Wildlife regulators in California took the first step Tuesday to bar hunters in the state from using the Internet to shoot animals, responding to a Texas Web site that planned to let users fire at real game with the click of a mouse.
The Fish and Game Commission ordered wildlife officials to prepare emergency regulations to ban the practice. A period of public comment will follow.
“We don’t think Californians should be able to hunt sitting at their computers at home,” said Steve Martarano, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game.
A bill passed by the state Senate two weeks ago would prohibit use of computer-assisted hunting sites and ban the import or export of any animal killed using computer-assisted hunting. The measure now moves to the state Assembly.
At least 14 other states and Congress are considering similar bills.
Groups including the California Sportsmen’s Association, Safari Club International and the Outdoor Sportsman’s Coalition of California support the ban, saying hunting over the Internet is unethical and unsporting.
Supporters have suggested the remote hunting could be beneficial for hunters with disabilities and questioned why Californians should be barred from patronizing a legitimate Texas business.