Scouting by drone

wllm1313

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I'm in no way a drone expert, but I do have some exposure. My sister has several for professional use and I have used some for work as well.

Honestly probably a waste of time. Drones have super short flight times, 30min is average for a good drone. If you have a ton of cash and you max out the batteries you could maybe get 2hrs.

If you were in say CO looking to scout elk in thick oak brush, you could maybe take off, and fly in a 1 mile radius circle from your truck. You might be able to locate an elk, esp if you had a thermal camera. What you might learn is that there is an elk bedded down that you can't see from the truck. That's about it though, you would be able to linger over it for a very short period of time and all you would really learn is the animals tolerance for drones.

Picking some spots and hanging out in a blind would likely be a much better bet. Blinds/stands are really in vogue for western hunting, but even for elk they can be very effective in the right area.
 

Straight Arrow

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Drones, airplanes, helicopters all are aircraft and subject to FAA and FWP regulations. Sytes' description is accurate.

As someone who flew helicopters for many years, with most of those years in Montana, I can attest to the pleasure of viewing wildlife from a respectable, non-harassing altitude. However, my personal rule was no-hunting for at least a week after spotting big game, for ethical consideration of wildlife and the challenging legacy of the hunt. Observing the trails, terrain, and lay of the land from overhead fails to recognize the scouting signs, steepness of terrain, and many other factors significant to the real hike, search, and conduct of the hunt. Drones would provide no further advantage, so I discourage use of them for scouting.
For full disclosure, I discourage use of drones in any backcountry areas and in particular ... over my property.
 

Sytes

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Dancerpro, what state are you in? Maybe a local hunt talker would be willing to take you on a mentored hunt to help you get started?
This is great advice for the thread opening post. Or call your State's fish and game office. If they are as helpful as montana FWP, they likely have contacts that will assist with starting.

On note of drone use and hunting, it's more novelty of its use more so than practical in most cases.

I really enjoy the video capability when creating YouTube type presentations. Great cinematography for rookie use. Note: NOT using to record the actual "hunting". Great intro, closing and collective view of camp, etc.

The reality, they weigh a good amount and each battery adds to that weight. The sensitivity of parts doesn't really bode well for backpacking. Batteries maybe have 15-25 minutes... includes preflight, travel, and return. It's challenging. One key note: a person must keep sight of the drone per FAA. So it's not really an item flying 5 miles off and an hour scouting draws, etc.
The remote function also is battery recharge required as well. These batteries are not really the type to recharge off these backup charging items I use for my phone and gopro. These guys suck up juice like no tomorrow.

As tech progresses, potential may increase. I know an outfitter who packs them into camp for scouting, etc.

As for those who destroy another person's property, I will use every legal means available to include arresting you for Criminal Mischief, Disorderly conduct (discharge of a firearm), possibly resisting arrest] then for wasting my time in the destruction of my property, I'll follow up with small claims civil count and place a lein on your house or other property until you decide its worth paying me for a new done.
 

Dancerpro

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Dancerpro, what state are you in? Maybe a local hunt talker would be willing to take you on a mentored hunt to help you get started?
Texas, but I'm looking to move to Arkansas. I am trying to stay in an area known as ArcLaOkTex (Arkansas, Louisanna, Oklahoma and Texas). This has bven a very educational question, just based on the answers received.
 

thebestusernamesaretaken

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My main reason for asking is simply, I'm disabled and it is very difficult to get into the outdoors and I value all areas, however, I'd rather not spend scouting time in areas that have no hunting value. I do value the outdoors and the wildlife that live there and I am not trying to destroy the peace I find there, but I am trying to maximize my efforts. I am asked, being disabled, why try and hunt? The simple answer is that I believe I am working to obey a commandment from God, just as I have in concentrating my efforts, till now, in providing a future for my family. I have received a great deal of information and advice through asking these questions. As pointed out I am already in the area, which means I have taken the time to get outside and am simply looking for directions for scouting. I have never flown a drone and don't know what sounds they make. I have also never played a video game, but understand the comparison being made. Understanding that comparison, has helped me understand one thing. Live life as I always have, hands on and not through someone else's eyes.

The reason I respond to you is, you were angry about my question. I am not trying to convince you of anything, but rather inform you that I am asking experienced outdoor folks advice on how best to proceed, before I do something stupid.
Legitimate question especially being new to hunting and considering your situation; but as you can see it's a bit of a hot topic and in many cases, illegal. Folks intentions are good, they just get their blood boiling when they think that someone is doing something that could be interpreted as not being fair chase of the game.
 

Dancerpro

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Why not start with trail cameras and whitetails? The whitetails generally live closer to accessible areas and as long as you can make your way to a ground blind in decent habitat you should see plenty of action.
I know of 2 methods of hunting 1) Spot and Stalk and 2)Squat and Squalk. I can't walk good enough for 1, so I'm left with 2 and trail cameras was my next question. I am surprised and very grateful by the responces received on this 1 question. I not only learned about drones, but I have also learned a great deal about the view of the folks that hunt. This is all very important and information you can't get watching videos and TV shows, no matter how indebth they go. I believe the first part of hunting is learned as a young hunter, watching and listening to older hunters and this has given me the opportunity to do that.
 

Dancerpro

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If I came across as angry it’s because I’ve had first hand experiences with drones while on public lands. Nothing more invasive. I would save and hire a guide and/or hunt private land if I were you and your unable to scout off the beaten path. But I’m glad you asked before doing something stupid, good luck this year!
It was your reaction in the bar below posts for likes and such and not anything you said. There are answering posts that suggest things, like using them during hunting season. I'm one that believes in fair play and as animals can't defend against flying vehicles, I can't in good conscience use them and that is why I specifically stated during the off season.
 

Straight Arrow

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I have seen lots of scouting from helicopters in north central montana.
It's like you tell your kids, "Just because every nimrod is doing it ... 'don't make it right!"

Get their tail number and report them. I've seen them too, and low enough that it could also be described as harassing wildlife.

I just shoot at the tail rotor. Luckily I'm a bad shot and haven't hit one yet.;)
 

silasd

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Feb 27, 2017
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New Mexico
My main reason for asking is simply, I'm disabled and it is very difficult to get into the outdoors and I value all areas, however, I'd rather not spend scouting time in areas that have no hunting value. I do value the outdoors and the wildlife that live there and I am not trying to destroy the peace I find there, but I am trying to maximize my efforts. I am asked, being disabled, why try and hunt? The simple answer is that I believe I am working to obey a commandment from God, just as I have in concentrating my efforts, till now, in providing a future for my family. I have received a great deal of information and advice through asking these questions. As pointed out I am already in the area, which means I have taken the time to get outside and am simply looking for directions for scouting. I have never flown a drone and don't know what sounds they make. I have also never played a video game, but understand the comparison being made. Understanding that comparison, has helped me understand one thing. Live life as I always have, hands on and not through someone else's eyes.

The reason I respond to you is, you were angry about my question. I am not trying to convince you of anything, but rather inform you that I am asking experienced outdoor folks advice on how best to proceed, before I do something stupid.
Have you considered putting on for a disability tag and hiring a guide. Might be similar to the money you'd put in for a drone and, at least in NM, you'd have good odds of drawing. Two birds. One stone?
 

Dancerpro

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Have you considered putting on for a disability tag and hiring a guide. Might be similar to the money you'd put in for a drone and, at least in NM, you'd have good odds of drawing. Two birds. One stone?
In Texas I can but a LIFETIME DISABLED LICENSE at a greatly reduced rate. I have not researched Arkansas, Louisanna, or Oklahoma. I haven't even thought of a guide service and that may we'll be an option.
 

RobertD

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In Texas I can but a LIFETIME DISABLED LICENSE at a greatly reduced rate. I have not researched Arkansas, Louisanna, or Oklahoma. I haven't even thought of a guide service and that may we'll be an option.
In Texas there are many whitetail operations that may appeal to you. If you were to contact a few and explain that you're interested in a meat hunt, you might find an outfit that will have you out to help them shoot a doe or two for a really reasonable price.

Lots of those places have to kill tons of does to keep their herds balanced, etc. Could be an option
 

OntarioHunter

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I'm not sure if it's legal for a wheelchair person to shoot a deer from a vehicle in Montana ... but I know it's done ... a lot ... and not necessarily by handicapped. 😯
 

ElkFever2

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Drones cause an enormous headache for my public safety job. Well, actually it’s the goobers flying them, but most of the time you can’t find/catch the operators, when their objective is to not be detected. I hunt to get away from the evils and depravity of the world. Being out in a natural place and seeing a drone flying by...it hadn’t happened yet but the thought of it makes my blood boil. Useful? Sure. Convenient? Maybe. Clever? Why not. Tasteful? Unlikely.

Drones are new to most people and are greatly disliked by many. It’s yet another technology invading wild places.

When I was 16 I mail-ordered topo maps via a Byzantine catalogue from the local surveyor’s office. I drove to remote public places and headed out with a compass in one hand, a shotgun in the other, and a backpack over my shoulders. The only thing I had with me that took batteries was a headlamp. I can’t imagine doing anything remotely resembling that anymore, yet I really miss the simplicity and freedom of those experiences.

I think it’s cool you are wanting to figure out hunting in your own. The fact of being differently-abled is pretty irrelevant in that regard; I’ll disagree with some of the other posters in that respect. My dad has MS and most of his hunting years were from a wheelchair. He would ask helpers to do things for him, ex. transfer to his wheelchair, set up his gun mount, check for deer prints in the snow, etc., but he was the one directing the show.

One example of what this can look like - I can look at arial images with google earth pro of an area where whitetails are and have a pretty decent idea of where they will be, when, and why. This comes from years of experience hunting them and watching them. If you can find someone locally who’s willing to be your feet and eyes in areas that are hard to scout, you could ask them to check out specific areas you mark on a map and look for animal sign, and potential stand locations, etc, then report back to you and you call the shots in terms of putting your hunt plan together. I would think this would be a whole lot more effective than doing those tasks with a drone. If I was local to you I’d volunteer in a second - maybe there is another HT’er closer to you that wouldn’t mind doing a little stomping around and recon for you.

Hope that helps.
 

Bullshot

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Two days into the rising sun
Dancerpro, I won’t for a second claim I could understand what it would mean to hunt with a disability. So far my journey is middle age and aches and pains only. I give you credit for wanting to challenge yourself with the hunt despite pain or any difficulty that poses to you. I would encourage you to solicit a mentor, partner, family member or even a guide if that is in your budget. Don’t take asking for help as a sign you are not handling your business. Hunting is tough on the healthiest or youngest and from there it eventually goes, uh, downhill at different rates for everyone. Doing it is what is important. From your feet, from a chair, whatever. It’s likely the truth that success in mountainous country can be elusive if you are not able to do certain tasks. But whitetails, antelope, private land elk hunts, all have numerous options where you can achieve your goals. If you are able
to hustle your way to an elk or mule deer buck on public mountain ground you will surely have reason to be proud! But also remember that hunting, at least in the modern age, is supposed to be fun, including comaradarie you may find with a friend or guide. So I will modify my earlier answer a bit. If legal, go ahead and use a drone, as respectfully as you can to
others and the wildlife of course, if you’d like to explore and get your eyes on ground where maybe your feet can’t go. The rest of us are not walking in your shoes, so to speak, so good luck and good hunting.
 

sneakem

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Western, CO
I for one, am not a big fan of using drones for hunting purposes, I do enjoy flying them and the photography/cinematography opportunities they provide.

I also find it comical, the irony of people using developed technology for hunting, chastising others for mentioning using technology, especially with the OP being mobility limited. "I have an ATV, a long-range rifle with premium optics and a laser range finder, But I identify as a minimalist/purist hunter, how could you..." :rolleyes: Next thing you know someone will suggest he'll need an ATV permit to take his wheelchair into the woods...
 

silasd

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Feb 27, 2017
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New Mexico
In Texas I can but a LIFETIME DISABLED LICENSE at a greatly reduced rate. I have not researched Arkansas, Louisanna, or Oklahoma. I haven't even thought of a guide service and that may we'll be an option.
I think a guide might be a good idea - especially if you don't have the time or ability to get out and beat the bushes.
 

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