Is it legal to fly a drone over private land?

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Is it legal to fly a drone over private land?


Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have become increasingly popular over the past few years for a variety of reasons, from capturing beautiful aerial photography to surveying land, inspecting infrastructure, and the recovery of deer in the hunting industry. Naturally, with the rise in drone usage comes concerns over privacy and legal restrictions. One question that has often been batted around is whether it is legal to fly a drone over private land. This is a concern not only for hobbyist flyers but also those wishing to use professional services such as our own Drone Deer Recovery. In this article, we will explore this topic in-depth, with a focus on the hunting industry, so that you can rest easy knowing you’re well-versed in drone regulations.


What does the law say?

First and foremost, it is important to understand that in the United States, airspace is generally considered a public resource, meaning that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction over all airspace, including the airspace above private property. Meaning that technically, anyone can fly a drone over private land as long as they above by FAA rules and regulations. However, wherever laws are concerned things tend to get complicated quick.

Whilst the FAA regulates airspace, state and local laws often come into play wherever drone usage is concerned; state by state wildlife regulatory organizations often set their own rules regarding drone usage as well. For example, some states have enacted laws that prohibit flying drones over private property without the owner’s direct consent. In such cases, a drone operator could make themselves liable for chargers of trespassing and invasion of privacy if they fly their drone over someone’s private land without permission.

Our Drone Deer Recovery operators strictly fly below 400 feet and will not fly within five miles of an airport without prior permission as these are strict guidelines set by the FAA. Likewise, our operators are all certificated remote pilots, and our drones registered with the FAA. These are fundamental regulations set by the FAA to ensure the efficacy and safety of commercial drone use.

If you’re following all FAA regulations and have checked that your state does not have specific legislation prohibiting the use of drones over private property, you’re legally allowed to fly a drone over private property as long as you’re not attempting to invade the owners privacy or attempting to damage property. However, it is always important to obtain permission from the landowner before flying a drone over private land, as this protects you from any future liability.



Overall, the use of drones has the potential to offer many benefits, such as improved safety, increased efficiency, and enhanced capabilities for a wide range of applications outside of the hunting industry. And whilst flying a drone over private land is technically legal in the entirety of the United States, it’s important to understand and abide by the laws and regulations that govern your individual state or county. The Drone Deer Recovery service is an example of the responsible and legal use of drones over private land, as we take privacy and the law seriously to ensure that our operators are acting as legally and ethically as possible for the benefit of the customer.

Lastly, it is also important for drone operators to understand that the legality of drone usage is an evolving area of the law, with new laws and regulations being established on a regular basis. That is why we intended to provide our customers, and those interested in the industry, crucial updates on the latest regulations and legal developments when it comes to drone usage.

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