Thermal drone, harvesting for meat

Am I scumbag if I use a thermal drone to scout deer

  • Yes

    Votes: 23 53.5%
  • No

    Votes: 19 44.2%
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    Votes: 1 2.3%

  • Total voters
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Atlantis

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So I’m curious what the brain trust thinks here. I’ve got a drone, and I’ve got a FLIR camera. I can easily marry the two together and have a thermal drone for scouting. I’m a new hunter and I don’t have much experience. I aspire to be a productive hunter, skilled in the traditional field craft. If I am unsuccessful, it seems like a no brainer to use technology. I have the tags, I’m not trying to poach deer, I just want to fill my tags. I am very keen to have a full freezer. I want to know I am capable of filling the freezer. If shtf I would not hesitate to use a drone to put food on my table. What do you all think?

And yes, it’s in MA, and I can not legally use it while actively hunting. There is no rule or regulation I know of that explicitly says I can’t fly a drone recreationally, and then go hunting an hour later.
 

Atlantis

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Yeah I think you could make a strong argument that due to intent it’s using an aircraft to hunt and it’s therefore illegal. It’s also illegal to have an adjustable stock on a carbine with a lower manufactured after 1994 but it doesn’t make you a scumbag for doing what you feel is right.

I’m not concerned with the strict legality of this, so much as I’m curious to hear from people who are seasoned hunters on the ethics. End of the day I want to hunt to put food on the table. That’s my motivation. So it’s easy for me to rationalize that technology is simply and end to the means.
 

Atlantis

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I would imagine your friend, who is not hunting, could vector you in, but I suspect if a warden heard/spotted it, you're going to jail regardless

Yeah I considered this option as well. I was honestly thinking more like using it over the next few days to straight scout the areas of interest, identify bedding areas etc. At most, using it before sunrise to ID good locations and then try and stalk my way in. If I were to use it with a friend vectoring me in it feels too much like poaching for my comfort.
 

Roof gunner

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I would use it in a heart beat. I’m all about filling the freezer. I’m here for a good time not a long time ! Wack one and get back on the roof !
 

namedpipes

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Yeah I considered this option as well. I was honestly thinking more like using it over the next few days to straight scout the areas of interest, identify bedding areas etc. At most, using it before sunrise to ID good locations and then try and stalk my way in. If I were to use it with a friend vectoring me in it feels too much like poaching for my comfort.
As general research, that's probably no different from using trail cams. Using it the day of your hunt, you might be asking for trouble.

This is idle speculation on my part. I honestly have no idea if drones are legal for hunting!
 

appraiser

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In MA the only way to legally do it is the drone has to be under 250 grams, because above that it has to be FAA registered and is considered an aircraft

As a Part 107 Airman I don't think I would do it.

As the article linked below says, it goes against the "fair chase" concept of responsible hunting.


IANAL YMMV

 

Atlantis

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In MA the only way to legally do it is the drone has to be under 250 grams, because above that it has to be FAA registered and is considered an aircraft

As a Part 107 Airman I don't think I would do it.

As the article linked below says, it goes against the "fair chase" concept of responsible hunting.


IANAL YMMV


I already break that part of the law by just flying the drone. I respect the airspace around airports etc but I’m not registering a damn thing with the FAA. In for a penny in for pound I suppose.

And as for the fair chase part, I guess I buy that but also, my goal is meat harvesting. I’m not doing it for sport
 
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I fly an FPV drones (DJI Avata, great drone BTW) and I live in a wooded area loaded with deer...I have never seen one on the drone and I look because it would make a good video.

Here is a winter video:


View: https://youtu.be/l-OdSBxuaQo


and a summer video:


View: https://youtu.be/KYFmBJgJ1jY


In the winter video, you can see a stand of hardwood vs pines. I think you won't see crap in the pines but might have a good chance in the hardwood.
 

Atlantis

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I fly an FPV drones (DJI Avata, great drone BTW) and I live in a wooded area loaded with deer...I have never seen one on the drone and I look because it would make a good video.

Here is a winter video:


View: https://youtu.be/l-OdSBxuaQo


and a summer video:


View: https://youtu.be/KYFmBJgJ1jY


In the winter video, you can see a stand of hardwood vs pines. I think you won't see crap in the pines but might have a good chance in the hardwood.


I’d be mounting a thermal camera and a phone on the landing gear such that when I pan the camera downwards I could look at the phone screen giving me a FLIR thermal image of the terrain. I agree, with a purely visually camera I’d be better off just walking around and glassing my vicinity.

91E2CC75-72EB-4BE4-82B2-8119E5AA3273.jpeg
For example
 
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I’d be mounting a thermal camera and a phone on the landing gear such that when I pan the camera downwards I could look at the phone screen giving me a FLIR thermal image of the terrain. I agree, with a purely visually camera I’d be better off just walking around and glassing my vicinity.

View attachment 690104
For example
I thought needles/leaves blocked IR? Looks like it would be killer in a hardwood forest with no/few leaves. If something is moving thru the woods I guess you might see it as a bright blob as it comes into view....maybe even in thick stuff if there are openings enough.
 

Mountain

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Yeah I think you could make a strong argument that due to intent it’s using an aircraft to hunt and it’s therefore illegal. It’s also illegal to have an adjustable stock on a carbine with a lower manufactured after 1994 but it doesn’t make you a scumbag for doing what you feel is right.

I’m not concerned with the strict legality of this, so much as I’m curious to hear from people who are seasoned hunters on the ethics. End of the day I want to hunt to put food on the table. That’s my motivation. So it’s easy for me to rationalize that technology is simply and end to the means.
Seriously, comparing an adjustable stock to poaching is some interesting logic there. What I'm getting from your post is, "New hunter, wants to cheat using technology rather than making any effort to build solid hunting skills. Confirm I am smart enough and snakey enough to get away with it." Zombie apocalypse scenario excluded, you would be both breaking the law and taking unfair advantage over everyone else who is following hunting regs. Ethically, using a FLIR equipped drone is akin to spotlighting. So yeah, that's a clear scumbag indicator.

You asked...
 

Atlantis

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Seriously, comparing an adjustable stock to poaching is some interesting logic there. What I'm getting from your post is, "New hunter, wants to cheat using technology rather than making any effort to build solid hunting skills. Confirm I am smart enough and snakey enough to get away with it." Zombie apocalypse scenario excluded, you would be both breaking the law and taking unfair advantage over everyone else who is following hunting regs. Ethically, using a FLIR equipped drone is akin to spotlighting. So yeah, that's a clear scumbag indicator.

You asked...

I did ask, and from memory I generally find your posts insightful and high quality.

I am not entirely sold on the idea that spending hours scouting the woods by foot versus an hour scouting the woods by drone is materially different. In both cases it’s still on me to practice scent control, read the wind, and approach my “target areas” in a stealthy manner. I don’t think it’s poaching. Further, I’m talking about filling my quota, in season, without the use of a real time thermal aide. If I had a buddy vectoring me in I think it would be akin to spotlighting. Im basically admitting that this season I didn’t put in the time to properly scout, I didn’t have the foresight to setup a bow, and I have an empty freezer. That doesn’t preclude me from addressing those issues next season, but I do understand where you’re coming from.
 

Mountain

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I did ask, and from memory I generally find your posts insightful and high quality.

I am not entirely sold on the idea that spending hours scouting the woods by foot versus an hour scouting the woods by drone is materially different. In both cases it’s still on me to practice scent control, read the wind, and approach my “target areas” in a stealthy manner. I don’t think it’s poaching. Further, I’m talking about filling my quota, in season, without the use of a real time thermal aide. If I had a buddy vectoring me in I think it would be akin to spotlighting. Im basically admitting that this season I didn’t put in the time to properly scout, I didn’t have the foresight to setup a bow, and I have an empty freezer. That doesn’t preclude me from addressing those issues next season, but I do understand where you’re coming from.
LOL sorry to be a little harsh, but I'd rather you not run afoul of the law nor run afoul of other hunters. Honestly, I think the only way you could do this in a 'clean' manner would be to simply scout during the off season when you will not be hunting. Even that could be troublesome in case an officer thought you might be poaching in the off season. Thermal scouting an hour and even a day before hunting will be a problem if you are caught. None of this applies if it is a survival situation, but as long as we can use technology to put meat on the table via googling "grocery stores near me", it's not a survival situation.

I always thought it would be useful to equip a drone with FLIR capability for security of a rural home. Something goes bump in the night, send one out to see what's going down.
 

safetyfirst2125

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In MA the only way to legally do it is the drone has to be under 250 grams, because above that it has to be FAA registered and is considered an aircraft

249 grams:

DJI Mini 3 Pro - Fly Mini, Create Big - DJI
 

HorizontalHunter

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It is a prohibited activity on any DCR properties.

Specifically:

Taking-off or landing a drone within DCR properties unless it is an emergency.
Operating a drone over any land or waterways managed by the DCR.

302CMR 12.28 G

28 Special Use Permit Required. Unless authorized by a special use permit issued in accordance with 302 CMR 12.17(2), no person may:
(a) Consume, possess, distribute, sell or drink alcoholic beverages;
(b) Engage in any lotteries, raffles, gambling and games of chance;
(c) Conduct any commercial use activity or event;
(d) Possess machinery, instruments or equipment of any kind for the use of conducting
lotteries, raffles, gambling and games of chance;
(e) Operate or use any audio device, including radio, television, musical instruments, or other noise producing devices, such as electrical generators, or equipment driven by motor or engine, in a manner or at such times that may disturb others. 302 CMR 12.04(28)(e) shall not apply to campgrounds; operation of these devices or equipment at campgrounds shall be subject to the provisions in 302 CMR 12.08;
(f) Operate or use any public address system, whether fixed, portable or vehicle mounted;
(g) Except in an emergency, bring, take off, land or cause to descend on DCR property any
airplane, helicopter, sea plane, so-called ultra-light aircraft, or any other apparatus;
(h) Conductresearchwhichmaydamage,disturborremoveanyDCRpropertyorresource, real, natural, personal, cultural or historic;
(i) Promote,sponsororengageinanyrace,rallyororganizedtrialeventsonDCRproperty;
(j)
(k)
(l)
waters of the DCR; and
(m) Operate a watercraft for livery or carrying passengers for hire.

 

appraiser

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It is a prohibited activity on any DCR properties.

Specifically:

Taking-off or landing a drone within DCR properties unless it is an emergency.
Operating a drone over any land or waterways managed by the DCR.

302CMR 12.28 G
the law is illegal, the DCR can say you can't take off or land on their property, but they have ZERO say about flying over it.

This is well established FEDERAL law

All airspace is Federal, and controlled by the FAA, from the tops of the blades of grass to the edge of space.
 
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Atlantis

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the law is illegal, they DCR can say you can't take off or land on their property, but they have ZERO say about flying over it.

This is well established FEDERAL law

All airspace is Federal, and controlled by the FAA, from the tops of the blades of grass to the edge of space.

This was my conclusion after doing some due diligence. The drone specific info sites seem to misrepresent the law, stating illegal to operate over. It’s pretty clear that it’s illegal to land/takeoff, but flyover is a whole different story. Then again I think it’s all moot because I don’t register with FAA and therefor I think technically even flying in my own backyard is illegal, thermals or no.

Agreeing with others here. Use it in off season to find trails, bedding areas, etc. No different IMHO than using at ATV to hunt for signs of deer habitat and to scout the land. Using it during an active hunt would be a no-no.

This was my sense as well.

Unethical - try another sport

Ya I'm gonna go with a few others here. You reach a point where its not hunting anymore. Why bother.

Thread title was meant as it’s written. I acknowledge that I’m not winning any awards for “best hunter of the year”. For what it’s worth I do aspire to put in the time and effort to learn the skills of true old school hunting. But my goal is simple, to fill my freezer using my legally allotted quota. I’m not doing it for sport or for entertainment, I want to eat, hence the word harvesting.
 
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Hunting is not a spectator sport. There's no such thing as cheating or unethical If you're doing it to feed your family or yourself. That said, nobody really has to hunt to survive anymore. If you are then you either really live in the wilderness or have had some hard times fall on you. We only do this because it's something we enjoy and it's a tradition that's been passed down through the generations. For me hunting is recreating the past. That's not for everybody though. I do think there is a point where too much technology removes the true nature of hunting.
 

Atlantis

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Hunting is not a spectator sport. There's no such thing as cheating or unethical If you're doing it to feed your family or yourself. That said, nobody really has to hunt to survive anymore. If you are then you either really live in the wilderness or have had some hard times fall on you. We only do this because it's something we enjoy and it's a tradition that's been passed down through the generations. For me hunting is recreating the past. That's not for everybody though. I do think there is a point where too much technology removes the true nature of hunting.

100%. I love my father but he was never into sports or hunting. He bought me electronics kits when I was little. So no surprise that I learned about technology and never had the opportunity to learn those traditions and be properly blooded. I aspire to honor the past. I plan to get setup for bow hunting for next year, learn more about rut, scout out some areas and setup some tree stands. I don’t see it as a binary thing, use technology and don’t learn the craft, or learn the craft and foresake technology. I think of it as making the most of the skills I’ve been given using the cards I’ve been dealt.
 

appraiser

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wait til the OP discovers drone assisted fishing ..... there are attachments that will carry your line out from the shore and drop them.

Surf Casting but with looong lines
 

Roadglide

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Come on man. I know guys who fly Cessnas for spotting tuna schools. What’s the diff?
Thats not fishing imo. Just go to the grocery store if that what you're going to do. Same goes for the drone. Just my opinion. The larger point that someone else mentioned is what about the other hunters/fishers who dont have the luxury of flying drones or planes. Its not fair to them and creates an unequal field. We're supposed to be in this together. This reminds me of the steroid era of baseball. Hunting requires a skill you develop over time. Drones are a shortcut to me doesnt allow you to develop those skills and doesn't make you a complete hunter.
 
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