11 Mar

As technology continues to advance, new and innovative ways are being developed to assist with wildlife recovery efforts. One such technology that is gaining popularity is the use of thermal drones. Rugged Altitude, a company specializing in thermal drone technology, is at the forefront of this emerging field, using drones to aid in the retrieval of injured or deceased wildlife.

However, the use of drones in wildlife recovery is not without its limitations. Depending on the state in which you live, there are specific regulations and guidelines that must be followed when using drones for this purpose. For example, in Wisconsin, you may use a UAS to retrieve a dead animal, but you may not use it to retrieve a crippled animal. Each situation involving the operation of a UAS to aid in retrieval presents different circumstances that must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Some of the factors that may contribute to the determination that a person is engaged in recovery of a dead animal as opposed to hunting include a reasonable but unsuccessful effort being made to locate the animal without the aid of the UAS, an articulable explanation as to why the hunter believes the animal is dead, and the operation of the UAS not occurring during the shooting hours for the animal being sought.

It is important to note that the UAS operator must not have a vested interest in locating the downed animal beyond assisting with locating it. The operator should locate the dead animal and then provide the location to the hunter without further aiding in the retrieval process. Similarly, if the UAS operator locates a crippled wild animal, they should not disclose the location to the hunter upon finding it to avoid potential violations.

While it is recognized that the hunter who shot the animal may choose to be the UAS operator, they must be cautious to avoid any violations. By using the UAS to pursue a live animal, the hunter risks being in violation of regulations. It is crucial for all parties involved to carefully assess the situation and adhere to the guidelines set forth by the state to ensure that wildlife recovery efforts are conducted ethically and legally.

Rugged Altitude and other companies utilizing thermal drone technology for wildlife recovery play a vital role in assisting with conservation efforts and minimizing the impact on wildlife populations. By following the regulations and guidelines set by each state, these technologies can be used effectively and responsibly to aid in the recovery of injured or deceased wildlife.

We are not lawyers and nothing mentioned here should be considered as legal advice. It is always best to consult with a licensed attorney for any legal matters.

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