc.), automatically adjusting the reticle such that a hunter simply needs to depress the trigger, lock on to the target, and the firearms discharges automatically.

Rationale: 

This proposed regulation requested by the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team. For more information on the process that led to the request refer to the “Additional Information” section at the bottom of this page.

Technology related to firearms have advanced significantly in recent years. There are precision guided firearms  on the market that account for all the variables associated with discharging a firearm (wind speed/direction, humidity, temperature, distance, target movement, etc.) and determine, electronically, the moment the bullet is fired when the shooter places the cross hairs in the correct location.

Precision Guided Firearms provide an advantage over traditional scopes. With a computerized scope the dedication required to become an accurate shooter is significantly diminished, and it gives shooters confidence to shoot from much greater distances. There is a risk that shooting wildlife from long distances reduces the hunter’s ability to track, find, and retrieve the harvested animal.  While these scopes are potentially a benefit for the recreational or competitive shooter, for hunting they are not considered by hunting stakeholders to fall within the principles of fair chase.

Additional Information: 

A sub-committee of the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team (PHTAT) with representatives from the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., B.C. Trappers Association, Wild Sheep Society, Wildlife Stewardship Council, and United Bowhunters of B.C., conducted a review of various hunting practices (methods, tools, and tactics), evaluated those practices against a set of criteria that reflect the principles of fair chase, and recommended management actions for specific hunting practices. These recommendations were accepted by PHTAT and were forwarded to the Province for consideration.

Factors that influenced or informed the Management Action Recommendation included:

  1. Does the hunting method, tool, or tactic:
  1. Negate wildlife’s ability to avoid detection?
  2. Negate wildlife’s ability to escape once it has detected a threat?
  3. lead to an inhumane treatment of wildlife?
  4. lead to increased wounding loss/jeopardize a hunter’s ability to retrieve the wildlife?
  5. jeopardize public acceptance of hunting?
  6. result in higher harvest rates/reduced opportunity in the future?
  1. Estimated difficulty in enacting a regulation.
  2. Regulatory enforceability.

The Management Action options available for each hunting practice included:

  1. Encourage/discourage the hunting practice through education and/or training
  2. Regulate the hunting practice through legislative prohibitions
  3. Monitor the hunting practice over the coming years to see if it becomes an issue in B.C.
  4. Defer; not of concern and no specific management action or monitoring is required.