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Old December 20th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #1
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Wildlife Filming and UK Law

Great to have a forum dedicated to wildlife filming.

It should be noted that in Scotland, that, if you intend to disturb wildlife
when filming you must have a licence issued by Scottish Natural Heritage.
I assume similar rules apply to the rest of the UK.

Take a look at the following :

www.snh.org.uk
www.rspb.org.uk
www.swt.org.uk
www.scottishbadgers.org.uk

These sites and links will give you all the Legal information.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 07:55 AM   #2
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Excellent legal resources there, Henry -- thanks for the input!
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Old December 21st, 2005, 09:55 AM   #3
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Many of the laws in the US also include any potential disturbance of wildlife in the definition of "hunt" and will therefore require a license. For example, in New York the law defines hunting as:

§ 11-0103. Definitions
10. "Hunting" means pursuing, shooting, killing or capturing (other
than trapping as defined in subdivision 11) wildlife, except wildlife
which has been lawfully trapped or otherwise reduced to possession, and
includes all lesser acts such as disturbing, harrying or worrying,
whether they result in taking or not,
and every attempt to take and
every act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to
take wildlife. (emphasis added)

Therefore, technically, a wildlife videographer should purchase a license inorder to pursue their hobby/profession. The funds from most state's licenses go to a dedicated fund for management of wildlife. All users, not just hunters, enjoy the benefits of wildlife management.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 10:03 AM   #4
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i never intend to disturb wildlife when i go on a shoot. quite the contrary. that's what long lenses, 20x zoom, and teleconverters are for....i am quite humbled in the presence of what's left of what is wild on this planet.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 11:14 AM   #5
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Meryem,
I hope you never intend to disturb wildlife as a videographer - otherwise all you'd get is brief footage of tails! ;-)

My point was that we should be careful to respect the wildlife laws of all the states. Regardless of legality, purchasing a license is a good way to support wildlife management for all users of the resource - whether you hunt, look at them through a camera lens or binoculars.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 08:34 PM   #6
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And so would we then be permitted to photograph deer only during deer season and ducks during duck season?
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Old December 21st, 2005, 08:46 PM   #7
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I imagine that with regard to your question A.J. the law is written loosely enough to allow for interpretation on an individual case. Whether or not you would be fined would depend on the degree of disturbing, harrying or worrying wrought upon the wildlife as a result of your photography; how the law enforcement officer sees it, how the judge sees it etc. In other words I don't think "out of season with a camera" would be an issue unless somebody was acting stupidly with the camera, in which case it does become an issue.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 06:48 AM   #8
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My question was not entirely serious. In that same vein I've been wondering if we would be restricted to pin hole cameras during black powder season in jurisdictions that do not allow optical sights then or to the use of the camera obscura during primitive weapons season.

Obviously I think the notion of buying a hunting license absurd if the basis is that you are now allowed to "harass" the animals. What about animals you can't hunt and thus harass (eagles, ospreys...)? Which license would you buy? Most states have general, deer, doe, pistol, primitive, bow, bear, turkey, migratory water fowl etc and many "tags" are issued only to winners of a lottery. Not to mention that most states charge a hefty premium for non residents.

When I go into the woods I don't harass anything whether I'm carrying a camera or not. If I want to harass a deer onto the dinner table I'll pay the fees. If I want to support wildlife I'll make a donation to the National Wildlife Foundation or the NRA.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:32 AM   #9
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I suspect wildlife filming and photography fall under a different category than hunting in most cases here in North America. National Park do not allow hunting, in the general definition of hunting anyway. Yet there are a lot of photographers out there. I believe in most case still photographers require no permits (here in Canada where I'm at anyway), but it can be a different story for those of us who shoot video or film.

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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:51 AM   #10
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Here in the Uk it is generally aceptable to film most species provide that there is no disturbance and you have permission to be on the land if it is private. The problems arise if you wish to get close, ie badgers where walking next to the set could be construed under the Wildlife and countryside act 1974 as disturbance. Or film birds( listed under schedule 1) on the nest. Then you are required to prove you are a competent videographer with a proven record of wildlife filming before a licence is issued to allow you to film.

A good source for help is to contact your local Police Wildlife Officer who would only be to pleased to advise on the law, or the main govenment depatment for the environment DEFRA. www.defra.gov.uk who issues the licences.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 10:04 AM   #11
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every country is different, but every time i go to one of our best local sites, such as rocky mountain national park, brainard lake, or eldorado canyon, i pay a (roughly) $6 fee, so isn't that already covering my usage/wildlife maintenance obligation? if purchasing a license in the UK is the equivalent, that makes sense, but i'm not so convinced about buying a hunting license in the US.

that, plus, as someone mentioned, various contributions to SUWA, the Nature Conservancy, etc etc. seem to go way further than license fees.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #12
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Chicken and egg?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner
Here in the Uk it is generally aceptable to film most species provide that there is no disturbance and you have permission to be on the land if it is private. The problems arise if you wish to get close, ie badgers where walking next to the set could be construed under the Wildlife and countryside act 1974 as disturbance. Or film birds( listed under schedule 1) on the nest. Then you are required to prove you are a competent videographer with a proven record of wildlife filming before a licence is issued to allow you to film.

A good source for help is to contact your local Police Wildlife Officer who would only be to pleased to advise on the law, or the main govenment depatment for the environment DEFRA. www.defra.gov.uk who issues the licences.
Dear Mick

Thanks for your comments. I am assuming that one becomes a competent operator with lesser species and then gets the licence to work on the rarer ones. In respect of disturbance, you might be interested in a tree nest of the Little Owl I found last year. It was 100mtrs from a main suburban road bus stop, 20mtrs from houses and plonk in the middle of an allotment. Needless to say almost that the birds foraged for worms to feed their young under the noses of the allottmenteers.

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