CHEYENNE - Hunters in Wyoming would be allowed to use rifle scopes with illuminated cross hairs under a bill approved by a House committee on Monday.
Supporters say the scopes, which contain lighted cross hairs but do not emit light or cast a laser beam onto the target, can make it easier to make accurate shots on game animals.
The House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee voted unanimously to approve House Bill 133. The bill will now be considered on the House floor.
Sponsor Rep. Richard Cannady, R-Glenrock, said illuminated scopes are becoming more popular because they help hunters shoot better in low-light conditions. "Game and Fish agrees that this should be a legal device for safety, and to keep from crippling animals," he said.
Steve Ferrell, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, testified that the bill would clarify that such scopes would be legal. He said the bill would not open the door for use of scopes that emit light that could illuminate an animal and also would not allow laser beams.
Also Monday, the committee voted to support House Bill 207, which would ban so-called Internet hunting.
Internet hunting originated in Texas several years ago with a Web site that allowed people to shoot captive animals by lining up a shot on their computer monitor and controlling a gun with their mouse. Most states have already banned the practice.
Committee Chairman Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, said the committee members agreed that shooting animals over the Internet is not sporting. He said there's also concern about the safety of allowing someone to control a gun when they're not present to sense what's going on in the surrounding area.
"You almost have to have a game farm to do it," Childers said. Unlike many other states, Wyoming doesn't allow game farms where elk are fenced in to make it easier to hunt them.
Bob Wharff of Evanston, executive director of the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, spoke in favor of outlawing Internet hunting. "The thing I don't like about it is that it was described as 'hunting,' " Wharff said. "I'd rather call it shooting or killing, because that's not hunting at all."