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North Dakota bill aims to prohibit hunting via Internet

BISMARCK - North Dakota may soon join other states in banning hunting through the Internet.

Senate Bill 2352 would ban hunting wildlife in real time using Internet services to remotely control firearms and discharge live ammunition, thus allowing someone not physically present to kill wildlife.

The bill also bans hosting an Internet hunt, enabling someone else to hunt through the Internet, and importing, exporting or possessing wildlife that's been killed by an Internet hunt.

A violation of the proposed law would be a Class C felony.

Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, said a constituent proposed the bill after learning about Internet hunting occurring in another state.

People pay big money to do Internet hunting, which is similar to playing a Wii game, Oehlke said.

"But it's no game. And this type of activity, frankly Mr. Chairman, in my perspective, is enough to make a billy goat puke," he said.

The North Dakota Wildlife Federation and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department also supported the bill

Paul Schadewald of Game and Fish said they aren't aware of instances of Internet hunting in the state now.

Foster Ray Hager, a lobbyist for the Cass County Wildlife Club, said the club supports the bill because Internet hunting could reach North Dakota.

"We just feel that pushing a button on a computer to kill an animal somewhere in some other state is not really considered hunting as far as North Dakota sportsmen go," he said.

No one opposed the bill. The Senate Natural Re­sour­ces Committee did not act on it.