New Statute Bans Internet Hunting in New Jersey

As you surely know, one of the more popular ways to pass time on the internet these days is hunting game animals and killing them with firearms or by bow and arrow. Typically, this “virtual” hunting takes place when animals on some type of game preserve wander into the cross-hairs of a combination camera and firearm device that can be remotely triggered by the hunter over the internet from anywhere in the world.

The New Jersey legislature has taken decisive action to put a stop to this practice. Yesterday, the governor signed into law the provisions of assembly bill a764. This new law prohibts the operation of facilities in new jersey that provide game for internet hunting. It also outlaws the act of computer assisted hunting over the internet from locations inside of our beautiful garden state.

Violations of this statute are civil in nature and may be heard in municipal court as summary matters under the penalty enforcement law of 1999 (njsa 2a:58-10 et seq.) A civil penalty of as much as $500 may be assessed for each violation. Each separate day of internet hunting or operation of an internet hunting facility constitutes a separate offense.

The new statutes reads as follows:

An Act concerning computer-assisted remote hunting, and supplementing Title 23 of the Revised Statutes . Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. a. No person shall engage in computer-assisted remote hunting or provide or operate facilities for computer-assisted remote hunting in the State.

b. As used in this act, “computer-assisted remote hunting” means the use of a computer via an Internet connection or any other device or equipment capable of establishing an Internet connection , or equipment or software capable of being used with an Internet connection, to remotely access and control the aiming and discharge of a firearm, bow and arrow, or any other weapon to hunt any game bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal in the State, and “facilities for computer-assisted remote hunting” means real property and improvements on the property associated with hunting, including hunting blinds, offices and rooms equipped to facilitate computer-assisted remote hunting via an Internet connection .

c. No provision of this section shall be construed to restrict the use of equipment or devices, approved by the Fish and Game Council, by properly licensed hunters in the act of hunting in the field who require, because of a disability, handicap, or other physical condition, the assistance of certain equipment or devices that may or may not employ a computer or computerized parts in order to hunt in the field.

2. Any person who violates the provisions of this act shall be liable to a civil penalty of up to $500 for each offense, to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.

3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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