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Aerial Drones: The Future of Game Cameras?

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August 20, 2012

Aerial Drones: The Future of Game Cameras?

By Chad Love

The brilliant cyberpunk novelist William Gibson may, or may not (it's attributed to him, anyway) have once said, "the future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed yet." Why, you may ask, am I leading off this ostensibly hunting and/or fishing news blog post with a quote from a semi-obscure cult sci-fi novelist? Because the future of game camera technology is here - it's just not evenly distributed, nor is it quite tailored for hunting...yet.

From this story in the Boston Globe:
They are better known as stealthy killing machines to take out suspected terrorists with pinpoint accuracy. But drones are also being put to more benign use in skies across several continents to track endangered wildlife, spot poachers, and chart forest loss. Although it is still the ‘‘dawn of drone ecology,’’ as one innovator calls it, these unmanned aerial vehicles are skimming over Indonesia’s jungle canopy to photograph orangutans, protect rhinos in Nepal, and study invasive aquatic plants in Florida...Relatively cheap, portable, and earth-hugging, the drones fill a gap between satellite and manned aircraft imagery and on-the-ground observations, said Percival Franklin at the University of Florida, which has been developing such drones for more than a decade.

That's right. Drones. Forget those old-fashioned stationary game cameras. Personal scouting drones will be the next big thing for hunters. Maybe not now. maybe not in five years. But at some point in the not-too-distant future, some enterprising company is going to design and market a personal drone geared toward hunters. Bank on it. According to the story, right now anyone can cobble together a viable home-made drone using off-the-shelf components for less than $2,000. And with advances in technology and miniaturization, the cost to do so will only continue to decrease.

I first got the idea of drones as scouting tools after listening to this NPR radio story a while back, and when I saw the story about using drones as conservation tool, I became convinced that it's just a matter of time before we see the first "hunting celebrity endorsed" scouting drone.

Thoughts? Reaction? Am I nuts? Bigger question: is it ethical? Would you use one if one existed?

Comments (8)

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Colorado has laws against communication between hunters and aircraft for a certain period of time as it regards big game, I am not super familiar with it since I don't do any aerial scouting, nor do I need to. Game cameras are cool and all, but there's something to be said for the guy who scouts on the ground for his game. Might as well put radio collars on the deer with the amount of surveillance used these days.

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from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

The day drones become hunting tools is the day I take up golf.

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from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I would be more concerned on how the fish and game depts. use them to monitor hunting in general.they could help deter poaching, or be used to catch poachers, but somehow I do not like the idea of an eye in the sky when I am out in the field.

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from Red Salas wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Wow man things keep on getting more advanced.

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from WVOtter wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

And the term "hunting" continues to be used more and more loosely. I enjoy gadgets as much as the next guy, but leave some sport in the woods and the buzzing, flashing, gizmos in town.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

never it just fuels the- anti-hunting types.all these gadgets just make hunting less exciting not only that it says the kill is the what we are after its not its good meat and memories that last lifetimes.

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I would imagine that for most big game species these would be outlawed for ethical reasons, but I doubt they would be outlawed for the purpose of shooting wild hogs...heck they don't put any restrictions at all on wild hogs. If you're willing to pay the money, you can shoot them out of a helicopter with a fully automatic weapon. If you're good at tinkering and building models, you could probably build your own UAV for a fraction of the $2000 price stated above. You can get programmable GPS trackers for like $45 these days, and small cameras are not hard to come by either. Cool idea, but ethics does remain in question.

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from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

The day drones become hunting tools is the day I take up golf.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I would be more concerned on how the fish and game depts. use them to monitor hunting in general.they could help deter poaching, or be used to catch poachers, but somehow I do not like the idea of an eye in the sky when I am out in the field.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I would imagine that for most big game species these would be outlawed for ethical reasons, but I doubt they would be outlawed for the purpose of shooting wild hogs...heck they don't put any restrictions at all on wild hogs. If you're willing to pay the money, you can shoot them out of a helicopter with a fully automatic weapon. If you're good at tinkering and building models, you could probably build your own UAV for a fraction of the $2000 price stated above. You can get programmable GPS trackers for like $45 these days, and small cameras are not hard to come by either. Cool idea, but ethics does remain in question.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Colorado has laws against communication between hunters and aircraft for a certain period of time as it regards big game, I am not super familiar with it since I don't do any aerial scouting, nor do I need to. Game cameras are cool and all, but there's something to be said for the guy who scouts on the ground for his game. Might as well put radio collars on the deer with the amount of surveillance used these days.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Red Salas wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Wow man things keep on getting more advanced.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

And the term "hunting" continues to be used more and more loosely. I enjoy gadgets as much as the next guy, but leave some sport in the woods and the buzzing, flashing, gizmos in town.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

never it just fuels the- anti-hunting types.all these gadgets just make hunting less exciting not only that it says the kill is the what we are after its not its good meat and memories that last lifetimes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment