Purely theoretical, is LIDAR considered night vision for hunting?
May 16, 2020 3:21 AM   Subscribe

I have no experience hunting but unfortunately coyotes have invade my territory. Laws in my state can say I can use flashlights but not nightvision. I would love to do the moat human thing possible but I noticed my LIDAR can identify coyotes. I need no hunting license but I can’t do anything cruel like poison or traps, oddly nightvision. To be nightvision is the same if not not physically but in principle. Is it legal?

I have no intension of killing a coyote, but doing the most humane possible thing. Please no debate on that I’m looking to trap or simply sterilize. I just don’t want my dogs to die. In any case is there case law on LIDAR?
posted by geoff. to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Phone your local natural resources or wildlife office, whoever regulates hunting, and ask them.

If you want advice here, unless someone here already knows about your local laws, the starting point is to give us your location, plus the text of the "Laws in my state" that you want us to interpret for you.
posted by JimN2TAW at 5:03 AM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

If you are in the state your MeFi profile seems to indicate, then the state Wildlife code has a specific definition of “night vision”.
(42) Night vision equipment: Optical devices (that is, binoculars or scopes) using light amplifying circuits that are electrical or battery powered.
While I don’t personally think LIDAR meets that definition (isn’t amplifying light etc.) I personally think the definition is broad enough that on the other hand I certainly wouldn’t want to be the test case. But that’s my opinion and doesn’t answer your case law question.

In addition - looking at some other state wildlife regs it seems like there are some key differences in definitions of night vision (California as an example refers to prohibiting devices utilizing infra-red, heat sensing or other non-visible spectrum light technology used for the purpose of visibly enhancing an animal or providing a visible point of aim directly on an animal - which I’d interpret to more likely include LIDAR) so any case law may be specific to the definitions the case was under.

But your state wildlife agency seems to indicate on their website that if you have “problem wildlife” you should contact them. This recent news article suggests that the rules are changing in that state to potentially allow night vision for use on problem wildlife and again that you may be able to get an exception from a local conservation agent.

The actual state wildlife rules (3 CSR 10-7.410 Hunting Methods (1)(c)) state that night vision can’t be used “except by written authorization of an agent of the department and only as specifically authorized by him/her”. Seems like it’s a go ask an agent and get written authorization situation maybe?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:06 AM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm unclear what your use of LIDAR would be if it is legal. If you aren't going to hunt the coyote then you aren't governed by the rules and privileges of the hunting regulations.
posted by Mitheral at 7:13 AM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Here's the Missouri Department of Conservation page about coyote hunting. It says:
You may not possess night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife.
Can't hurt to reach out to them though. It's one of the things they're there for. Their contact page is here.
posted by glonous keming at 7:32 AM on May 16, 2020

From Wikipedia:
"Lidar is a method for measuring distances (ranging) by illuminating the target with laser light." ( emphasis mine)
"The term 'laser' originated as an acronym for 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation'"
Contrasting those definitions with the guideline inflatablekiwi shared, it does use light amplification that is electrically powered, though it isn't a 'binocular or scope'.

So I don't have a definitive answer for you, and agree that checking with the relevant agency would be useful.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 8:17 AM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

You run the risk of getting a judge who applies the "looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it's a duck" criteria. If you can't see coyotes unaided, then seeing them on a screen may count, even if the gizmo uses ultrasonics or radio waves to acquire the image.
posted by Sophont at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2020

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